social media viewpointsAre you wondering what 2013 might look like for social media marketing?

If the changes seen in 2012 are an indicator, there will be a lot more change in 2013.

To get a grip on what the near future may look like, we tapped the knowledge of 21 social media pros.

Here’s what they had to say.

And if you’re curious, here were the 2012 predictions.

#1: Ecommerce and Social Media Grow Together

Viveka Von Rosen

Viveka Von Rosen

I don’t know about the world in general, but I am fascinated with the movement of ecommerce and predict that it will continue to trend in 2013.

When I asked my personal ecommerce expert Gideon Lask (CEO and founder of BuyaPowa), he said one huge trend in ecommerce will be the continued empowerment of the consumer.

“No one telling the shopper what to buy, when to shop and how much to pay. Too many retailers are failing by not realizing that consumers want to do it on their terms. Time to give them the key to the car. Empower them and you’ll win loyalty.”

Social media is a great venue for consumers because of the integrated communication features and potential ecommerce features. But even Facebook is missing the mark a bit. Twitter and LinkedIn don’t even have ecommerce options. That needs to change.


Ecommerce and social media will need to grow together. Image source: iStockphoto

I’m a big fan of any way we can use social media to build business, sell product and support our economy. Making purchasing easier and more fun is one way of doing it, and is the reason I see the mashup of ecommerce and social media as a huge growth trend in 2013.

Viveka Von Rosen, known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert” and author of LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day.

#2: Visual Marketing

ekaterina walter

Ekaterina Walter

2013 will be the year of visual marketing. Visuals and video done right are highly effective in cutting through the noise. It’s a snackable type of content that resonates with people globally and increases engagement within communities no matter where they are located.

Brands will need to understand what it takes to do visual marketing well, whether within their current communities or new networks like Pinterest, Instagram and others.

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2013 will be the year of visual marketing. Image source: iStockphoto

This is applicable for any type of content: paid, earned and owned.

Ekaterina Walter, social innovator at Intel and author of Think Like Zuck.

#3: We’ll See Media as Either Active or Passive

mitch joel

Mitch Joel

I believe that we will stop seeing media as social and start thinking about our media as being either active or passive. This will happen in two stages.

Stage one is the consumer. When are consumers active or passive with their media? When are they passively watching a TV show or actively taking part on Twitter?

watching tv

When are consumers passively watching a TV show? Image source: iStockphoto

Stage two is the brand. When should brands create media that are passive or active?

These new lenses on both media and the consumer will help brands figure out the best marketing mix, and help them optimize everything from content creation and TV spots to the amount of time, energy and effort they should place on Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Mitch Joel, president of Twist Image, blogger, podcaster and author of Six Pixels of Separation.

#4: Facebook Offers Better Tools for Businesses

sme john haydon

John Haydon

In 2013, we’ll see Facebook offering a premium version of Facebook Pages. This premium version will include advanced analytics that will give marketers greater insight around specific fan segments (top commenters, customers, new fans) and the ability to do frictionless email acquisition (click “join” within a Page update to opt in).

They’ve already acquired Threadsy (an analytics tool) and earlier this year they allowed third-party developers to create actions beyond Comment, Like and Share.

We’ll also see new ways Facebook is used for hyperlocal commerce. For example, a clothing store will allow store visitors to log in and pay for their purchases all through their Facebook account. We are already seeing self-pay commerce apps being used (Square, GoPayment). Soon after 2013, cash registers will only be seen in museums.

stock photo 8129754 cash register

With self-pay commerce apps being used, cash registers will become a thing of the past. Image source: iStockphoto

The other area that will see huge changes is content creation and curation. Marketers will have the ability, through automation, to get suggestions for Page updates based on how Facebook users have been reacting to a Page’s previous posts.

John Haydon, co-author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies. He advises nonprofits on marketing strategy and the effective use of Facebook, blogs, Twitter and other tools.

#5: Content Marketing Is the New Social Media Marketing

sme dave kerpen

Dave Kerpen

As social media begins to come of age in 2013, brands will realize that with unprecedented clutter coming from both people and brands, the need for beautiful and engaging content is greater than ever.

In B2B, content marketing has already taken center stage with white papers, ebooks, webinars, infographics and articles.

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A need for brands to have more beautiful, engaging content. Image source: iStockphoto

In 2013, as Instagram, Pinterest and other multimedia social networks grow, you’ll see more and more B2C brands using social media to produce and share beautiful photos, sophisticated comics and other visual aids, and brilliant TV-level videos.

Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable and author of Likeable Social Media and Likeable Business.

#6: SlideShare Is the Fastest-Growing Social Network

joe pulizzi

Joe Pulizzi

In 2013, the fastest-growing social network will be SlideShare, while Facebook and LinkedIn each launch their own original content creation strategies to drive further engagement and open up sponsored content opportunities.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, author of Managing Content Marketing and co-author of Get Content, Get Customers.

