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Social media predictions for 2012

2011 had some impressive highlights for digital media. Most notable for me were the launch of Google Plus and Google’s Panda update, which put the emphasis on quality content, and video once again stole the show with both created virals (e.g. The T-Mobile Royal Wedding) and right place/right time pieces (e.g. Fenton) taking centre stage.

So what will 2012 bring?

A recent joint survey from Booz Allen and Buddy Media found that almost two thirds (57 per cent) of businesses surveyed will up their social media spend in 2012, while 38 percent of CEOs say they view social media as a high priority.

I’ll say a few obvious things up front: tumblr will continue to grow in numbers and bloggers will continue to become more important for brands, although they should always properly verify the authority of those bloggers to derive true value from building relations with them. Bloggers know what cards they hold.

I predict that in 2012 the smart PR firms will continue to encroach on the territory currently occupied mostly by search marketing firms and offer optimised content services to clients. This is something which I know search marketers fear – PR controlling SEO (search engine optimisation) – possibly because they could do it better.

Video will continue to be the key content pull. Text and photos are good, but online video improves sales. Fact. It’s not even expensive to create and seed video any more, plus video is great for SEO, so why aren’t more brands – particularly those whose products need more explanation – using video more?

Geotargeting will continue to slowly pick up but better offers are required if brands expect to get significant value from Foursquare and the like.

People will continue to disagree over how to measure ‘influence’. Klout serves a purpose but often surprises users on what subjects it claims they are influential on, plus some of us are too busy actually DOING strategic social media campaigns that we don’t have time to piss about on Twitter, thus not helping our own ‘influencer’ status, however much real change we’re affecting to our online communities and beyond. Rant over.

Quora's traffic 2010-11 (Alexa.com)Q&A site Quora still fails to excite me and, judging by its traffic (see graph, source Alexa.com) this year it has stabilised and found its niche.

My big question for 2012 is whether Facebook finally reaches its tipping point. With all its changes and uncertainty over privacy, plus older adopters appearing to drift away or at least use it less, could there be a gradual migration towards the more segregated world of Google Plus? Time will tell.

What are your predictions for 2012?

 

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