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5 social media predictions for 2013

The LAB Miami is flying in digital marketing expert Katya Constantine to lead a  workshop on customer acquisition and digital marketing that will address how to best use the channels to acquire and retain customers, how to optimize your costs and track and measure performance. More details on the workshop, taking place May 6, are here: http://labcustomeracquisition.eventbrite.com. Below is her guest post.

By Katya Constantine

Katya2012 brought a lot of change when it comes to social media. We saw the rise of gamification. We saw more analytical tools being launched in the social media world.  We also saw brands trying to
figure it out:  What does social media mean to them?  Should they be on Facebook?  Twitter? Pinterest? Google+?  Given the rapid revenue growth and emergence of a number of new platforms, 2013 promises to be an even more exciting year in social media.

Over the last two years, I’ve had the opportunity to be at the forefront of social media trends, as I was responsible for strategy and development of social media for one of the largest consumer brands in the world — Amazon.com, specifically for the movies product line.

Based on that, and what I've been seeing happening in social media, here are my predictions for 2013:

1. The rising use of analytics:  Social media is no longer just a brand channel for businesses. It is a fully-fledged marketing channel, just like search and email.  In 2013, brands will start to assign (if they haven’t already) business goals to this new channel.  Thus, we will see a rise in analytics tools to help businesses measure ROI on their social media spend.  We’ll see some better standardization on metrics as well as the tools that allow businesses to succeed.

2. Increased presence of consumer brands across multiple social media sites: Most brands recognize that even if they are not at the front line of a social media, they need to have a presence. In 2012, new social media channels came in to the mix such as Google+ and Pinterest.  Especially in consumer brands, we will see an increase in brands having a presence across all major social media channels. Expect to see more promotions and messages coming in from your favorite brands across multiple sites.

3. The rise of social game-based promotions: It is very common to see sweepstakes as a pathway to grow your fan base.  Expect to see more social media promotions from brands - whether it’s credits, deals, or sweepstakes -  as brands try to grow their fan base as well as customer database.  This is a great way for consumers to learn and to share their favorite brands with their friends but also one of the key ways that a brand has to build its base.

4. The rise of targeted offers:  Brands are becoming savvy in terms of using social media data to target their messages based on demographics, location, your interests… And the leading social media platforms starting with Facebook and Twitter have recently rolled out targeting mechanisms that allow proper targeting at scale.  2013 will become a year of targeted offers being delivered via social media channels.

5. Increased integration between social media and other digital channels: Expect to see brands integrate social media into all of their digital channels, whether its website, email, or search.  Social media will have deep integration whether it's for personalization or for recommendations - as well the ability to close the feedback loop with other channels. There are some tools out there that are already doing it today.  This will be a standard for how brands engage and bring awareness to their products and services in 2013.

Well, here you go.  These are our top predictions for social media for 2013.  We are yet to see what the next social media channel is that is embraced by brands (mobile messaging, anyone?), but we definitely know that social media is here to stay as an online channel for both B2B and B2C brands.

Katya Constantine is a seasoned marketer with over 10 years of online marketing experience.  Most recently, she was at Expedia and Amazon, leading projects ranging from behavior-based programs to increasing customer acquisition and conversion with great success. Katya is the founder of DigiShopGirl Media and is an active blogger for TechCocktail. Follow Katya on Twitter: @digishopgirl