#7: Twitter Personalizes Your Twitter Feed

rich brooks pic

Rich Brooks

In 2013, Twitter is going to start “personalizing” your Twitter feed based on an algorithm that social media pundits might call “TweetRank,” or perhaps “TwedgeRank.”

The algorithm will include the following factors:

  • Influence: A measure of how influential the person tweeting is, based on the ratio of followers to following, the regular number of retweets he/she gets, mentions and favorites received, how influential his/her followers are and how often he/she is added to Twitter lists.
  • Engagement: How often you engage with the tweeter in the form of mentions, retweets and favorites.
  • Alignment: How closely the tweeter resembles you, based on your bio, geographic area, the lists you follow and the lists you both appear on.
  • Gravity: How often that particular tweet has been retweeted and favorited.
  • Your Interests: If the topic of the tweet is of interest to you, based on your previous tweets, retweets, favorites and hashtags.
stock photo 19382773 who are you concept words on blackboard

Twitter will start "personalizing" your Twitter feed. Image source: iStockphoto

Invariably, brands will complain that they can no longer get the engagement they once got on Twitter, at which point Twitter will roll out an advertising platform that allows you to buy a better TwedgeRank for your tweets.

There, now I said it.

Rich Brooks, president of flyte new media.

#8: Google+ Is a “Must” Place to Be

anita campbell

Anita Campbell

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

Google will continue to roll services and products under the Google+ umbrella, forcing businesses to use it if they wish to get the advantages that Google+ offers.

Already it’s the place to manage your local business presence within the Google ecosystem; and it’s central to establishing authorship of your writings around the web (Google Author Markup).

stock photo 9073875 concept of star network on blackboard

Google+ will become the central hub for managing your "official" online public presence in the eyes of Google. Image source: iStockphoto

But when it comes to pure social, its use will continue to be limited mostly to tech early adopters and marketers. It hasn’t caught on from the social standpoint in the same way that sites like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram have managed to captivate and transform users into raving fan-addicts.

So irrespective of whether your friends or customers spend any time socializing on Google+ today, you still need to be active on it.

Anita Campbell, founder of Small Business Trends and author of Visual Marketing.

#9: Google+ Appeals to Niche Segments

ric dragon

Ric Dragon

I wouldn’t nail the coffin shut on Google+ yet. Little by little, the Google engineers have been quietly building features like Communities that might yet build up participation on this platform. Meanwhile, frustration may be building with Facebook, as it rolls out increasingly intrusive advertising.

The history of Facebook’s growth makes for a fascinating read. The way it was rolled out slowly across colleges and universities helped to create demand. The photo and album features of Facebook were key in attaining their rapid popularity, yet those very features have been lagging in the photo and album features of Google.

The differences between Google+ Communities and Facebook Groups are pretty slim right now. Both can be private or open, and both can have multiple threads of conversations.

google+ communities

Both Google+ Communities and Facebook Groups can be private or open.

Google+ still has the edge with video integration using Google Hangouts.

Google is also rolling out Author Rank which promises to make a connection between content and the author of that content. Authors will then be given a greater or lesser weighting score depending on where their content appears and how they’re connected with other relevant individuals in the social graph. This is yet another example of how a person’s or organization’s participation on Google+ will have an impact on their findability in search.

In the 1991 landmark book, Crossing the Chasm, author Geoffrey Moore demonstrated how technology companies could build up momentum by appealing to niche segments of early adopters. This appears to be Google’s playbook as it attracts photographers, search marketers and other creators of media.

Ric DragonCEO and co-founder of the digital marketing agency DragonSearch and author of Social Marketology.

#10: Instagram Grows Bigger

sme mark schaefer

Mark Schaefer

2013 will be a big year for Instagram. While it’s a comparatively minor platform now, research from The Social Habit shows that social media users plan to increase their use of Instagram at a rate higher than that of any other network.

Also, 85% of Instagrammers use the platform at work, way above any other social media format.

instagram grows

Research from The Social Habit shows that social media users plan to increase their use of Instagram at a rate higher than any other network.

Its ease of use lowers the barriers to content creation and helps fuel posts on other networks.

Mark W. Schaefer, marketing faculty member at Rutgers University and author of Return on Influence.

#11: Mediapreneurs Focus More on Building Their Email List

david siteman garland

David Siteman Garland

Warning: This prediction might be somewhat ironic because, heck, I love social media. Social media rocks. That being said, indulge me for a second about my prediction.

Over the past year, there has been a major trend in the mediapreneur community (entrepreneurs who create media online; i.e., blogs, podcasts, webshows, whatever) and it’s going to continue right into 2013.

