Yes, it’s that time of the year again!
When you either look back or look forward, or do a bit of both.
This piece is a looking forward piece, an attempt to crystal gaze into the year ahead, and see where Social Media’s going in 2013.
There are multiple aspects of Social Media. We can look at the consumer behaviour on social media, or impact of social media on politics, or whatever. However, coming from a Social Media agency, and focused on brands and social media, I will restrict this piece to Social Media trends for 2013, in the context of brands.
Here are my top 5 thoughts on this subject:
1. Social Media Agencies will continue to be Super-Busy:
If we thought 2012 was a high growth year, 2013 will be much bigger. Brands, which have stayed away from social media so far, will finally plunge in. Those who have been present on social media will continue to invest more, create multiple campaigns, build more applications, buy more media, etc.
The work to do will increase multi fold And while many new social media agencies will spring up, there will still be enough and more work to do. In short, Social Media agencies will be busy, and those who can continue to scale, will keep scaling higher peaks!
2. Facebook will nudge away market share from Google, on advertising money spent:
Yes, we have heard of the (now old) story of GM backing out of Facebook, for it’s advertising. But an IPO has happened since, the Facebook stock has taken it’s beating, Analysts have cribbed about Facebook’s inability to monetize the mobile user.
All of these are from the past. Since then, Facebook has reacted. And how. There are some amazing paid media plans that Facebook now offers, including for the mobile user base. And with the billion plus user base and an extremely fast growing number in India as well, Facebook remains irresistible to brands.
The coming year will see increased digital money spends going to Facebook. And the increased spends will come partly at the cost of non-digital media spends, and partly also at the cost of other digital media spends, including Google!
3. Blunders -> Paranoia -> Increased Spends on ORM:
This is a vicious circle of sorts. The compelling need to be present on Social Media will see some brands taking risks of having cheap resources managing their social media fronts.
On account of that, or on account of a certain enthusiasm to plunge into social media, especially from some top management types, we will see our share of blunders from brands. There have already been a few this year, and next year’s count will be higher.
The blunders will unfortunately be expensive. These will result in widespread deriding of the brand, on social media channels, as well as mainstream channels. The resultant publicity will generate a sense of paranoia amongst the rest of the brands, who will finally wake up to the need and the call of Online Reputation Management.
4. Deteriorating traditional customer service will lead to increased requirement of Social CRM:
Yes, we’ve all experienced this. Frustration at the call centres or the email based customer service offered by brands.
After our patience has been tested long enough, we take the battle to Twitter-ground, and lo and behold, the brand responds in double quick time, and the problem is solved! Call centre service, unfortunately, is unlikely to improve in a hurry.
Brands are still reactive and not proactive. So they are setting up extensive Social CRM set ups, either in-house or agency-supported, to deal with the increased complaints on social media spaces.
But few are recognizing that the cause for going to the public spaces of social media is only because the traditional means of customer service suck, and brands are not fixing those!
5. Businesses will get a little more social – budgets will come, not just from marketing departments:
We have heard the grand visions of Social as a Business, or converting the whole organization to be social, since social media is not just about marketing. While these statements sound nice and earn claps at conferences, on the ground, this is still far from reality.
Companies are NOT getting too social across the board, just yet. Marketing teams are barely “getting” social media, so the spread beyond that, is marginal. But the needle will move a little more.
In previous points 3 and 4, I have already talked about ORM and CRM aspects, where budgets will come typically from Corporate Communications and Customer Service departments respectively. But few more departments may test the waters in 2013. Social Media and HR is primed to see some genuine movements from companies.
Whether it comes in terms of Employer Branding initiatives, or getting an internal social network set up the start will be made. And if IPOs return finally, then the investor relations department will not be able to afford to stay away from social media.
So these are my thoughts on where I see social media going in 2013, from the point of view of brands and companies.
But I am equally keen to hear your views. What do you see happening to brands and social media, in 2013??
Featured Image: Free Digital Photos