Five Big Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2013

Seismic changes reverberated throughout the social media marketing world in 2012. Facebook went public, Pinterest became a major player and Instagram was acquired by Zuckerberg and the gang. The gloves came off between Instagram and Twitter.

With all the excitement 2012 brought to the social media table, it is hard not to wonder what 2013 will have in store for us. Buckle your seatbelts as we present our top social media predictions for the upcoming year:

1.       You can run, but you can’t hide from Google+

Many people wrote off Google+ a long time ago, but the platform always seems to be lurking in the social media shadows waiting for its moment to shine. Integration will be the name of the game in 2013 and Google has rapidly been integrating Google+ with its various other offerings, which will make Google+ a lethal weapon.

By integrating Google+, Google is making the platform much more than just a social media outlet.

“Google will be a ‘must use’ service.  But it won’t be due to the social elements,” says the Social Media Examiner. “Rather, it will be because it becomes the central hub for managing your ‘official’ online public presence in the eyes of Google.”

Google+ may never be the “next Facebook”, but that title does not seem to be Google’s goal. Google+ seems to be onto something much greater.

2.       Insta-who?

Instagram is the current heavyweight champion of photo-sharing applications, but did it shoot itself in the foot by pulling the plug on Twitter in December?

Images proved to be a powerful marketing vehicle in 2012 and this trend shows no signs of slowing down in 2013. However, marketers and brands are shifting towards integrated tools and Instagram’s snub of Twitter lay the groundwork for a new photo-sharing application to emerge on the scene.

EyeEm seems to have the same grassroots following that Instagram had pre-acquisition. The service also offers location tagging, which will be a big trend in the upcoming year. Could EyeEm be the next Rocky in the photo-sharing ring? Only 2013 will tell.

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3.       The decline of Facebook

Facebook has been the king of the social media jungle for some time now, but cracks have started to show in Zuckerberg’s empire, especially since the company filed its IPO. By going public, Facebook has submitted itself to relentless shareholder pressure to make money from its users.

“I believe this will take the form of a constant experimentation with monetization models… some intrusive, some helpful,” says Mark Schaefer. “At some point they will risk fatiguing users with the constant changes and increasingly prevalent sponsored posts from advertisers. Will there be a crunch point that opens the door for a more user-friendly competitor?”

Facebook will still rule the scene in 2013, but the company’s disregard for its users will be hard to ignore and the tide will continue to shift against the social giant.

4.       A Twitter IPO?

There is no denying that Twitter has proven itself to be a powerful communications tool. The platform flourished in the 2012 presidential spotlight and became an essential customer relations device for companies both big and small.

Twitter’s major hang-up for years has been finding a solid revenue stream, but the company seems to have finally started to make a legitimate case for an IPO with the various ad products it rolled out in 2012.

 5.       LinkedIn: Brands’ new go-to?

An update to Facebook brand pages’ EdgeRank algorithm left many brands miffed and unamused in 2012. TechCrunch suggests that up to 85 percent of content posted on Facebook by brands is now filtered.

Due to this update, numerous brands have begun to look for a substitute platform to reach their customers and get more value out of their social media efforts.

Enter LinkedIn.

Several updates in 2012 could give LinkedIn the opportunity to snatch brands unwilling to pay for Facebook posts.

According to Ragan’s, “New and enhanced features on the site, such as its ‘endorse’ capability (which employs the one-click validation of a Facebook ‘like’) and new profile and company page designs are encouraging users to spend more time building personal brands with LinkedIn’s tools. Companies, particularly in the B2B world, will increasingly recognize its marketing potential.”

Even if our predictions don’t come true, 2013 is going to be an interesting year in the social media marketing landscape, so grab your popcorn and enjoy the show.

Image via: netzanette (Flickr Commons)

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