The trend is NOT overtly encouraging people to follow you on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc., on your website, but instead making sure folks subscribe via email.

stock photo 15899912 close up of at symbol with laptop

Encourage people to subscribe via email. Image source: iStockphoto

Don’t believe me? Think I’m nuts?

Check out Marie ForleoChris BroganSocial Triggers and my site The Rise To The Top.

What do they all have in common? The common thread is encouraging folks to subscribe via email.

Why? Studies have shown time and time again that if you want an engaged audience and buyers, they are most likely going to come from your email list. And I’ve found that to be extremely true… and your email list is truly the only list YOU OWN. It’s yours.

Does this mean social media isn’t important? Phooey! Of course not (duh). However, my prediction is you will see fewer sites next year encouraging people to follow them “everywhere” and instead focus on the often-forgotten but extremely important email address.

David Siteman Garland, creator of the web show and resource The Rise To The Top and author of Smarter, Faster, Cheaper.

#12: Marketers Use Fewer Social Sites

ed gandia

Ed Gandia

As social media users become increasingly savvy, they will focus their social media time on fewer sites. Marketers will follow their lead.

Facebook and Twitter have now entered the late majority stage of the adoption curve. So has LinkedIn within the business community.

But as Google+, Pinterest and other rapidly growing platforms continue to gain adoption and increased acceptance, users will have to decide where to spend their time and energy. There’s only so much time in a day, and the noise is deafening.

stock photo 4000643 pearls on a plate

Users will have tough choices to make when deciding where to spend their time and energy in the year ahead. Image source: iStockphoto

From the marketer’s standpoint, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s much more effective to have a solid presence in one or two channels than it is to try to dominate every single platform.

So I’m predicting that entrepreneurs, small businesses, freelancers and consultants will have to make some tough choices this year as to where to engage their fans and followers for maximum impact.

With these changes will come an increased focus on attracting higher-quality followers and connections rather than on sheer numbers. Sharing only relevant content to each target group will be more important than ever. That will require improved segmentation and a smarter communications strategy.

Ed Gandia, founding partner of International Freelancers Academy, author of the 2012 Freelance Industry Report and co-author of The Wealthy Freelancer.

#13: The Content Marketing Arms Race Continues and Gets More Heated

marcus sheridan

Marcus Sheridan

By this point, more and more businesses are realizing that unless they embrace content marketing soon, they may repeat the “Kmart Phenomenon” and go from the top to the bottom of their industry—all because they refused to look forward and embrace a new way of thinking as Kmart’s competitor Walmart did years ago.

As 2013 is upon us, I see more and more businesses racing to make up for lost time on the web. I see more journalists and writers being hired by companies large and small in an effort to produce blog posts, ebooks, videos and social media content. Frequency and mass will be the name of the game.

The results of this will be good and bad. Consumers will continue to be better informed than they ever have been in the history of the world before making a purchase.

At the same time though, competition will grow more fierce among industries and niches—which inevitably leads to black-hat practices and poorly thought-out tactics.

stock photo 16242591 businesspeople in racing starting positions

Competition will grow more fierce between industries and niches. Image source: iStockphoto

In many ways, this content marketing arms race will be a major area of concern for businesses worldwide over the next decade.

Marcus Sheridan, co-owner of River Pools and Spas, the founder of—an educational site on selecting the right pool—and founder of the The Sales Lion.

#14: More Industries Get Serious About Social

sme contributor stephanie sammons

Stephanie Sammons

My one social media prediction for 2013 is that business professionals in the financial, legal, accounting and medical fields are going to begin to get serious about building their digital portfolios and implementing social engagement strategies.

There are regulatory issues in these industries that have caused fear and delay in moving forward with investing in a “digital remodel” of their practices in order to meet the expectations and experiences of today’s connected consumer.

With the policies and technology solutions in place today that can help to protect them, I predict that we will soon see a tidal wave of financial advisers, attorneys and medical practitioners who will emerge as digital thought leaders in these important relationship-centric professions.

stock photo 19735922 two doctors looking at the laptop

Medical practitioners will emerge as digital thought leaders, along with other industry professionals. Image source: iStockphoto

These individuals will potentially find great success in becoming more visible, valuable, approachable, and accessible to their clients, customers and patients through social media.

Stephanie Sammons, founder and CEO of Wired Advisor.

#15: Social Media Advertising Becomes a Necessity

kristi hines

Kristi Hines

I see social advertising becoming more of a necessity, whether people like it or not. Especially for businesses trying to reach a larger audience but who are struggling to build up an engaged community.

There’s also the possibility that more social networks will follow Facebook’s lead of creating a system or algorithm that essentially forces everyone to buy advertising in order to have their messages seen.

