social media viewpointsHow will social media impact businesses in 2012?

We sought expert opinions from a wide range of pros you’re likely familiar with.

We are grateful for the dozens of social media professionals who have written over 600 articles for us since we started Social Media Examiner in October 2009.

To give you a glimpse of what we can expect in the next 12 months, we decided to tap their knowledge and expertise. Here are their predictions of where social media is headed in the next 12 months.

#1: Businesses consolidate social media activities

Michael Stelzner

Michael Stelzner @mike_stelzner

As the social media landscape becomes more crowded in 2012, businesses will pick their battles and dig in. What used to be simply Facebook and Twitter is now Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter (and who knows what’s next). On top of this, you have many specialty networks like Foursquare, Yelp and Instagram.

The old mantra of “be everywhere” will quickly be replaced with “be where it matters to our business.”

The major four players have all gone through massive changes in preparation for the battle for users. But don’t let a shiny new wrapping be the motivation to focus on social network A or B. Instead, it will be essential to focus where you’ll see results. And that may not necessarily be Facebook or Twitter for your business.

preparing for battle

Have you picked your battle? Image source: Flickr

Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner.

#2: Photo and video social networks will blossom

Jay Baer

Jay Baer @JayBaer

We’ve been nibbling around it for a while, but 2012 will be the year of the multimedia social network.

Photo- and video-based social interaction will grow. There is more meat on Instagram and Viddy and Tout than bun, and that enables the whole point of social networking—making and perpetuating connections and seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.

I don’t expect these services to dethrone Facebook, as many people simply are not comfortable with multimedia. But already you’re seeing power users reduce their Facebook (and Twitter) musings in favor of multimedia, where a picture (or video) speaks louder than 140 characters.

Given that the camera on your smartphone is almost as good as your actual camera, the multimedia-driven social networks are here to stay and will be an emerging force for brands in 2012, too.


Multimedia-driven social networks are changing the playground.

Jay Baer, author of the popular social media blog Convince & Convert and co-author of The Now Revolution.

#3: Brands embrace real time

Ekaterina Walter

Ekaterina Walter @ekaterina

Brands should move to agile marketing and real-time thinking. Gone are the days when it took 6 months to develop and launch a campaign or 5 days to answer a disgruntled customer.

Brands need to master the art of opportunistic marketing and the art of real-time response. To break through the online noise, they need to stand out with their creative thinking around capitalizing on current buzz and trends.

For that, brands need the right infrastructure and agile processes that will allow them to intuitively and immediately pick up on the marketing opportunities. They need agencies that can adapt, react and support them in real time as well.

businessman makes a leap

Brands need to be ready for real-time response. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist at Intel.

#4: Strategy takes center stage for social media

Jason Falls

Jason Falls @JasonFalls

I firmly believe that 2012 is the year most business start to turn the corner on embracing and understanding social media marketing and using it more strategically. We’ve had enough of the hippie, tree-hugger, Kumbaya nonsense and want to start using social media as a strategic business driver.

Now is the time. Businesses will start to show their chops in 2012.

tree hug

The tree-hugging time is over. It's time to focus on social strategy. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Jason Falls, principal of Social Media Explorer and author of No Bullshit Social Media.

#5: New apps help with content overload

Leo Widrich

Leo Widrich @leowid

I believe that 2012 will be the year that we will see a lot more apps and companies come forward to help free us from content overload. This hopefully means both to make reading content and sharing it more meaningful and less cluttering.

I think this will come down to throttling, filtering and optimizing the content that reaches our eyes and that we share. Especially if Zuckerberg’s Law of sharing holds true, this will be an amazing opportunity.

I am sure there will be some fabulous new inventions coming to the social media world regarding this in 2012.

documents and file folders

Freedom from content overload is on the way. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Leo Widrich, co-founder of

#6: Businesses outsource content creation

nichole kelly

Nichole Kelly @Nichole_Kelly

As social media becomes more mainstream, content will continue to play a bigger role. However, stretched marketing teams will continue to struggle with adding content creation to their already full plates.

Therefore, marketers will need to find a sustainable model for creating amazing content, which may include more outsourcing. As social media matures, efficiency will become an increasingly important factor.

Nichole Kelly, founder of

#7: Advanced analytics are coming for the masses

Dag Holmboe

Dag Holmboe @dagh

Today a lot of what we call social media analytics is actually social media metrics, which is a lot of data telling a story of the past using great data visualizations.

Advanced analytics are already being performed inside large agencies, brands and social networking sites. Data analysts and scientists, many with advanced degrees in statistics and computer science, primarily do the work.

In 2012, we will see social media analytics companies releasing simplified SaaS (software as a service) tools for smaller agencies and brands to perform similar, less complex analytical functions. The tools will tell a story of not only what happened, but also of why it happened, and to model and predict the future.


Small businesses will have access to advanced social media analytics. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Dag Holmboe, CEO of Klurig Analytics.

#8: Regularly creating unique content becomes essential

Lewis Howes

Lewis Howes @LewisHowes

For a company or brand to be successful marketing with social media in 2012, two main things will need to happen.

  1. Create unique content. So many brands and individuals are creating amazing content that you will need to do something not only amazing but unique, so that you gain the attention you’re looking for.
  2. Be consistent. You can’t just create this unique content a few times; you need to create a schedule for yourself to come out with unique content on a consistent basis.

If you fail to do both of these, someone else will gain your customers’ attention.

Lewis Howes, co-author of LinkedWorking: Generating Success on the World’s Largest Professional Networking Website and founder of Sports Executives Association and events.

#9: Businesses learn to choose the right channels

Ryan Malone

Ryan Malone @ RyanMalone

In 2012, I think that much of the overzealousness currently in social media will be replaced by a nuts-and-bolts focus on getting the most out of the channels that fit your business.

Companies will focus on fewer channels, and they’ll want to dominate them instead of being diluted across all channels. The adage of “master your craft” will ring true for the companies that stay focused.

Ryan Malone runs SmartBug Media.

#10: Facebook’s growth inspires unique Facebook marketing experiences

Amy Porterfield

Amy Porterfield @amyporterfield

In early 2012, Facebook will hit ONE BILLION users. With one billion users, you can’t deny the numbers. Facebook is by far the social media powerhouse.

The hype that will surround the one billion milestone will only draw more attention to Facebook. Not only will we see a boom of small businesses setting up shop on Facebook, but also those businesses already on Facebook will feel the heat to get even more creative and strategic with their fan activity.

Facebook is getting crowded, and those businesses that create unique user experiences will stand out from the masses. More sophisticated, interactive third-party apps, expanded live video capabilities and greater flexibility with page customization will all play a big part as fan growth and engagement become the most vital components for Facebook success.

Look for more apps to help you market your business on Facebook.

Amy Porterfield, co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies.

#11: Competition on Google+ rises

kristi hines

Kristi Hines @kikolani

I see social networks getting even more competitive with Google+ trying to dominate the market in 2012!

The top networks (Twitter and Facebook) will be looking to compete by adding even more features. Google+ will continue adding similar creature comforts to their network for page functionality and looking to develop hangouts into something more useful for businesses.

The social network that will come out on top will be the one that listens to their users and allows each user’s messages to receive equal exposure without internal ranking systems judging which news goes to the top and which news gets hidden.

google+ managers

Google+ continues to add new features. Google+ Business Pages can now have multiple managers.

Kristi Hines, freelance writer, online marketing consultant and author of the popular blog Kikolani.

#12: YouTube provides a social experience

Paul Colligan

Paul Colligan @colligan

YouTube will (finally) get recognition and significant use as a major social network.

Google’s social focus demands tighter integration between YouTube and Google+. Google wants to change YouTube consumption from a passive experience to a social one and is primed to do so.

Recent feature additions (like YouTube video viewing in a Google+ hangout) prove that Google will do whatever it takes to make the transition. Those paying attention will respond by focusing on their own personal YouTube networks.

Video production is not required as YouTube members in the content curation and video aggregation space will hold as much sway, if not more, than their content-producing counterparts. Those who do both will, obviously, rise to the top quickly.

Paul Colligan helps busy people leverage new media to get their message out to more people with less effort and for greater profit.

#13: YouTube takes the lead

James Wedmore

James Wedmore @JamesWedmore

My prediction for social media in 2012 can be boiled down into one word: “video.” …as in, more of it!

