As the year comes to an end, it’s time to take a look back at 2012. I found my 2011 recap and “what to expect in 2012″ as far as social media is concerned. I’ve copied my “predictions” for the year – let’s see how I did….
2011 Prediction #1 - Social media monitoring: If 2011 was the year for engaging with customers, 2012 will be the year for pulling in all of that social media data for a myriad of reasons. In the last few months we’ve seen an uprising of companies, big and small, starting to realize that publishing content and engaging is very important, but that there is a wealth of information to be gleaned from these online conversations. Social media monitoring is the place to be.
Did it happen? This one surprised me, as the answer is “not quite.” While we’ve seen an increase in the last few months of companies realizing the power of social media monitoring, I don’t think we’ve seen social media monitoring happening at as quick a pace as I thought this time last year. I still have hope for an increase in 2013, as it is such a valuable tool for businesses!
2011 Prediction #2 - Goodbye to Facebook advertising, as least the way we know it now: the jury is still out on this, but I’ll be watching what happens with Facebook, especially if the rumors of a major IPO come to fruition. This may change the way Facebook advertising works, as there are inklings that stricter privacy issues will emerge and advertisers will not be able to access some previously allowed data.
Did it happen? Yep. Facebook went public in early 2012 and there have been many changes to advertising and visibility on Facebook. The timeline change caused a drop in visibility of posts, much to the frustration of companies all over the world. Facebook’s “solution” of promoted posts, in which you can pay to have your status update visible to more people, did not go over so well. However, advertising on Facebook has remained fairly the same as it was in 2011, with the exception of ads showing up in user’s newsfeeds, which again was not well received. It’s a useful tool and less expensive than other online advertising, though some reports suggest that users are becoming blind to ads running on the site.
2011 Prediction #3 - Google Plus will falter: I just can’t see this one going anywhere; call me cynical, but I see Google Plus going the way of Buzz and video chat. They are trying to compete with the big guys, and really should just stick with being a powerhouse search engine. That’s what they’re good at, and that’s what works for them. I foresee it dying a slow death in 2012.
Did it happen? Not so much. While it hasn’t faltered and died a slow death, it’s not the “be all end all” people were suggesting it might be, and it certainly hasn’t replaced or outshined Facebook. They do make adjustments and roll out new features to stay competitive, but a year later Google+ is still a bit quieter than people thought it would be. This year should be telling for Google+.
Here are some other sites we wanted to watch in 2012. How did they do?
Tumblr: while this social networking site has been around for some time, it seems to be picking up buzz in the social media world. This site allows you to share everything you publish online, and share links to other sites and information you like online. It’s a cross between a website, social networking site, and social bookmarking site. I’ve seen an increase in companies using Tumblr, and wonder if this will take off in 2012.
Did it happen? Ha ha ha ha!! Not at all! If there is one lesson I learned this year, it’s that Tumblr seems to be a blog/social networking site for sad teenage girls for the most part. Having a 15 year old at home, I asked her what she knew about Tumblr. She showed me her site and talked about how addicting it can be to ‘reblog’ pictures. She said it was similar to an online diary where everything is anonymous. While it’s interesting that teens view Tumblr as a place to express their true thoughts and feelings through pictures and quotes, they are missing the boat on the anonymous part. Most use their real names and real pictures as their profile picture, and they all follow each other. That makes me want to bang my head on the wall!
It is interesting that, when I questioned my daughter and her friends, they reported that they are getting “tired” of Facebook and prefer Tumblr over it. They shared that it’s not as “fun” as it used to be and it’s too difficult to keep up with who you want to block from certain statuses, comments, pictures, and the like.
They insist that Pinterest is “completely different” from Tumblr, which I only partially agree with. I have dubbed Tumblr as the Pinterest for teenage girls for 2013. The only business benefit I have seen on this site is that sometimes, when girls aren’t sad about something or other, they are posting images of items they’d like from their favorite retailers. However, those posts are far and few between.
Pinterest: this is a newer social networking site that we will be watching over the next several months. It is defined as “an online pinboard. Organize and share the things you love.” At first glance, it reminds me of a Digg or even maybe StumbleUpon.
Did it happen? Oh yes! Pinterest has taken the (female) social media world by storm, and companies have been trying to find out the best way to use this site to market their business. Most recently, Pinterest answered the call of business by launching business pages. While the demographics is still women between the ages of 24-35, it has been a big win in 2012. It ain’t going anywhere folks!
What will 2013 bring to the table?
It’s so hard to know what 2013 will bring, though I will throw out my predictions and we’ll see what happens:
1. Mobile will be the underdog: mobile marketing has taken off this year, and I expect it to be the focus in 2013. Companies are trying to learn how to best market to people on their mobile devices and research has indicated that it is also emerging as a way to survey customers while they’re in your store or restaurant or have recently made a purchase, as well as a focus group of sorts. Watch for many mobile updates this year.
2. Increase in social media data collection and monitoring: I know I made this prediction last year, but I’m hoping for better success in 2013. While some companies are realizing the data that is available, it’s not been a big factor this year. Interestingly enough, it seems that companies are missing the boat on this; using social media monitoring techniques isn’t only good for companies to monitor their online reputation, but they can also improve customer service levels and gain market research data.
3. RIP QR Codes: Sadly, as much as I think they are a great tool, I see the end of the road for QR codes. When I was first introduced to the concept a couple years back, I really thought they would take off like gangbusters. Instead, it’s been a slow trickle of growth. While 2012 brought quite a bit more use of QR codes, I don’t think there is a general buy in of the concept. I expect that we won’t be talking about them much, if at all, by this time next year.
I want to wish you all a happy, healthy, and successful New Year! May 2013 be good to all of you! Thank you so much for reading the blog this year; I hope for your continued readership, and I promise to continue to provide helpful information, trends, and thoughts on social media!