As we step into 2013 and look back over 2012, it’s really hard to believe how much has happened in social media over the last 12 months. Someone once said that a week is a long time in politics. In social media, a year is more like a millennium.
Over the past 12 months we’ve seen aborted efforts to take on the leading social networks. We’ve seen social media stars rise and fall in a matter of weeks and seen more of our own lives through social media than ever before. As marketers, we’ve learned a lot about social media engagement too.
Social media has become a tool that few marketers can ignore. It’s become so commonplace that most users take it for granted that every business they encounter will have a social presence. This year has been a steep learning curve for a lot of brands, but it’s vital that we take this learning with us into 2013. Let’s look at the top 10 things 2012 taught us about social media.
Facebook is Dead, Long Live Facebook
In the first half of 2012, you could have been forgiven for predicting that Facebook was on its last legs. The social networks float on the stock exchange was disastrous. Former executives were reporting its death. Even Mark Zuckerberg was admitting mistakes were made in their App designs. Despite all that, the network continues to go from strength to strength. It recently surpassed 1 billion users and shows no sign of disappearing out of our lives just yet. So, despite the fact that you’d be hard pushed to find one person who admits to loving Facebook, it’s still the main platform for social media engagement.
Social Media Engagement is Vital
Social media engagement as a marketing tool had something of a breakthrough year in 2012. Brands had been marketing through social for a while, but 2012 was the year when engagement became a vital part of the process. It’s no longer enough to broadcast messages through social. To be successful, you need to create compelling content and actively engage with your fans and followers.
Social Media is No Longer Niche
Social media isn’t just for kids anymore. It’s not just a place to sell certain products to certain people. It’s a mainstream location that plays a vital role in day-to-day life. Some people check social media before they get out of bed. Consumers rely on social media opinion to inform their purchases. Social networks started 2012 as something a lot of people use; it starts 2013 as a vital part of everyone’s life. We all encounter social media, even if you don’t use it you know people who do. Or you regularly read stories about it. Social media engagement is now a daily routine.
Niche Social Media is on the Rise
More than that, social media now have niches of their own. Places like Pinterest or Instagram aren’t for everyone. But they do meet the needs of clearly defined groups. Female consumers of luxury goods or beauty products are a great example of a group that can be easily reached through effective n ‘niche’ social media engagement on Pinterest.
Google+ is Rising in Importance
Google+ is a ghost town. At least it is when compared to rivals like Facebook and Twitter. But it will become more and more important, because it belongs to Google. As the search engine pushes closer to quality content and recommended content, Google+ will become a vital platform. They’ve already started to integrate Google+ profiles into search results and other locations like YouTube. That’s only the beginning. If you’re not using Google+ yet, now is the time to start.
Please let us know what you’ve learned about social media in the comments below and stay tuned for Part 2 tomorrow.
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