Thanks to easier targeting options, social advertising could be simpler and less expensive than paid search advertising such as Google AdWords. This will lead to ROI becoming even more of a hot topic, because companies will be investing not just their time but also major advertising dollars into their social media campaigns.

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Social advertising will become more of a necessity. Image source: iStockphoto

When it comes to social media consulting, the most successful consultants in 2013 will be the ones who can not only help their clients grow an engaged audience organically, but also help them craft their paid advertising campaigns on top social networks.

They will also need to provide proof of how social media marketing as a whole is benefiting their clients through advanced use of various analytics programs.

Kristi Hines, freelance writer, professional blogger and author of the blog Kikolani.

#16: A New Social Site Rolls Out

sme contributor chris garrett

Chris Garrett

My forecast for 2013 is based on my lousy predictions of years previous, and learning from that experience. My prediction? That we will be taken by surprise by a new social media service that hardly anyone will see coming!

Just look over the last few years and see how we have been blindsided.

Back in March 2007, I was one of the many people who dismissed Twitter, only to have to eat my words and rejoin. I ignored Pinterest in much the same way. On the other hand, I was sure Google would be able to take a huge bite out of the social media landscape with their many attempts, but that has yet to happen.

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A new social media service will appear that hardly anyone will see coming. Image source: iStockphoto

Think of all the social services that went away or are limping along: Digg, Delicious, Pownce… maybe one of those will come back to life? It could even be MySpace.

So with this in mind, I predict there will be yet another new service that shakes up the social media landscape in 2013, and I look forward to it!

Chris Garrett, VP of Educational Content at Copyblogger Media and co-author of ProBlogger.

#17: The Number of Podcasters Doubles

sme michael stelzner

Michael Stelzner

With more than 1 billion smartphone users and hundred of millions more coming in 2013, the consumer demand for quality on-demand talk in the form of podcasts will grow enormously in 2013.

As marketers begin to realize this new publishing opportunity, we will see a land grab as more and more podcasts are released to appease an ever-growing demand for audio content. NOW is the time to start podcasting.

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Podcasts will grow enormously in 2013. Image source: iStockphoto

Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner and author of the books Launch and Writing White Papers.

#18: Facebook Ad Network Will Make Waves

sme ben pickering

Ben Pickering

Since going public in May, Facebook has been working overtime to uncover new and better ways to monetize its enormous user base.

In 2013, we will all begin to realize the full potential of “social advertising” across the web and mobile. It has been much rumored over the past several months and recently appears to be coming to fruition: the ability for advertisers to leverage Facebook user data to target ads outside of Facebook.

While Facebook is currently just testing the waters, 2013 will surely see the full roll-out of an ad network for third-party websites and mobile.

facebook ad network

People will begin to realize the full potential of "social advertising" across the web and mobile.

The launch of an ad network that relies heavily on personal data provided by users to Facebook (e.g., age, gender, Likes, etc.) is going to raise privacy concerns among consumers. There will undoubtedly be negative PR waves as a result of consumer privacy backlash.

However, I believe that Facebook will successfully navigate these concerns and by the end of the year, ads running outside of Facebook will become a meaningful new revenue stream for the social network. And of course, this will also introduce compelling new opportunities for advertisers to reach their target audience wherever they are online.

Ben Pickering, CEO of Strutta.

#19: Marketers Increase Social Media Spend

heidi cohen

Heidi Cohen

In 2013, marketers will increase the use of social media and related content marketing at the expense of advertising to build brands, attract prospects, generate leads and close sales.

Content marketing (especially as part of social media) is more cost-effective than digital advertising (including search). You own the media and don’t need to pay for advertising space.

Further social media—including ratings, reviews and photos—provide the wisdom of crowds. Findings by Kapost/Eloqua and HubSpot consistently prove this point.

Average cost per lead.

Cost per lead with long-term yield of content marketing.

Once you've built your audience, your ROI goes up.

Heidi Cohen, actionable marketing expert and president of Riverside Marketing Strategies.

#20: Social Media Focuses on the Business

paul colligan pic

Paul Colligan

With IPOs, intense media focus, top-selling gurus, etc., the social media “plumbing” of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., has gotten more attention than it should.

As we enter into the next year with the economic realities of what’s ahead, there is no doubt in my mind that 2013 will be the year social media stops worshipping the plumbing and finally turns back to focus on that which is truly important—ROI, customers, leads and sales.

The power of social media is in what it lets us do and whom it lets us connect with. The story isn’t that Facebook has 1 billion users—the story is that you now have the ability to connect with more than 1 billion people, thanks to Facebook. The story isn’t the 70 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute—the story is that anyone with a story to tell can broadcast it to the whole world… on Google’s dime.

The difference is subtle, but it will result in the ROI, customers, leads and sales that we all need right now.