At just over six years old, YouTube has just recently made some big changes, and they have a lot in store for us in 2012. Their most recent design and layout changes (including YouTube’s home page, which looks strikingly similar to Facebook’s Live Feed function) begin to indicate that YouTube wants to behave more like a social networking site.

The YouTube audience (not just the content creators) will now have more fun, engagement and interaction while on YouTube. The more activity you as a user (or channel) have and receive from your videos, the more opportunity your content has to get viewed and go viral.

YouTube is becoming highly intuitive. By observing your search and viewing behavior online, YouTube will continue to improve and impress us all with how they display relevant and related content in an efficient manner.

Also, with YouTube’s investment in their 100+ channels of “original content creators,” the video-sharing giant has also waged war (and is winning!) against the big TV networks, as they continue to blur the line separating “offline television” and online entertainment.

Combine this with an ever-decreasing barrier of entry for the average person to quickly become a video-producing master, and you’ll notice that in 2012, video quality (picture and sound) and entertainment quality will rapidly increase across the board. This will inevitably result in higher standards and expectations from the average YouTube viewer and leave those who are resistant to using video in their marketing scrambling to catch up.

youtube feed

It's time to check out how you can use YouTube for your business.

James Wedmore, founder of Video Traffic Academy.

#14: YouTube rises to top of mind

Phyllis Khare

Phyllis Khare @PhyllisKhare

Most people might think that G+ will get the most attention in the Google suite of services, but I think YouTube will be top of mind. Why? With the latest redesign, YouTube is cleaning up its Wild West image and coming into alignment to be a grown-up social environment.

If your business is not there yet, make haste and set up your channel and start reaping the benefits of the second-largest search engine on the Internet.

youtube channel

Consider creating a YouTube channel for your business.

Phyllis Khare, co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies, author of Social Media Marketing eLearning Kit for Dummies and social media director for iPhone Life.

#15: More social players will join in

Casey Hibbard

Casey Hibbard @Casey_Hibbard

I predict that the social media landscape will become more populated with new and powerful players like Pinterest in 2011.

As social media continues to evolve there are opportunities for more multimedia social platforms.

Don’t underestimate the potential for these new sites to start majorly influencing social sharing and traffic—nearly overnight.


Keep an eye open for more useful tools like Pinterest!

Casey Hibbard, Social Media Examiner’s case study writer, president of Compelling Cases Inc. and author of Stories That Sell: Turn Satisfied Customers Into Your Most Powerful Sales & Marketing Asset.

#16: Marketers adopt smarter social media tools

 Stephanie Sammons

Stephanie Sammons @StephSammons

In 2012, social media tools are going to get a lot smarter. These tools are going help us make sense of our social media connections and streams. They will help us maximize our visibility and influence while minimizing our time commitment.

Bufferapp is a terrific example of this. Here is a tool that can provide some intelligence as to when your followers and fans are most likely going to be paying attention to your updates. As you direct content from across the web into Buffer, the app will distribute it for you during those optimal time periods. In a sense, it’s an intelligent and personal social media distribution tool! Forget having to “schedule” tweets and updates. Who has the time?

I strongly believe that the people who commit to learning the new and most effective social intelligence tools as they are introduced will create a significant competitive advantage. These tools will make you more productive and grow your online influence while the competition is still floundering around trying to figure out how to be consistently visible and valuable to their target markets!

Find and focus on the tools that can make you more productive and competitive in 2012!


Check out Buffer and other social media tools that make you smarter.

Stephanie Sammons, founder and CEO of Wired Advisor.

#17: Businesses integrate new content consumption practices

Jim Lodico

Jim Lodico @jlcommunication

The way we read our news and social media streams is changing fast. People are turning to platforms such as Flipboard, Storify, Zite and others to help curate information and sort through the noise. Google, Facebook and Twitter are also making changes to help users find the information they want to read and block the rest.

Businesses looking to place their content in front of their target reader will need to adapt to these changes and new media. This means 1) a continued effort to publish content of the highest quality that readers will want to share, 2) an even further increase in the importance of headlines and images and 3) creating a following that will help drive your content to the top of these new platforms.

From a user’s perspective, I love the new Flipboard platform for iPhone. From a publisher’s perspective however, it can be somewhat intimidating. That said, I think these new platforms will greatly reward content that makes its way to the top.


Stay up-to-date on where your audience gets its information.

Jim Lodico, copywriter and marketing consultant specializing in creating powerful content and teaching businesses how to use blogs.

#18: The “applification” of social media continues

Debbie Hemley

Debbie Hemley @dhemley

I think we will see many more social media apps come out in 2012 for social networking, news aggregation, productivity, entertainment, communication and ebooks.

We’ll be accessing more on smaller screens than ever before and with a few touches and swipes across our screens, we’ll be posting and sharing content with people who are in close proximity to our geolocation, stretching on to all corners of the world.

Debbie Hemley, social media consultant and blogger.

#19: More branded Facebook apps are on the way

Janet Aronica

Janet Aronica @janetaronica

I think we’re going to see more and more companies creating branded Facebook apps in order to leverage Facebook’s real-time news ticker feed. I’m especially interested in news apps such as WSJ Social and The Washington Post Social Reader.

These apps potentially serve as new revenue streams for a rocky industry with advertising opportunities within Facebook. I’m intrigued to see how the digital journalists behind the apps navigate the privacy issues that are all too common to the space as well.

These kinds of Facebook experiences reimagine news consumption as a social activity and I think it’ll be interesting to watch the new apps and partnerships that come out of the space.


Shareaholic's Top Posts App shows bloggers their most popular content, keywords, traffic sources and demographics for 2011.

Janet Aronica, head of marketing for Shareaholic.

#20: More “do it all” services will become available

Corina Mackay

Corina Mackay @corinamackay

We continue to see social media tools and services come and go, as they battle for our time and data. Giants like Facebook, Twitter and Google continue to thrive, but none of them is taking it easy.

From changing designs and new features to acquisitions and complete makeovers, we’ve seen the bar raised time and time again, as these big companies compete for the lion’s share of our attention. Google has our email, documents and appointments; Facebook has our photos, videos and family; and Twitter has the best platform for advertisers to engage with us.

I’m guessing this trend will continue into 2012, with more acquisitions and revamps, and fewer new apps gaining ground in the social space.

Corina Mackay, an entertainment-based social media manager and writer.

#21: Convergence of social and mobile (but maybe not what you’re thinking)

Ben Pickering

Ben Pickering @bpicks

Whether you look at it as social media going mobile or mobile apps getting social, you can bet that 2012 will see a lot more social activity on mobile devices.

However, while experimental marketers will continue to push the envelope with innovative mobile-social campaigns, I’m not predicting that the next year will see Foursquare conquer mainstream America or mass adoption of QR codes.

Rather, what you will see is that a significant amount of the online activity that consumers previously conducted through a computer and traditional web browser will now be done through a smartphone or tablet. Some of this activity will migrate from browser to native applications, but much will be done through a mobile browser.

This means that before worrying about the new-new thing, companies need to think about how existing core marketing initiatives carry through to the mobile web. It needs to be just as easy for someone on a mobile device to not only access content but also to act on that content in a social manner—i.e., “Like” it, share it, etc.

In 2012, smart marketers will be thinking first about optimizing current assets for mobile and then about unique attributes of the mobile experience, such as geolocation, that they can tie into their overall marketing strategy.

smartphone apps

Is your marketing optimized for the mobile experience? Image source: iStockPhoto.

Ben Pickering, CEO of Strutta.

#22: Marketers embrace mobile

Jamie Turner

Jamie Turner @AskJamieTurner

Gartner predicts that by the end of 2012, the number-one way that consumers will be interacting with the Internet is via their smartphones and tablets. Given that, it’s important for marketers of all stripes to embrace mobile.

As intimidating as that may seem, mobile is actually pretty simple to execute. In fact, there are several articles on Social Media Examiner that de-mystify mobile and make using it for small- to mid-sized businesses a snap. Check ’em out! They’re packed with tips on how to integrate social media into your mobile marketing program.

using phone

Are you prepared for communicating with your customers via smartphones? Image source: iStockPhoto.

Jamie Turner, founder, the 60 Second Marketer and co-author of Go Mobile.

#23: Email and social call a truce

Jason Miller

Jason Miller @JasonMillerCA

Smart marketers understand that social and email marketing are not mutually exclusive. As email becomes more social and social becomes better at finding leads, the platforms will complement one another for smarter, more targeted messaging and list-building efforts.

