5 social media trends to look for before the world ends (or January 1st 2013)


They may have completely misjudged things. That’s certainly a possibility, and a prospect we all prefer to the doom-ridden prediction those Mayans so famously made. Realistically life on Earth will most likely still be here come next January, but there is of course no real way to see our own fate.
So whether the world ends or not is anyone’s guess, and either way we can do little other than carry on regardless. That certainly seems to be the mantra in social media land, as the burgeoning method of communication continues to develop at an often overwhelmingly rapid rate. And it’s not just new networks, but new niche platforms catering for specific tastes.
In the last few months alone we’ve seen the creation of some relatively high profile communities, as those that read our blog on Likeonomics will already know. Pinterest was the catalyst for our investigation- a network that acts as a notice board on which to ‘pin’ interesting photos, videos, and articles. But at the same time we also explored Polyvore, a fashion-focused social site that encourages people to create glossy magazine style spreads, and the Jotly app, which allows you to literally rate everything.
Really this just scratched the surface though. We could have also referenced the Manchester United social network, which launched late in 2011, and has a target market numbering some 500million worldwide fans, with a potential global audience of over 600million according to research by TNS. With those kind of figures the all encompassing, generalist Facebook’s 800million or so members seems less impressive. Meanwhile, over on the other side of our fair hometown, Man City allocated some of its players avatars for use in an online, community-specific competition.
So web based networking continues to grow on all fronts. But what of best practices? We frequently post advice and information on our blog regarding the choice modus operandi for particular platforms, however it’s impossible for such suggestions to remain up to date for long. With futureproofing on the mind then we thought it might be useful to reveal five key social media trends we are convinced will emerge before the world ends, and if that doesn’t happen January 1st, 2013. Without further ado then, here they are.

Consolidation
More and more social networks are being created. Some will be doomed to failure, others will succeed- the point is that businesses will be less willing to dive in anywhere, and focus on what’s most appropriate for their customer base. Social media dashboards will also adapt to offer control of a wider range of channels in one place to help with the problem of over-stretching.
Strategy and content
With more expectations on marketers, and fewer minutes in which to meet them, effective strategising of social media use must become the norm. Great content will also remain important, with increasing need for it to be used in context, so time starved managers may look to outsource.
Consumption and storage
Apps and networks like Pinterest, Flipboard, and Evernote will become integral to how we use the internet. In 2011 things came dangerously close to content overload, meaning we need better ways to remember what’s been found.
The rise of YouTube
The world’s second most popular search engine is a social network too, and owners Google are keen to build that side. YouTube has improved its Google+ integration, and the focus now is on premium channels, meanwhile everyone points to video in general as the future of online progress. As such it looks like the web behemoth is likely to succeed.
Mobile marketing
Facebook mobile will begin to run adverts on the handsets of British users in March, Skype’s equivalent will soon follow suit, then there are those internet enabled sunglasses from Google. Most people now carry a screen in their pockets, so it’s only a matter of time until we see real marketing spend in this niche area.