Paul Colligan, education czar for Traffic Geyser Inc. and CEO of Colligan.

#21: Social Brands Shift to Social Business

brian solis

Brian Solis

The funny thing about predictions is that most people don’t go back to see if they actually happened. But I take the idea of predictions and mix in a little bit of hope to see meaningful trends and change come about. With that said, come 2013, I think we’re going to see a real shift from social brands to social businesses.

Social brands are organizations that use social media as a form of marketing and communication. Largely run out of the marketing department, social media is typically siloed within the business.

Rogue accounts exist across the company. And often, centralization is merely designed to educate groups on how to use social media and follow rules without considering how the market at large sees disparate approaches while not having expectations acknowledged or met.

2013 will bring about an expansion in social media beyond a marketing and engagement philosophy to that of oneness. Social media strategy will start to take a more integrated approach where social media becomes an extension of important channel strategies and business functions.

It will be driven by a holistic effort where enterprise, business and functional strategies work to accomplish business objectives while meeting the needs and expectations of employees and customers.

istock 18252121 community

An expansion in social media beyond a marketing and engagement philosophy to that of oneness. Image source: iStockphoto

Where social media is managed today will start to evolve into a resource center to empower teams to engage around a common vision on their own accord. The business itself thus becomes social and this paves the way for a focus in 2014 around a more human culture shift and business transformation.

Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group and author of What’s the Future of Business and The End of Business as Usual.

What do you think? How do you see social media in 2013? What trends do you anticipate? Please share your thoughts and comments below.

Images from iStockPhoto.
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  • Viveka

    So honored to have contributed. Thanks Cindy 🙂

  • I really enjoyed this list.  Thanks for sharing!  My prediction is that users will tire of the endless noise and start to demand a higher value exchange for their data and audience.  It will be a great year to watch!

  • I agree with almost all of these. I really feel that 2013 is going to be the year of Google Plus. I think mixing that with search and then if they add YouTube to their arsenal of connectivity it will be a total game changer. I think they will be the one to watch. More so for local business I feel…but still.

    Thanks so much for the post! Happy New Year to all of you here and SME!!

  • Thanks for this list. I began in the computer business in the mid 1980’s selling accounting applications on PC’s. It’s amazing how far we’ve come.

    What’s next? As Chris Garrett points out, someone is out there already working on the next big thing.

    Yesterday, I watched the movie “The Social Network” for the first time. It’s amazing how that one idea snowballed to what it is today.

  • Theconradhall

    Chris Garrett is closest. A “new” social media service is coming – from Amazon.

    It’s the one company consistently being ignored in the areas of social media and search. Yet it’s the one with the most ability to displace Facebook, Google, Twitter and most other social media sites. They are already plugged into people’s lives, have a high level of customer interaction with the company, and can easily incorporate social media and search as value-added services.

    Other social media sites are still struggling to find ways of reaching profitability.

    Watch Amazon. When they’re “finished” with retailers, watch for them to kick the living daylights out of everything online, too.

  • Great list.  A lot to think about for the coming year. And yes I agree that the big “known unknown” of 2013 is the next social media site that will pop up out of nowhere but be quickly embraced by many.

  • Kindle already has a social-type site where you can Follow people, see their public notes from the Kindle books they are reading and more. I think they are working on this in secret, because hardly anyone knows about it!

  • Great list Cindy! I recently did my own predictions and I’m glad most of what I said matches these! Whew! Now we wait until 2014 to see if we are psychic or not! 

    I think Mike’s prediction about podcasting is right on the money. I usually find myself on leading edges and I have been having a hankering for doing a podcast with @andreavahl:twitter – and now I have poked her publicly about it – lol. I also think G+ will take off and YouTube with it. I hope Social Media Examiner brings this list back at the end of the year. 

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  • I really like your daily messages, but this week has been exhausting. It always takes some time to get through all the details of one message, but I now when it is titled “31 ways to…” or “21 Best Blogs…” or “1 Million….” its an hours long read and surfing the related links. Can’t you find 5 of the very very best of a subject and post that? I want to read everything and the time to consume a 31 blog post is making me lean towards leaving your posts altogether or adopt out the kids.

  • I predict you are wrong on all of the above – except two. Can you guess which two?

  • Patrick Painter

    A very interesting list of predictions. Thanks to all who contributed their expertise.

    Here’s a hypothetical scenario for those predicting that a new social network will emerge in 2013:

    You’re launching a new social network, and you have millions of dollars to spend developing and promoting it. What pain in the market would you attempt to address? What demographic would you target? How would your social network be different from what’s already out there?

    Once again, thanks for the insights.

  • Dave – I predict that you are wrong 🙂

  • podcast is one of them.