Jason Miller, programs manager, social media & content at Marketo.

#24: Businesses fall in love with email marketing again

Marc Pitman

Marc Pitman @marcapitman

The quick adoption of Google+ both by users and as an infrastructure change for Google highlights a problem with social media marketing: fragmentation. It’s important to interact with customers where they are, so wisely using the increasing number of tools is good.

But I predict in 2012, savvy marketers will fall back in love with email. Email response rates tend to be greater than most other social media tools. And email is fairly “low-tech,” allowing businesspeople to reach more of their customer base. So I think there’ll be a new wave of blog posts and tools helping people grow their email lists.

Marc Pitman, author and speaker dedicated to making it ridiculously easy for people to get nonprofit fundraising training.

#25: Traditional marketing interweaves social media

Tom Martin

Tom Martin @TomMartin

2012 will be the year of the boomerang. Marketers of all stripes will return to classical marketing thinking. They won’t abandon social media, mobile and the like, but they will demand that those efforts be intelligently interwoven with their existing offline/traditional marketing efforts.

This integration requirement will lead to growth of social media delivered by marketing-oriented firms at the expense of the independent social media guru with little to no actual marketing experience.

Tom Martin, founder of Converse Digital.

#26: The blue-collar blogging revolution heats up

Marcus Sheridan

Marcus Sheridan @TheSalesLion

There is a forgotten group—in fact, I’d say it’s a forgotten majority—when it comes to this movement that is social media. And who is this majority? It’s the thousands upon thousands of blue-collar businesses spread across the globe that up to this point have been slow to embrace social media, but are now joining the ranks of other industries in an effort to change the way things in marketing have always been done.

As someone who has owned a swimming pool company for about 10 years now and also works with many blue-collar businesses in this field of social media, I’ve noticed a very interesting trend in the final months of 2011. Each and every day, more and more mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, landscapers, etc., come to understand the need to embrace this new age of marketing. They’re seeing the trends of the way people shop, think and make decisions. Finally, instead of refusing to tackle their online deficiencies, they’re instead confronting the problem head-on.

More than ever, these businesses are blogging, producing educational videos and leveraging all types of social media. The idea that social media and blogging for business will only shine upon white-collar and tech industries will soon be a thing of the past. Do the blue-collars have a long way to go? Yes, that’s certainly true, but without question, eyes are finally opening and the revolution is just around the corner.

This is what I can’t wait to see unfold as 2012 progresses.

blue collar worker

More blue-collar businesses will adopt social media marketing. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Marcus Sheridan, small business owner, thought leader, popular social media speaker and founder of The Sales Lion.

#27: Marketers learn to craft messages to get above the noise

Jeff Korhan

Jeff Korhan @jeffkorhan

My social media prediction for 2012 is that successful marketers will take greater care to design and package their messaging for attention, usefulness and conversion.

As the tolerance for social media noise approaches a breaking point, the quality of social media content will significantly rise to meet the higher standards of both consumers and search.

Jeff Korhan, professional speaker, consultant and columnist on new media and small business marketing.

#28: The social media gap widens

Charlene Kingston

Charlene Kingston @SocialMediaDIY

I predict that in 2012, the gap between businesses that perform well on social media and those that don’t will widen dramatically.

The newness of social media has worn off. People are looking for businesses that offer practical solutions to their present-moment challenges. It comes down to this: If you are looking at your online community in terms of what you can get from them, you might as well pack up and go home.

For your business to succeed, you must focus on how you can help your customers succeed. Your business attitude shows up in social media in everything you say and do. Your attitude drives your conversation topics, the way you write your tweets and status updates, and your business offerings.

More than ever, your business success depends on how much you help others reach their business success. Your social media success is the canary in the coalmine that demonstrates the health of your business.

Charlene Kingston, founder of the Social Media DIY Workshop.

#29: Businesses invest in quality content

Stephanie Gehman

Stephanie Gehman @airport_girl

I believe we’ll see a surge of quality over quantity in content marketing heading into 2012. As more businesses understand and embrace the imperative for integrating social media into their marketing strategy, I hope they will also recognize the need to stand out in the cacophony of brand messages on the social channels.

In 2012, if businesses want to compete effectively for consumer attention, they will need to engage with tailored, customer-focused and relevant content in order to differentiate themselves from the noisy brand broadcasters.

And, as this realization takes hold with companies, I think we’ll see steep growth in the hiring of qualified and experienced individuals who have a strong grasp of creating and developing valuable content that attracts and engages a business’s target audiences while driving profitable customer conversions and actions.


Businesses opt for quality content in 2012. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Stephanie Gehman, marketing manager for Harrisburg International Airport in Pennsylvania.

#30: Rise of the media specialist

Carla Dewing

Carla Dewing @CarlaDewing

In 2011 we’ve seen a trend toward multifaceted social marketing positions, or people within companies who are expected to have “layered” expertise in social media. Content marketers will have to transcend basic sales, and work within the rapidly expanding technology field.

In 2012 we’ll see these positions solidified, as social marketers working online branch out and become involved in the coding/tech world as well.

These positions will become integral to any social marketing campaign, as singular jobs become more complex, transforming people into media specialists.

One individual must be able to blog, market, work on a multitude of platforms, work within the tech sphere and perform high-level SEO tasks. Otherwise, how will he or she be able to spot social opportunities when they arise?

These media specialists will be required to have a 360-degree view of social media, as their job becomes more demanding and competitive. I also feel that there will be urgency to perfect mobile technology and marketing, as it crosses from the virtual realm into the physical world.

In 2012, it would be short-sighted for businesses to overlook the benefits of having a media specialist on their team!


Future social media specialists need skills across many areas. Image source: iStockPhoto.

Carla Dewing, part-owner of Contrast Media and content marketing expert.

Now it’s your turn…

How do you see social media evolving in 2012? What trends do you predict? Please share your questions and comments in the box below.

Image sources iStockPhoto and Flickr.
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  • One thing is for sure, 2012 is going to be a very exciting year in social media!

  • There sure seems to be a common theme – focus and quality. I couldn’t agree more. It’s going to be a great year for content creators in every industry!

    Thanks for including me in this list tall list of quality contributors Cindy. 🙂

  • Pingback: Social Media in 2012 « all the news that's fit to blog, tweet & post()

  • Google Makes Google Maps Social By Replacing Places Pages with Google+ Local Pages

    That is our prediction for the new year…

    @paul colligan has it right too, YouTube will become more social and replace much of the system there with Google+. But it will be slow, they are a Facebook crowd there currently and somewhat anti Google.

    And Happy New Year All!

  • Cindy, you’ve outdone yourself here.  Excellent article!
    My current experience is with clients who need to consolidate and have a strategy in place.  Luckily, they’ve become aware of #28 and came to me #30. 🙂  Again, great article!

  • deb1221

    Excellent list of predictions. If I wasn’t excited before about what lies ahead for us in 2012, I certainly am now!

    Thank you, Cindy and SME for including me in this “tall list of quality contributors” as Jeff Korhan so aptly put it!

  • Marius Smit

    Enjoyed the article thanks, I think mobile marketing will be huge in 2012.

  • Larry Lourcey

    Fabulous post- great seeing so many different perspectives.  Should be an interesting year.

  • Wow…amazing line up with fantastic tips for preparing to make 2012 a memorable year in social. Thanks so much for including me Cindy!

  • It was mentioned many times by the fantastic group of experts above but Video, especially YouTube is going to really start to take over.  The written word will always be important but Humans are visual creatures and the stories that can be told through YouTube are very powerful.  

    This is even more true for the small business trying to make it’s mark against larger competitors.  The right video can even the playing field.

    Thanks for the amazing ideas!!

    Ryan H.

  • Great information here. Thanks, Jeff Totton 🙂

  • Pingback: Top SEO & Social Media Articles and People To Make The Most of 2012, SEO & Social Media Predictions 2012()

  • It’s nice to see all the experts take on what 2012 will come up with. To me it sounds like more of what made 2011 a good and exciting year to be in online markting. If I wore to point to one prediction being more interesting than any of the others it would be Marc Pitman’s prediction – Businesses fall in love with email marketing again.

    There are so much talk about email marketing being dead and buried – and I have to agree with Marc Pitman that email marketing will submerge like a zombie from the eternal online marketing graveyard.

