Social Media Trends for 2012

Now is the time when the media folks start making their predictions for 2012 so I’d better get on board.  Based on the trends I’ve seen in 2011, the conversations I’m having with clients and the widening gap between what we need and what we have, here are my thoughts on what will be trending in social media in 2012.

Content Curation

This was a trend for 2011 and I don’t see it going away. As social spaces become more crowded and filled with noise (and those pesky Klout seekers,) content curators will become a more important part of the stream. Curators that take the time to review the content before passing it on will become a valuable resource for peer reviewed articles. Taking cues from these curators, brands will become part of the de facto news media as they curate and stream relevant content to their followers.

Social Media Analytics

I’m amazed that we still don’t have a good way to track and analyze the data available to us in social media. As social media budgets increase and more time is devoted to these spaces, demand for analyzing all that data will become more pronounced. The problem is we’re still relying on APIs that are flawed and even (as Twitter admits) purposely throttled. Manual tracking is still the most accurate. While tools like Crowdbooster and Hubspot are promising, it is still very difficult to analyze the data and the trends well enough to structure spending decisions around it. I predict we’ll make progress toward a solution in 2012.

Tech Marketing

Many businesses struggle with where to house the social media team. Many land in the marketing department, which can cut them off from access to the technology they need to do their jobs effectively, not to mention run the risk of becoming too “marketing” in their messaging. As social media becomes more integrated into business I believe we’ll see an integration of marketing and IT. In my corporate position I’m housed with IT, which I believe is crucial. I have access to designers, SEO analysts, programmers and WordPress developers, so if I need a Facebook tab, help with optimizing a blog or the latest keyword research, I can just turn around and ask. Many social media professionals are housed in marketing departments, siloed away from IT functions. Some are dealing with an IT department housed offsite or even overseas. Time differences and lack of access to data make it difficult for these professionals to work quickly and effectively so I think we’ll start to see a convergence of IT and marketing as we increase our social technology.

Decentralized Social Media

Rather than siloed in one department (marketing or IT) I envision social media becoming part of many roles in business. For example, expect to see more customer service departments using Twitter with accounts like @name_brandname monitoring the brand with keyword analysis and intervening when needed. These folks will report to a social media strategist overseeing a team of tweeters. This is a move toward what I call the social transformation of business. Although I’m sure I didn’t coin the term, it describes a paradigm shift in the way businesses will organize in the next several years. As consumers demand less traditional marketing, more access to immediate feedback and better service, businesses will answer the call by incorporating social principals into their practices.

These are my predictions. What did I miss?

About Sue Reynolds
Sue Reynolds is the founder and owner of Carmine Media, a web and social media consultancy. She is the manager of social media and web design at R+L Carriers, where she works with businesses and non profits to build their web presence and nurture brand loyalty.

5 Responses to Social Media Trends for 2012

  1. Henri Molin says:

    Thanks for the great insights Sue. Must say you highlighted almost everything. As you said, analyzing and integration of marketing and IT will be major issues next year.

    I’d like to point out the realtime marketing too. There’s no need to launch campaigns that take months, since it kills the attraction on social media. As there is pushed loads of content on social media it becomes more important to plan short-term and even more effective marketing that’s based on realtime.

    • Sue Reynolds says:

      Henri – thanks for the insights, and you make a good point about realtime. Large corporations often struggle with being nimble in social spaces although realtime interaction is crucial. Corporate social media strategists must have the freedom they need to participate in conversations in real time to be effective.

  2. Hi Sue,

    Great article! As an IT person – programmer turned Business Analyst – I have sat with the Business side for more than one company and can certainly see the need for close collaboration between IT and Marketing. Social Media Analytics are indeed in their relative infancy and the trend seems clear that 2012 will be a year of much innovation in the field. It will certainly move too quickly for there to be any lengthy project life cycle. My interest is in how to get the best use of existing data and locating areas where deeper analytics are needed. I believe that the missing piece is the analyst who comes between the data that is being produced and the developer who will write the programs to turn raw data into competitive advantage.


    • Sue Reynolds says:

      Good point. Although my title is official Social Media Analyst, I’m really more of a community manager and strategist rather than a data analyst. I do agree that there is a need for that type of data analysis, although relying on Twitter’s API to develop tools still produces flawed data, which is a challenge for all programmers. Thanks for your comments! Sue

  3. Pingback: Future Forecast: Social-Media, Email Marketing Trends For 2012 | The Ibis Network

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