  • Tracy Larson Last

    #11 is good. And all the various methods, with yet more coming, is just too much noise and distraction. Build and nurture community through private host controlled networks.

  • Skip Dalrymple

    Great list of thought provoking predictions…the real message is that all businesses,large or small, need to figure out how to be more “social” if they want tp prosper and grow in the furure!

  • Patrick Painter

    Prediction: Google will buyout Spotify, adding free music streaming/sharing to its mix, incentivizing people to turn to Google+. As a consequence, Facebook’s popularity — especially among young people — will decline.

  • You’re welcome, Viveka!  I always look forward to what you have to share 🙂

  • Thanks for sharing, Kendall! 

  • Happy New Year to you too, David! Yes, many of us are keeping a close eye on Google+.

  • It is fun to look back at how much things have changed! Thanks for sharing, Steve!

  • Hi Conrad!  This is definitely a possibility! 

  • A while back I remember reading that it would be hard for someone new to come into this space and have the kind of traction as the other big players. …and I’m pretty sure I read that before Pinterest cam out. So it will be fun to see what happens next.

  • Cool!  I hope to listen to your podcast some time soon 🙂  

  • Thanks for sharing, Lynn. BTW, we’ve always published longer magazine-style articles.

  • Good points, Patrick!  

  • Cool!  This seems to be a popular content format for many.

  • I agree with you Tracy, the focus on building a good email list is sure to increase.

  • Thanks for jumping in, Patrick!  That’s a good one 🙂

  • Okay – I’m going to go out on a limb and add a prediction here…

    As a result of Facebook rolling out an as yet to be released new ad unit, Google will reverse course and begin to stop annonymizing user experiences. The results will be felt across virtually every facet of the web and suddenly the entire internet will be “social”.  

    Also I went back and looked at last’s yeas version of this post – I commented on Apple buying Twitter. (I was wrong) but I’d say that is still a possibility… 

    Thanks Cindy for putting this together – one of my favorite posts on SME every year!

  • Patrick Painter

    Thank you!

  • Sam@Valentine Day’s package

    If you want enjoyed your online business then you should understand well social media has been made powerful tool for that. Because from social media you can attract too much traffic for your business.

  • newtronsols

    I think there may be an Anti-Smart phone backlash – as costs of services force people to think about what they really need to waste their resources/time on in their life. An anti-Smart app perhaps which disables all Smart services?

  • This list is really great. I very much enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing this with us and thanks to all of the people that have contributed to this list.

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  • Shaun

    Really thought provoking list – thanks to all that contributed. I am not sure about the growth in Podcasting though…businesses continue to struggle with developing actionable social strategies and this has to change in 2013.
    Business leaders need to direct more resources to social and actively pursue and foster social belief.  

  • Great read – thanks guys 😉 Loads to think about and i am off now to sign up my google plus account again and try and get to grips with the various features 😉

  • Rebecca Adjei

    Hi Cindy, I am new comer on this Social Media Marketing ideas and tips but infact, the little that I’ve read on the topics and the on- going active discussions, has really been helpful to me in my daily work. I hopeful and looking forward for more exciting and interesting topics for the year 2013. Happy New Year and thanks a lot for the wonderful work you are doing. Kudos!!!.

  • jameybrown

    Great list, Cindy! Thought Paul Colligan made a great point about people being obsessed with plumbing and not necessarily what is running through the plumbing. I think 2013 is another cementation of social marketing, we know this. It is required now for brands. Now, we need to focus on content and stories that are creative and engaging, but still drive traffic and ROI. 



  • Hi David, thanks for sharing your predictions two years in a row 🙂  The evolution of our new social space definitely gives food for thought.

  • That’s an interesting view point!  How we change and respond to these new technologies is definitely something to follow closely.

  • You’re welcome, Peter!  Glad you enjoyed it.

  • Thanks for sharing, Shaun. It’s been interesting to follow the ups and downs of podcasting so far. 

  • First of all ‘Happy New Year’ to all & many thanks Cindy
    for this article.
    Everyone seems to focus on how businesses will use other
    social sites such as FaceBook, Twitter, Pinterest, etc. to help grow their own
    business and rightly so. The exposure one gets with pages, likes/ shares,
    re-tweets, etc. is huge and very much free “For now”.
    I’d like to add to this article by saying that in 2013
    companies will also focus on offering their own social sites. With social
    network platforms such as SocialGo companies can – add a social element to
    their website, create content faster as members will contribute to their blog/
    forum, build on a database when customers register with their email address,
    allow users to interact with each other, allow users to upload their own
    photos/ videos, share content to their FaceBook/Twitter accounts and most
    importantly – get first-hand knowledge of their customers wants and needs.
    Remember that those who register to your site will have an interest in your
    product because they have previously purchased it, have heard good reviews
    about it or simply want to find out more.
    In my case, social sites like FaceBook and Twitter allow me
    to spread the word and reach out to more customers but owning my own site with
    a lot of the social elements also gives me the flexibility to offer all of the
    above and more.
    To a great 2013!