    My prediction (and I’m hereby joining the choir of mobile will rule it all) would be that online chat (Facebook instant, skype etc.) functions will kill SMS and MMS completely – That might already be the case though?

    Thanks for a good article 🙂

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  • paulcolligan

    Good batch of ideas that any Marketing Technologist could plot out their 2012 playbook by.

  • I think Social Media will become more focused and specialized on specific bussiness sectors. As far as I read in the first predictions, it’s true that Facebook will consolidate its reign, but social media experts will focalize some strategies without considering it, because I think there will appear specialized social media to each sector. Google+ has been the first to step into it by establishing circles (an strategy that was copied by Facebook) and, maybe, just maybe, this year Google+ will become one of the giants of social media. Accuracy and targeting will be the priority for companies in order to enter social media this year. 
    An awesome article. Thanks for sharing.

  • NS. Sherlock

    Especially exciting when Twitter either folds or becomes a random spam generator.

  • Great list Cindy! Thanks for including my comments about YouTube. And I’m glad others feel strongly about it as well! I’m very excited about what 2012 might bring us. I think it’s going to be a great year for social media and social media marketing. 

  • All the views in this article are extremely useful to hear and I found myself nodding in support to many of them.  In particular that it’s just not going to be practical to separate out social media from other marcoms work.  I think the problems will arise over where social media ‘sits’ in organisations.  It might be across customer, marketing and corporate affairs for many.  The need for a robust strategy that everyone plays into, is going to be key. 

  • It is going to be exciting to watch!

  • Why do you say that?

  • The most interesting space in social today is the fine line between customer care and marketing. With the rise of engagement marketing, it’s questionable whether “social media marketing” is, in fact, marketing. The most savvy companies are realizing that, in order to gain trust and relevance, their social media activities need to be led by customer champions, rather than marketers. My prediction is that this realization will grow widespread in 2012.

  • I see 2012 as the year where businesses will begin to take more risks Online, become not only more social, but more strategic, and creative. I see a rise in small business efforts as well. 
    As an owner of a Social Media company I hope to see a platform that will not only be cost effective for fortune 500 companies, but also the smaller ones to simplify the reporting and analytical process of Social Media campaigns. With that said, I also see a rise in actual reporting and analytics and a fall in “popularity” tools.

  • These are great predictions for this year. Cannot wait to see how these things effect businesses marketing strategies in 2012.

  • Ravi Shukle

    Great insight, can see alot of work has gone into this post was a great read look forward to seeing how these predications will come to life in 2012″ and which brands will look to take these practices on board first.

  • Hey, thanks for sharing your prediction, Chris!

  • Thanks for the feedback, Lisa. I guess it’s good news that businesses realize there’s a gap that’s forming.

  • You’re most welcome, Debbie 🙂  Thank YOU for participating. 

  • Good prediction, Marius. Mobile certainly has grown over the last year.

  • It is going to be a fun year to watch social media 🙂

  • You’re welcome Nichole!  Thank YOU and all of the others for participating.

  • I’m definitely looking forward to seeing more examples of small businesses using video this year to take advantage of the recent improvements to YouTube.

  • Good point about reviewing what 2011 brought us, Michael.  And I love your prediction 🙂

  • Thank you for participating, Paul!

  • Yes, I think you’re right, Ricardo.  Businesses need to see results from their social media marketing efforts and better use of platforms and improved targeting are part of the package.

  • You’re welcome, Phyllis.  Thank YOU for participating.  Yes, it is going to be exciting to see how businesses adopt YouTube this year.

  • Good point, Caroline.  When I think about where social media “sits” within a company, I always substitute the word social media with telephone.  How does telephone “sit” within a company. It helps me to keep the right perspective and make the connection.

  • What a great prediction!  It’s going to be interesting to note the space businesses give social marketing marketing in 2012.

  • Nina

    Love this article, som many great points and so much insight! Thank you for sharing this!

  • Thanks for sharing your prediction, Kim!  I’m looking forward to better reporting and analytics tools too!

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  • Steve Corcoran

    An insightful article.  It would be interesting to revisit last year’s predictions to see how close folks were to reality.  The social media world is changing so rapidly that one can only wonder what’s over the horizon in the coming months that we have yet to envision!  Here’s to an exciting 2012!

  • $17740994

    Cindy, thanks for putting together this insightful article.  I loved Amy’s insight.  This is something that we believe in and there are huge opportunities for companies that look beyond their corporate Facebook pages and look to empower their agents, dealers, and resellers.  We have developed a system that allows companies to control content easily across many pages while staying in control of their brand.  We are very excited for 2012.  Thanks – Very refreshing!  Jim

  • A great article Cindy and some great comments too.  I think mobile will be big influence next year and we’re already experiencing it now. Also believe we’ll see the gap widening  between those using social media wisely and providing unique and valuable content  and those that aren’t.

  • I agree with many of the comments and predict that mobile marketing, Google+ and reputation management will be extremely important for us and our clients.  I see Google+ being extremely valuable for search results, and as previously mentioned, I can see the demise of the Google Places pages in favour of the Google+ Pages.  Furthermore, businesses that post relevant content (including videos) and engage with their customers/prospects on Google+ will likely do better.  Cheers!  Carol (Marquee Marketing)

  • Great article and info here Cindy.

    For my niche I agree that we see that mobile will be huge in 2012. And we also will see Hotel Brands take more control over content shared through various Social Networks. 

    Our good friend Mari Smith said her word for 2012 would be GROWTH, my word is SERVE. Serve Your Guest! For me Mari capture one important strategy that really will come in play in 2012 which is Relationship Marketing. 

    Email marketing is already a crucial component to success for the Hotel Family. So would love to see new strategies here that will add more value. 

    And for me another important area in 2012 is Reputation Management. 


    Are Morch
    Hotel Blogger

  • Terril Retter

    A very insightful list and one that makes the Social Media providers and consultants very excited (many of whom are quoted above) but on the other hand, it list a great number of challenges for small Internet businesses (and I do not mean those with sales of millions).  This list a number of challenges that must be overcome with limited time and resources.  I see a number of items that will need attention quickly in order to get ahead and stay ahead of the larger retailers which creates a need to asses which of these many activities should get investment priority based upon the potential returns and growth.  Some of us will make good assessments and will be here to review the 2014 predictions and some will make other decisions that could lead to not being around in 12 months.  Hopefully, I will be in the first group.

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  • Kjohnson

    Depending on your industry, I see many companies sitting back and looking at the social media landscape and trying to figure out what platforms they need to be spending time on.  After all we know that SM is not free. It takes a great deal of time researching and planning.  The way I describe it is,  The SM bomb went off and everyone has been running around in all directions jumping into to everything.  The initial dust from the bomb is settling and now we’re seeing a better picture of what, who and the SM tools that are available.

    Kerry Johnson
    eNeRGy marketing group

  • With social media steadily on the rise, companies will need to determine which platforms they intend utilize to the fullest. Don’t try to be active in every single community, rather determine which social sites best suit your business needs and go from there. Great stats here. Thanks for the info! 

    Lauren at Volusion

  • Frederic Gonzalo

    Great list of predictions for 2012, I agree with most, of not all of them. One prediction that I find absent from this list, and that I believe will be a big change in 2012, is how companies allocate resources to deal with social media. Or as Jay Baer said in a recent webinar, companies will need to be social, not just do social.

    In order to be social, social media cannot reside only in marketing, or in any given function, i.e. PR, HR, Customer Service, etc. Many companies have already starting empowering employees to have some input in social strategies and execution, but I believe 2012 will see this movement grow.

    Jeremiah Owyang explains it rather well in a recent post, here:

    All the best for 2012, and I look forward to seeing how all these predictions will play out by year’s end.


  • Google+ providing competition to Facebook is a good thing for users. It will make for more innovation, hopefully for the betterment of users, not just for the social media platform provider.

  • As I finish up the chapters for my new Google+ book from Sybex, I will be back to writing and contributing more, if and when you need contributions on Google+ for these kind of then Cindy, I would love the chance to offer my two cents… Happy New Year Cindy!

  • As a social media coach and consultant, I have to agree with Mike Stelzner and Jason Falls.  Time is our most valuable asset.  No one has time to waste and we don’t have unlimited resources.  Therefore strategizing where and how we invest our time is critically important to our success.  Knowing who our ideal client is and where to find them are the THE two most critical pieces of business information to developing an effective social business plan.  Make it your goal this year to answer these two questions and your social media efforts will exceed your expectations! 