  • 🙂  Hope you figure out how to make it work for you, Alexandra!

  • Thanks for sharing, Rebecca!  Happy New Year to you too!

  • So true, Jameson. It seems like brands are beginning to figure out how to make social marketing work for them. We should see more great success stories this year.

  • Another great article Cindy! a colleague just sent it to me. I agree with lack of time and resource it would be far better for a business to really excel on a couple of social media platforms that to be a jack of all and an expert in none. 

    Innovation will be clear and an organisations ability to adapt content quickly does separate those who flourish to those who do not.

    I am seeing being changes in measures of success, massive step changes which are needed. Google plus is something I have not given a lot of time to but I will revisit it this year I think for tech/digital and marketing its a key platform but no for mainstream.

  • Jim Weiler

    Enjoyed the content but you should do more syntax checking before you put your own content up –
    “Cindy King is the director of editorial of Social Media Examiner.” 

  • Awesome list! I agree with most of these points.

    But I don’t think that Google Plus is going to grow much in 2013. It’s a dead social community in my opinion.

  • Hey Jim – Thanks for your eagle eye, I edited that.

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  • very excellent article well done. i personally think that after a massive algo shift internationally we are headed to a consolidation phase where all of the new and exciting pieces dance around each other to see how/when/why they can coalesce into something bigger than their parts. that should take 12-18 months then followed by another massive shift after that again

  • I enjoyed these predictions. I will definitely keep them in mind when I develop new marketing plans.Social Media is constantly changing. It forces businesses to keep their marketing fresh and new, which I love! 

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  • While all 21 points are valid, it is a pretty long list to really digest all at once.  With content being king, just wondering why this list wasn’t broken up into three separate posts?  That way you would get more social marketing juice and maybe some subscribers as well (top 5…sign up to get more…or something like that).

    Just a thought.

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  • Thanks Cindy and SME for spelling these things out. I love the list a lot. the predictions are good and will help us know what could be the new things in the jungle

  • Mahendra

    Very nice one!!

  • Patrick Painter

    Hi Michael,
    I’m very interested in your prediction about podcasts. I’d really like to hear your thoughts on what sorts of businesses in what industries you think can leverage podcasting most effectively. Given the high investment in terms of time and talent, I’m thinking the ROI is much greater for certain types of organizations targeting certain markets than others. Perhaps this subject warrants an article? I for one would love to hear more.


  • Agree with most of these predictions Cindy especially about social media being a must for businesses. Whether you are a small business or a corporations, it is important that you have a social media presence. Entrepreneurs need to understand that most consumers are online these days. If firms want to be found, they have to invest time and budget to social media.

  • Angelinadom

    Thanks Cindy for this glad to read the post i almost agree with this all 2013 will be the great year to watch what turn come in social media lets see. Any ways as per my personal opinion content will be the most important and social media definitely get new trends for this as well. As Google + get captured with more professional audience so let see.. Best of luck for every one in this year. Another chance to get it right.

  • Great prediction. So, the Facebook will be in limelight for businesses and advertising.

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  • ~ AWESOME TIPS Cindy! I really love how you laid everything out one by one.

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  • Patrick Painter

     Thanks for the links, Michael. (PS: It’s Patrick, not Patricia. I’m a dude!)

  • CX

    Nice round-up, Cindy! I’m definitely interested to see how social media and TV intersect and evolve in 2013.

  • Great thoughts Cindy!  I think @ekaterina:twitter is right on with the visual marketing prediction and this ties into the Slideshare and Instagram predictions as well. The fact is that social media marketing is still relatively young and while many of us have been engaged for years, a huge number of businesses are just getting started and we’ll see social media marketing continue to grow and the content related to it will be in demand!

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  • My bad 🙂

  • Great Work Cindy! I doubt if these predictions would work especially on the start-up companies. or Would it?

  • johnbottom

    A very interesting round-up – thank you for posting Cindy.

    My prediction is that we will see greater fragmentation. There are more channels, more options, more devices than ever before. And users and businesses are hitting critical mass – and many of them use social media in ways and languages you have never dreamed of. So if you work in social media itself, my advice for this year is think of the bigger picture – not just the bit you work in. Thanks Cindy.

  • This is a fantastic round up of what’s ahead. I love that the content is written by many authors. I enjoyed reading their insights and checking out their blogs/websites.

  • I am on the look out for the Next Social Media whiz-kid as Chris Garrett mentioned and more Facebook tools for pages. 
    Mobile mobile mobile has been the phrase for the past few years and will continue to take over as tablets and smart phones oversell vs desktops. Happy New Year! 