  • I agree with @jasonfalls:twitter with businesses demanding more long-term digital strategy for their campaigns, over the last few years they have come to grips with the potential of social media and now feel more confident with what it can do and the potential ROI involved. So they will quite rightly demand more from their spend. From a social media PR point of view, I think all types of potential clients will begin to take their online reputation more seriously and not just those big names who can afford it, third party advisors like myself will be considered a lot more also, especially after the big social media PR mistakes from those who aren’t very PR savvy (including those who are, like Mr Kutcher’s famous apology last year) It will definitely be very interesting 12 months for us all.

  • I definitely think that people will start to think about standing out more amongst the crowd that is social media. It will be interesting to see what people come up with. It’s usually through challenges that people come up with their most innovative ideas!

  • Robert Gilmour

    Interesting. I am a small business, where do i start with this lot? Social media does one thing very well – promotes social media, but it is the same old talk, stuff and largely words and wofflle not commerce propositions with any real proof of concept..

    Its a parasite, it clings on to everything – search, mobile, email, video &c, to try to justify its commercial relevance and in the real world I’m finding success stories and testimonials hard to find. I am in the hotel sector, If you attach it to everything, sure it might become a self fulfilling prophecy.  I am asked all the time for proof of concept and how I can justify social media spend to my board of directors.. Spend. and cost, are two concepts pretty consistently ignored, its almost like social media activity is free.By the way, what constitutes a ‘pro’Can we have – ‘summary of outstanding social media ROI’s and commercial success stories in 2011 from the pros please’, that would help convince me! ‘m not a sceptic, i’m a realist.It would help pif these success stories could distinguish the individual impact of social media from all the other ‘parasitic’ factors in play – ie what is the social media USP in the success..

    I’m keeping all the tips however, you never know, one might just have some relevance to me, still to figure out which one..

  • As a set of services and tools for small business marketing we appreciate the article and all of the expert input. However all of the observations, as relevant and as visionary as they may be,seem to be forecasting
    new trends and predictions of which platforms will gain the most market share. And thank you for them all!

     I would like to pose the question as to how these new tools and platforms actually fit into a traditional marketing funnel? Such as the “social” as the top rim and a “custom mobile app for the business” as the opt-in grail.

    As business’ and marketers start to master this again dollars rather than analytics will be the preferred success matrix.
     I would appreciate the thoughts of the panel to help us all build a better funnel.Thanks.

  • This is a terrific compilation of social media predictions for 2012. I think more than 80 percent of them are completely on the mark and would also add the rise of new commerce tabs on Facebook and Twitter, as those platforms become richer in consumer behavior data. We could be looking at the birth of “f-commerce” and “t-commerce”.

    I also think there will be additional emphasis on pay-for-play video channels given the impact of streaming video content for brands.

  • I just emailed you, Chris.

  • That definitely sounds useful, Jim!  I wish you a wonderful 2012.

  • Thanks for your insights Hazel. I think you’re right: the gap will widen this year.

  • We certainly are becoming a mobile world.

  • Hi Are! I like your point about Reputation Management. And I think you’re right, We have to learn how to manage our online reputations within this environment that’s always changing and so public.  And thank you for sharing your feedback on email marketing. I think this may be important for newer small businesses to hear.

  • Thanks for sharing, Terril. I think the most important thing is to really understand your business and focus on what you can do with the resources you have that goes toward developing your business… it’s a bit like what Mike says in the first point. If you really understand your business and do this, then I don’t think you have to worry too much.

  • Kerry, I totally agree!  And businesses will need to make sure they use the most appropriate social media strategy for their business goals. 

  • Great story! I would love to be involved if you plan on doing something like this again Cindy! Thank you! Adam.

  • Janine Buckman

    Great overview, I can’t wait to see the 2012 evolution of video
    & photo app’s!

    One area and the original
    social form of social media ‘the forum’ has been overlooked here, it is a very
    personal and powerful marketing tool, if used correctly, perhaps because of the
    time and personalisation required to make it work particularly for a male audience.

  • What a fantastic and informative piece. Thank you for posting. We have launched an online life insurance agency that will be 100% based on inbound marketing. We are also using social media to communicate, assist and, engage with our tech savvy audience. This article has reinforced what we are building and has opened our eyes to some new tools. Thank you.

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  • John Cushen

    Hi Cindy…as one who has recently rolled the stone away from the cave entrance and let a little of the 21st century light in I have really appreciated all the points of view you have co-ordinated here. We run a Lodge in New Zealand and still find good old word-of-mouth a great sales/marketing “tool.”  Trip Advisor also helps here …thanks for all the helpful points of view.  John

  • nsy

    Thank you for an amazing & informative post. 2012 will the battle field for new age social media services. Social media will be the melting point of everything and anything. Vertical social networking will also come to life.

  • Great line up and amazing discussion. Wonderful work Cindy. 

    I’m so glad to see others are seeing a shift where businesses are realizing that its not the volume of networks but the quality. So many times we see a business with desires of being in all places at once. We’re starting to round the corner where businesses see the value in quality over quantity!  

    And video, YES video…I just love it. Such a fantastic way to really connect with our audience. 

  • George Karalias

    Great list of predictions. I have to agree with most of them, but especially all that have to do with video. However, the prediction that really hits home is #25, Tom’s latest view on the integration of Social Media with traditional advertising. I’ve been in marketing/advertising/communications since 1983. I’ve embraced everything from early desktop publishing on a Mac Plus to creating video game animations on an Amiga to creating marketing plans for dot coms. By far, this is the most exciting time in my career. But make no mistake, the agencies and consultants of today need to consider the complete communications spectrum. Our company’s customers and audience range from buyers that are fresh out of college to engineers that have been designing semiconductors for the past 30 years. 2012 will definitely keep the creative adrenalin flowing.

  • Lora Kratchounova

    Cindy, great post – thanks for sharing!  Not sure if the group is aware of this free eBook from Awareness, Inc. 2012 Social Marketing and New Media Predictions – – 34 experts, including Ekaterina Walter quoted in this post, share their thoughts on the biggest social marketing developments, technologies to watch for, top marketing challenges and resources.  Could not be more excited about what’s in store for us in 2012!

  • I’m going bold with this one.  Apple buys Twitter.  This will happen just before the Facebook IPO.  Apple needs a presence to be able to defend the iEmpire, especially now that Google+ is in the mix.  

    Prediction #2 – Ning got rid of their free version too soon – expect a competitor to come in (that competitor could even be Google! – an ad supported white label Google+ would be interesting…)

    What a fun list you put together!  Happy New Year everyone!

  • Awesome article Cindy!  I agree with many of these, especially mobile marketing and the rise and rise of visual microblogging (pinterest, instagram) and also the need for creating content in order to establish yourself as an authority in your niche….all 30 points are great really! ha ha. I am loving what is happening with mobile marketing and the use of smartphones and we are involved with an App in Australia right now that is location based and provides instant real time benefits to customers and businesses – there is just so much potential in so many areas.  2012 is going to be huge!  Thanks for collating this amazing list of predictions (and Influencers!).  Have a great year!  

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  • WOW ! Great work Cindy, please extend my thanks to all people who participated and those who add their comments,  I fully agree that video, mobile  and social CRM will be some of the main 2012 trends.   

  • Bill Tyson

    A good article…

  • GlenLading

    Very interesting!

    My favorite is #28.

    Another thing I would like to mentions is podcasting! It is great, and i would much rather LISTEN to for example my favorite social marketer (or a few) then READING their posts!!

    Is there a SocialMediaExaminer podcast or online radio? that would b great!

    Thank you, Ania

  • The whole thing is that: On the eve o 31st Dec 2012 (when we will be recalling big happenings of the year), Social Media Marketing will be the universal point of discussion. Social Media is just gonna rock the year!

  • Hi Cindy,

    More than predictions, this post offered meaty advice we can all take on board this new year! 🙂 You got me really excited and I agree with the experts that this is the year brands should really step up, be more creative with photos and videos, and experiment with other venues (even apps) and realize that Facebook/Twitter are not the “be all- end all” of social media.