  • That’s a great research and the predictions have all the chances of coming true in this year. Social media for sure is a must have platform for marketers and with its popularity increasing day by day, social media marketing is going to be more expensive in the coming days.

  • Elwud

    Blah, blah, blah and blah, blah, blah. What a load of nothing.

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  • ScottRobinett

    I would say that the next few years will really need to define what this marketplace is, and ROI.

  • Jford

    Great article and good to see many points regarding Google+ which I think will be the leading one by far. Google+ is Google and Google is the Web.

    FB, Twitter and Pinterest are, in my opinion, closed ecosystem and application. They will become more and more intrusive and noisy. The old broadcasting, one way street.

    Is it possible next time to select people that talks about a specific platform to make sure they walk the talk? Your contributors, who wrote interesting points about Google+ are not exactly very strong on the platform. Which bring me to my last point and personnal trend for 2013:

    People will look for a person not a brand to talk too. Also, they will relate to people that walk the talk meaning that the so-called guru, expert, rock star that speak, write books / blogs about Social Media and never ran a successful campaign will or have a small followship on SM will be look at with a big question mark.

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  • Interesting article on Present and Future Tools of Marketing

  • Clarkfsmidt

    It’s a combination of #20:  Business & Social with A/V added.  Smart messaging and great spots & sound clips transcend all media.  Great broadcast & print / copy roots delivered fast.  “Everybody Gets It!” 

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  • debrasimpson

    Happy New Year! I love this post. I think this is the year for Google+, as well as podcasting. I’ve been podcasting for a couple of years now and am thrilled to see more small businesses following suit. I’m really enjoying your podcasts, Mike. Thanks for all you do for the small business community.

  • Vivek G Maudgalya

    Nice pointers. Thanks for sharing. 

  • Inspiring predictions, relevant to B2B as well as B2C. Together they indicate to me a maturing of ‘social’ channel for business. Alignment with business goals and benefits realisation will be big in 2013.

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  • ReganGeorge

    #20: Social Media Focuses on the Business – Praise the lord and stop worshiping the plumping. This is the best prediction I have read so far. STOP focusing on the platform/s and start focusing on ROI, leads and sales! Lets hope this comes true — however a lot of social media ‘experts’ might be out of a job!

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  • paulcolligan

    Thanks for the shoutout, Jameson.  How are you going to drive traffic and ROI this year?  

  • paulcolligan

    Have you seen this – – 181 THOUSAND gurus on Twitter alone … nope … 

  • Rodney A Smith

    I am in Sydney, Australia, working at home on some research, dealing with Social Media. It is a day of bush fires and extreme heat – last year its was floods. There’s no escaping the real world here.Looking at this research, ad reflecting comments from many clients, I am left wondering what is the balance between the endless Social Media ‘treadmill’ and the ever increasing application of technology in marketing. From 3D to AR and CGIs its all about us. Then I came across a comment in The Boston Globe that predicts that much of this will lead to the demise of services like, travel agents, real estate agents, investment brokers – almost all intermediaries. I already detect a negative disconnection between some consumers and these services. Is this sort of reliance the end game or just a stage?

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  • Excellent article!

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  • Cindy, I am current in a Social Media class in my MBA program and I’m curious how you compiled this list and picked the contributors. Great article and I’ll dig deeper into the details this weekend. Thx, Max

  • Kai Binswanger

    we think social ROI will come in part from finding and powering the superfans and advocates. ad $$ will be spent to build the fan/follower counts, then the hard work starts to find that 1-5% that really care about the brand are willing to talk – after all, the real promise of social media for brands is that other people will help tell the brand story. results from our customers show that on average, an engaged superfan will take 7.5 social actions on behalf of a brand over a 90 day period.

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  • Connie Bensen

    I totally agree that tying social efforts to business objectives is imperative. Companies can’t afford to invest without tying it to revenue.

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  • Katrikka

    I love your article. =) I’m currently doing a strategic plan for next year 2014. Digital World is really very hard to predict.

  • I was sincerely impressed by your writing skills, and ability to engage
    your readers with such powerful and inspirational post! I really enjoyed
    reading ever bit of it! Thanks

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  • Its huge for us, thank you so much for the list.

  • Alstonalston

    I think they should look forward to expand their Business further in the untapped segments of the emerging markets. The consumer preferences are changing day by day and they do online shopping more rather. In some countries security issues are there. So expanding in those markets can give them an edge and growth opportunity.

  • E Harris

    In 2013 a new social media did indeed roll out (Google Plus). Although it has been around, it certainly expanded last year. I have a feeling it’s only going to get bigger. We’ll see.

  • Well written posts which is still valid in 2016 but it would be great if the author shares the updated version of the post which will concentrate on the current trends.