    By any chance, did any of the experts above mentioned anything specially for B2B brands? We’d love to hear it! 🙂



  • Strategy making should be the most important thing in this regard. If you can not make effective strategy to control your business  then it will be useless that you are trying to control other departments. So, planning takes major place in any business to achieve business goals efficiently. Moreover, all the points are very nice and good presentation in all the way.

  • That was something worth reading. I think #2 is already happening since most of my friends are on instagram.

  • Wow – what a list of predictions – YouTube, Mobile, Facebook, Google+, Quality Content, Apps, Analytics, Email and New Tools. With all of these options available, as Jason Falls predicts, strategy will become paramount for both large and small businesses. If you just start throwing darts you are in big trouble. Strategy and focus will lead the way for businesses that use social media to increase profits. And at the end of the day all businesses measure success or failure by the bottom line.

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  • Happy New Year to you Cindy and the complete Social Media Examiner team, including Mike of course! What a great article to start this exciting social media year 2012. Looking forward to all your valuable insights to guide us through the Social Media Jungle. I agree with a lot of comments, this year is about focus and quality. SME certainly continuous to be a great base to find and share quality content. – Juan.

  • Its definitely video for SMEs that I think will stand out in 2012, great article. 

  • It is great collection. Now-a-days social media plays very important role in the business. I like this post very much. Keep updating.

  • Mike Johansson

    I’m with those who say reputation management and simply staying on top of the platforms you need to be on will be the big challenges of 2012. Thanks for this great list.

  • Jacobnehman

    Ryan, you’re absolutely right. To clarify, I think creativity can even the playing field. A really cool and effective video is a strong tool that makes any company’s marketing efforts easier.

  • Lisa Lavis

    For me social media in 2012 will be about having something really interesting / enjoyable to say. We are bored of the same old business tips and updates. It’s time to get to know people more (and as such their companies brand values) – way out things, exciting stories, daring tales. Go on, strip bare and tell all!…

  • Jacobnehman

    One social networking area not discussed here that I think will further develop in 2012 is the world of “talent.” There will be players jostling to capitalize on the “talent” craze and fame bug we’ve seen on TV so readily in the past few years. One little startup that launched in November 2011 is attempting to create something cool for this field. They’re still a little too young and there are a few others in this genre, but Stagee has created a site for “talent” with the intention of being an effective professional tool for artists like Linkedin is for most everybody else. My prediction is that if Stagee survives 2012, they will start becoming a bigger player only in 2013!

  • Edward Bass

    This is for 2012? Some of these predictions have already come to pass!

  • Candace

    Good compilation. With so many marketing alternatives, experimentation is important along with keeping abreast of the changes. But focusing on what works and doing that well is key. There are only so many hours in a day.

  • Huggy

    Article does not really say anything, am I missing something, other than the YouTube stuff, it is simply a case of 25 odd points saying that more brands will actually get a definite or (in other cases) a more definite social media strategy. This surely is stating the obvious and no more true in January 2012 than it was in January 2011. Can I please get the 5 minutes of my life back, that I wasted reading this series of almost meaningless statements.

  • Some good social media insight for 2012…

  • tl;dr social media will grow and original content is still king!

  • Jacob, I completely agree.  Creativity and Agility!

  • Year 2012 will see more public sector social media presence at all levels of government administration. Also, high demand for clear demonstration of the tangible value of social media usage in form of Return On Digital Engagement (RODE) that can be easily weaved into cross-media communications and marketing strategies.

  • Great post.

    I’d add: Social Media moves in-house as more and more companies harness the power of social-powered collaboration.

    The Social Success microsite has lots on this.

    (disclaimer: I worked on it — but I can look anyone in the eye and highly recommend it!).

  • Dan Safkow

    I predict that Google+ Hangouts will become the tail that wags that dog and we’ll see a surge of niche specific, weekly “shows”, and Facebook will respond with a video app that’s similar. 

  • Pete

    There has been a lot of discussion about the effectiveness of FB Pages vs profiles for marketing and engagement. Do any of you experts foresee one or the other taking the lead in how to market and engage with our fans?

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  • The proliferation of wireless and mobile device use drives us further from digital “screens”, rather than toward them. Hence, I echo Tom Martin, in that 2012 will see our excitement for social and emerging media validated primarily through successful integration with traditional and “existing” sales and marketing media channels.

    Further evidence of this move is being found everywhere with visual storytelling, whereby tools such as Instagram, Path and other video/photo sharing services will replace much of the text-driven communications that have defined social media the past five years. Point: Jay Baer. 🙂

  • Shelly

    I agree that strategy will be a big factor in social media success in 2012. It will be interesting to watch YouTube and Google+ grow as predicted as well.

  • Lil T Jones

    I agree with a lot of these predictions, particularly the idea that brands need to improve the quality of their content.  As a user I have begun using more apps to cut through all the noise on my social media.  Brands are fading out of my life on their own, because their content is not ranking.  Also, crossing my fingers that businesses don’t fall in love with email marketing again!

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  • Louis Gordon

    I believe that FaceBook Fan Pages will be high on the business agenda of many companies to ensure their social presence is maintained and their branding is with the masses.

  • One of the many useful articles predicting trends and events for 2012- I continue to be intrigued by the possibilities

  • Happy New Year to you too, Juan! Thank you for your participation here throughout 2011!

  • Pete, it’s too early for me to say anything. I’d like to first see what Facebook has in store for us with regards to updating them to bring them in line with the new Profiles.  I think we’ll have a better idea then. Also, I’ve heard others say they feel there are more cases where Facebook took down Profiles used for business. So, I’d definitely still stick to following the rules.

  • Thanks for sharing Dan!  I expect to see more businesses using Google+ Hangouts too!

  • Cool! 

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  • Regardless how strong the social medias are expanding, without unique and quality content they can be helpless and useless.

  • joemillward

    I think this year will be about ensuring consistency of experience for their customers in any environment. Mobile friendly and customized for the technology and platform. Businesses will need to look at what they have currently developed and if it will work in the new media landscape.

  • dock29

    social media strategy and tool features. As an SEO agency that focuses
    on identifying the best niche keywords to target organically, we really
    appreciate this. Thanks Chris Bernard –

  • Sankar Narayanan

    As Jason Falls says, strategy is vastly missing in many social media initiatives, and I hope there will be more focus on social updating, tweeting, etc backed by strategic planning. In other words, I think more and more companies will use social media to enable co-creation of a business, social or environmental value.

  • Nobesuthu Cele

    Prediction 22 is so true especially in developing economies on the African continent where mobile phone is used more as a personal computer; web access, banking, and as a social media tool.
    This is due to service network companies having invested in mobile infrastructure and easy access to mobile phones as prices have fallen.In SA alone we have a close to to 100% mobile phone penetration, though smartphone is still low at around 15%.Most people have never owned a PC but are on facebook,MXIT, doing their banking on the phone etc. Great article…surprised as to why Youtube has not capitalized on it’s unique position of the multimedia experience and evolved it into social networking sooner…seems like a no brainer



    I find FB extremely frustrating for small businesses. Currently my (small)
    business is a “Page” on my personal site. FB says this is the way we
    have to FB our business sites. For those of us who started FB 3 or 4+ years
    ago, we had to first build a personal account prior to engaging a business
    page, now to change it seems non-existent as FB rules how we Brand our
    businesses (within our personal accounts). Also, attended many FB learning
    sessions, and I witness (and hear) many small business owners frustrated and unfamiliar
    with how to run or work their businesses within
    FB. We’re at the mercy of
    learning as we go, and still run our companies. Bottom line everyone wants to
    “win” with social media (especially FB), but time to learn and
    (properly) engage FB and social media, is not always clear and/or available for
    small business owners.

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  • Awesome post as normal. I agree with Paul Colligan. I think YouTube is going to continue to be a huge force and probably be the most important outlet in 2012. I know I am really focusing on YouTube. I also predict that Linkedin will continue to be over looked and people will continue to ignore it. That is to bad because it’s got so much power and to this very day is still the number one referrer to my website. Here is some more information on Linkedin

  • Stan

    Hi Cindy
    Thanks for your review. I subscribe, because I’m fascinated by social media. Personally, I’m amazed how it has developed so quickly, particularly as I regard facebook as one of the most confusing, badly organised pieces of software in the history of computing. I’m a professional copywriter, if I’d written anything that bad, I’d expect to be sacked. I run my business from the Canary Islands and shortly after arriving here, I dumped my mobile phone – and guess what – business has gone up! I use email marketing – full stop. People leave voice mails and I get back to them. So no facebook for me – I’m too busy writing and enjoying myself to tell the world about the new Cajun sauce I’ve just discovered in Waitrose. I agree that YouTube is a winner – but Twitter! There must be some really sad sods out there. Warmest regards, an avid reader of the site, Stan Arnold.

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  • Jim

    I think that’s been a problem for a while Kerry. As I mentioned in my prediction above, I think we are already starting to see platforms that aggregate the mess of differing platforms and start to pull it back together into one location — at least for the reader/viewer or end user.

    I think the ticket is to establish a home base whether that’s a blog, dynamic website, Facebook, wherever and use the other tools as extensions of that foundation.

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  • Jim Clark

    The brands/creative agencies that are bold enough to allow followers into the community and drive conversation/create content will distance themselves from the more conservative brands who think social is merely another one-directional ad platform…the ones who understand that true social is a two-way conversation and embrace it, will create much richer experiences for their fans who will return the trust by becoming avid Influencers and share their experiences across more channels…those who are afraid to ask open ended questions for fear of losing control of their brand message…will continue to have high social investments/low ROI.

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  • It is still all about content!

    My prediction, as others here, is that content will have to be tuned optimized and made relevant to cut through the clutter and noise. Make it relevant, collaborative, authentic and deploy it in appropriate ways for your world and 2012 will be very productive!

    Regardless of the new apps, platforms and technologies that are developed, it will still come down to effectively communicating your message.

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  • Charlottesmt

    Amazing tips for 2012! Thank you. As a journalist re-formed into a content creator and content curator, I can’t be more excited to hear that specialised and quality content will be one of the keys for social media success. Content embraces written as well as audiovisual creation, and this kind of work has never been made by marketers, but by journalists, writers, scriptwriters… I am glad to hear that our experience and point of view is still have a lot to say, create and deliver in the social media universe. Thanks again.

  • Wow, this post is like your freshly-squeezed orange juice for breakfast.. and I’m saving it on my favorites.  I think that with newer tools coming up this year, I can see a merge of: Agile marketing + Predictive Analytics used in social media marketing — so businesses can make better decisions on what really makes their customers/targets tick.  Happy 2012 everyone!!!

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  • Wow! looks like an exhaustible list. I strongly believe that traditional and digital marketing techniques will be interwoven this year.

  • Really interesting to see the similarities and differences between these predictions. It’s YouTube for me – love to see how it evolves as a social network but right now there is a lot of spam… Let’s see where that goes. Also I would love facebook just to simplify – but I guess that’s not likely this year?!


  • Brad Ellison

    When a friend needed a realtor, I recommended a realtor I’d been following on Twitter who regularly posts thoughtful, insightful and helpful material on Twitter.  They are now in the process of selling their current home and purchasing a new one.  When my company was looking for a web developer, I asked for recommendations through Facebook and Twitter and within 10 minutes had 4 developers’ names, email addresses and websites, recommended by tech experts.  When I go out of town, I will check Foursquare for the area I am heading to and read hotel/restaurant recommendations and check for any deals close by. 

    I could go on and on and on.  Realtors, web developers, hotels, restaurants…any business can generate new business by developing and sustaining an engaging social media presence.  You might want to re-evaluate whether you’re a “realist” or a “skeptic.” (And whether your definition of those two terms are even different things)

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  • DavidDavidKatzman

    I think the biggest miss in all the predictions is that 2012 is going to be a huge year for TV and social media to be intertwined more tightly. That is, live TV viewing and social media. We already know that many people are sitting with their iPads or laptops while they are watching TV. And they are chatting their friends about the shows they are watching together. Pretty soon, the networks are going to get smart and enhance that synergy and find new ways to integrate brands and ads into the digital complement to the TV entertainment. Right now people skip ads like crazy and view out of schedule. But what if their favorite star from the show was chatting live during the event and responding/tweeting back to the viewers, etc? What if there were constant polls and other voting mechanisms going on live? What if you could watch a behind the scenes clip sponsored by a brand who is also a featured advertiser? There are already apps moving in this direction. There is a lot more to come because it’s necessary to jujitsu all the time-shifting that is going on. Perhaps there will even be time delayed content for the time shifters. There’s a huge mass of creative potential in this opportunity if content providers would start thinking more dimensionally. Live voting on actor’s choices? Sky’s the limit.


  • It’s exciting to know that social media is becoming more prevalent in the business world nowadays.  The Internet marketing world is evolving and businesses that are not on board are going to seriously be left behind.  Great post!

  • Jana

    Great concept for an article, and there’s some helpful info.

    (I just wish it weren’t buried amidst thinly-veiled self-promotion.)

  • Scott Hicks

    I have scoured articles for some time now, trying to find one — just ONE — that will detail how a social presence has helped increase sales for a business. Any business. Large or small. Brand awareness? I get that. But where are the numbers? If anyone out there can point me in the direction of one company, large or small, that has been profiled with empirical data about an increase in profits due to active involvement in social media (and I don’t mean app or game developers like Zynga), I would be much obliged. As for now, having a bunch of likes, or the ubiquitous, “Social is where it’s at, you HAVE to be on there” just ain’t cutting it.

  • daniel_encoderpr

    2012 will see brands move from an obsession with like and follower acquisition to a focus on generating tangible business value from Facebook and other social networking platforms. Social media marketing, loyalty and selling will begin to converge. The challenge for all brands will be to get the balance right between softly softly engagement and the hard sell. There is a big opportunity for brands to offer exclusive sales promotions and friend only offers via their brand presence on social.  

  • daniel_encoderpr

    See my comment below. 

  • Eva Wolfas

    and what about social affiliation or maybe I should sau community affiliation…

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  • With the list of 30 above, it still boils down to good strategy. You can spread yourself too thin across all of the available social media platforms and not utilize them all to your best advantage. I say pick and choose wisely with a plan of action keeping customer interaction in mind. With social media, the “I” in ROI means Investment in time due to information overload and constant vigilance on interactivity/analytics.

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  • Its all good and interesting news – But may I remind us all that as soon as SOPA is approved (Hopefully never approved in my opinion) the internet as we know it will change… And what about all the strategies that everyone is now looking at implementing / allready implemented?? I think that Social Media “platforms” like the major players Twitter , Facebook , Google+ should start focusing on putting up banners on their websites to get more support for the Anti-SOPA movement. Because if SOPA is approved – I doubt that there even will be a facebook etc….    Raise the awareness – Or all our “new” strategies will be useless.

  • Get mobile or die. Get social or die. Keep creating valuable content or die.

    Have a great year!

  • right on Jamie, #22, I am waiting for face chat and blue tooth earpiece to become the norm so I can consolidate everything into one device, the tab… isn’t that where all this is headed? no more laptops, cell phones, or desktops…

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  • Scott Hicks

    I think you make good points but the only benefit I really see are those exclusive promotions, and they are only going to apply to certain types of businesses. Your favorite restaurant might tempt you to stop in by posting a special of the day, or Famous Footwear might encourage you to get a new pair of shoes by offering a coupon. But what about the plumber down the street? What is his use for social in business? Or to look at the other end of the spectrum, how about Coca-Cola, for example — how will they increase sales by tweeting or being on facebook? Brand awareness, sure, but that is notoriously difficult to measure in terms of dollars.

    The reality as I see it is that social media marketing will provide measurable benefit only for those businesses that can reasonably rely on frequent, repeat business, and can capture the attention of their customers through special offers. It differs from traditional methods of advertising (direct mail, print advertising) in that it is more immediate and (possibly) less expensive, but not in a great many other ways that I’ve seen demonstrated. As for social media’s benefit for other types of businesses, I’ll be the first to say it: the emperor wears no clothes.

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  • Melonie Dodaro

    I think Google + will gain some serious momentum. I had adopted a wait and see attitude with G+ before I devoted too much time to it, but I thing the time is now to start seriously looking at it.

  • Michelelabuda

    What is SOPA

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  • Chabuka J Kawesha

    Interesting pointers. Social media has in a way placed a lot of pressure on service providers in Africa to accelerate technology deployment I.e. Data to address the growing interest. It will be exciting to see how most of the pointers raised will further influence technology advancements on the continent

  • Ashfaque

    yes social media will pay a vital role in the business marketing field that’s for sure!!!

  • Chris Dane

    Great piece of work, thanks.  I certainly agree that marketers are now starting to focus energies on the social media platforms that will work for them (that is when not trying to generate compelling content) in a more systematic and focused way.  As a B2B marketer Google + is interesting because it offers more targeted client focus, but it still has yet to reach a critical mass that will make it worthwhile.

  • Very excited predictions indeed. My eyes are on Youtube. The opportunities are palpable.  

  • daniel_encoderpr

    Well Coke isn’t exactly having any trouble selling its product but the company is fully embracing social media – it gives them an environment to bring the brand to life around the theme of positivity and happiness. 

    The trouble is that too many people talk about social media as some kind of marketing panacea or marketing nirvana. The truth is that social media is a part of a mix – when deployed with other marketing tactics there is little doubt and perhaps as much evidence that it positively impacts brand perceptions and therefore sales. 

    With the plumber example. Maybe a plumber could use social media to position himself or herself as a trusted service provider by asking his customers to like, rate or review his work. Then he could refer potential clients to this repository of rating and reviews, which gives them the confidence that he or she will go a good job. Most plumbers are working in a local areas – I think I’d have a high level of confidence in a plumber if I saw that someone I knew from the neighbourhood had provided them with a 5 out of 5 rating. That’s social search. 

    I believe that most business can benefit from social media if they apply the tools in a way that is authentic and relevant to their potential customers. 

    If you take your argument to its logical conclusion then you have to assume that the impact of all marketing is negligible, which it clearly isn’t. We live in an attention economy – marketing that refreshes or creates connections between a customer and a brand is a good thing. 

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  • Scott Hicks

    Good responses, and I mostly agree. I have no doubt about the effectiveness of social on branding (assuming it’s done properly). Most companies are not the size of Coke (or pick your mega-corporation). Most are of a size that require tangible results from advertising dollars. And that’s where I think the trouble is. One poster on here said something to the effect of, “Get social or die.” For the majority of businesses, I think that’s bad advice. 

    As I write this, I realize that I’m mostly thinking about businesses specifically adopting Facebook or Twitter (or even Google+). Sure, there is terrific value in having a good rating from customers, although I think a more powerful use of rating would be through Google Places search listings, which is not social in the same way that Facebook is. In the end, I would still recommend any number of other advertising media before social, for most small- to medium-sized businesses.

  • Mike Philippson

    My background is fmcg consumer marketing. My problem with these tips is that it is all about what it takes to make poeple click on your site and then share it on. In old world speak, this is the equivalent of saying that the trick to marketing a car was having a bikini-clad model photographed roling around on it!

    Of course, if people don’t click, they can’t be sold. However, clicking alone does not mean you have sold your Brand Equity to them, such that it builds your Brand and its loyal user-base over time. Indeed, I am struggling to find examples of where Social Media Marketing has been proven to build longterm Brand Equity and Market Share.

    This is not such a problem for B2B, but to me is the greatest challenge for fmcg success in Social Media. I do not think it will be solved by Social Media experts, for whom the excitement is in the medium, not the Brand. My prediction is that by end 2012, many major fmcg Companies will be retrenching time and money back into traditional media, because transferring funds into social media has caused Brand decline. The first of these is happening already with PepsiCo and their Pepsi Brand.

    Of course, this 180 degree turn is not right either. The real answer is to make Social Media Marketing work for Brand-Building.  Doing this requires professional Brand Marketeers to bring proven consumer Brand-Building expertise to these media to make them work, where the focus is on how to make the Target Consumers for a Brand love the Brand’s Equity, not just the Brand’s Website.

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  • Chinwe Kalu

    I am one of those people who took a while to embrace Social Marketing, mainly because in my part of the world, the infrastructure was slow. It took so long to type a mail and send it, what more trying stuff. But all that is fast changing. Having read all the predictions, it is obvious that Social Media has become a Science. It requires strategy to get maximum benefit. We’re thinking on several sides-quality content, targeting audiences more specifically, SEO, synergy with email marketing, etc etc. It promises to be an exciting tool for businesses in 2012. Chinwe Kalu

  • And/or the plumber could use social media to vet projects, let’s say bathroom remodels. He, since most plumbers are men, could offer prospective clients free estimates or no travel costs (the best charge for these) to those who engage via social.

    Let’s be practical: if the plumber can get a better sense of the project and schedule site visits in the area before stepping foot in the house or picking up the phone, those time savings an be passed on to customers, no? How nice would it be to have online scheduling that lets me pick the time window on a certain day.

  • Warms my heart, both as a content creator and consumer, that 2012 promises quality over quantity and more strategy. Our clients are echoing this, diversifying media and honing messages to specific groups.

    To some, strategy may have a negative connotation, a la conniving. To me, however, it means NOT wasting people’s time and clogging their feeds with matters that don’t interest them. Everyone wins when we consider everyone’s time is precious.

  • Suzanne – Yes, something we can all look forward too!

  • Excellent article! I really think YouTube is going to continue to keep growing especially with the new layout last month. Video is very powerful and am really educating my clients on the importance of YouTube going into 2012. It is a great way to build trust/credibility (my focus is the legal field). I plan to create videos that are engaging as potential clients will submit questions and the attorney will answer questions once/week. 

    Mobile will be huge, too. I really think small business owners will start to see the importance of mobilized websites.  

  • I think social media analytics will become more comprehensive and (hopefully) usable for B2B and B2C companies (and yes, you can measure ROI with social). I hate to say it but I hope 2012 sees the death of not only “page view” as a meaningless metric, but others such as a person’s Klout score in order to focus on the numbers that really do matter. While price based models for influence are intriguing, I think they ruin the concept behind Twitter. Same goes for Pinterest and Tumblr really. . .
    I think your predictions are spot on, I guess I just hope they don’t all come true

  • Thanks for the information about QR codes and for the link where I can generate it and also its impact to people. There are many ways in how to market the brand and QR codes is helpful and very useful not only to the business part but also to the consumers or target audience.

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  • Wow.  What an amazing collection of truly useful information.  Filing this away for a study time.  SO much great stuff.  I really appreciate you pulling all of this together for us.

  • Thank you for this great article.  I am really excited to take my marketing to the next level with video.  I couldn’t agree more about the growing needs for media specialists. 

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  • Great info!  I think that small and medium sized businesses will continue to get more sophisticated in social media marketing and they’ll want more sophisticated tools, especially looking for tools that can be their “command center” where they can get a lot of their creating, posting, monitoring, and evaluating (analytics) done all in one place.

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  • Thank you CIndy. Great article and it is helping me shape the social media strategy for my e-commerce business. too many great ideas to mention, but for sure I will be focusing on three specific platforms, primarily (YouTube, twitter, FB fan page), making sure to create and source high quality content, and utilize social media analytics to better understand my customers and markets and where to best invest resources. thanks again, Jim


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  • WOW Great info shame I only see this now 🙂 bookmarked!

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  • A) these 30 are really more like 10 and B) in 2015 there will be a move to eliminate the digital pollution created in the last five years.

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  • Great point, social success has nothing to do with numbers. I see it all of the time on Twitter. I really appreciate all the sharing going on (look left) here so I’m not picking on our readers, but… I often see someone with a thousand followers retweet a post and it almost seems to go viral for a few minutes with all of the re-retweets. Then someone with 100+ thousand followers retweets and – nothing. If no one is listening, it doesn’t matter how many are in the room. <- Soon to be famous quote!

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  • NoviceMarketer

    Great article. Do you have a follow-up article on how to use specific tools? For example, I optimize my content using Is there other tools I should be using?

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  • FollowMeSticker

    Came back here to say – well, it’s almost 2013 now! I like how accurate some of these have been. Pinterest was sure interesting!

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  • Great article! We’ve been saying that marketers should start using social media as a strategic business drive for a while. All aspects of the customer experience are now on display for the world to see, including those uncomfortable moments of failure. Every month, over 60% of the Internet-connected population interacts with each other using social media. They share openly and freely on every subject imaginable – including your brand, your competitors’ brands, their customer experience and their product desires. Not having a social media monitoring function in your business is like not having an IT department or corporate email. In 2013, marketers will still be challenged with figuring out how to reliably convert online chatter into meaningful insights that can help their business.

  • Always  interesting to look back 12 months later and see what panned out and what didn’t!  Many of these were right on.

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  • Williesha Morris

     I was just thinking that. Except maybe for the whole Instagram thing. 😉 Got rid of that pretty quick. 🙂

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