2012 flew by and looking back, it was a killer year for social media as new platforms were introduced, social media advertising gained strength and online users shared more content and interacted with social platforms more than any previous year. Social is taking over our world and is a must for companies looking to stay competitive. So what do we expect to happen in 2013? Well, nothing but great things for online engagement.

Here are 6 big trends we plan to see in 2013:

1.     Bigger focus on content generation

We always stress that content is ‘king’ and it is but even more so as we go into the New Year. Many companies have jumped on the content creation band-wagon and so to stay competitive, your business needs to generate quality, interesting content that not only captivates but also is produced at a high frequency. It’s also important to diversify. Create images, infographics, blogs, eBooks, video how-tos, hold contests, webinars and exclusive promotions, then integrate these into your pay-per-click campaigns.

2.     Better ROI tracking

As a social media marketer, proving ROI has always been difficult. Analytics are available through hundreds, even thousands, of different providers but how do you track whether someone who likes you on Facebook, bought your product. This is much easier for an online retailer but services and off-line businesses struggle to see the value. This year will bring great strides in social tracking, lead conversion and data collection by developers. And, a big relief for social marketers everywhere.

3.     SEO & Social intertwine

This year, we’ve seen Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn profiles show up in search results and rely heavily on social bookmarking and directory submissions to enhance social SEO, but this year social will be a must for your SEO strategy. While Google has tried to block out Facebook and Twitter from search results in order to promote Google+, they will have to give up that drive in order to provide quality search results as Google+ loses steam power. We’ll see stronger search results around the content being shared socially, so once you’ve created your blog, video or graphic, share it anywhere and everywhere!

4.     Social advertising takes over

This year, Twitter released promoted tweets and sponsored accounts out of beta testing and LinkedIn also expanded their advertising capabilities for its users. Facebook really put a big focus on their advertising with sponsored stories and promoted posts. This is an indication that social platforms are pushed to drive extra revenue from their advertising. This year, Google+ could introduce PPC (Pay-Per-Click) options as well as major players like Instagram and Pinterest. It’s unfortunate from the user standpoint, but as a marketer or business, it’s a great opportunity to target leads on the sites that they are using most.

5.     Video content regains strength

2012 was the year of images, such as infographics and memes. As mentioned earlier, content will reign this year, but diversifying your content is what will help companies to stand out. 2013 will lead businesses to step outside the box and venture into more video development in order to reach new audiences and at the same time, enhance SEO. This doesn’t mean businesses should throw their commercials up on YouTube and call it good but instead utilize video to education, share, interact and crowdsource. Don’t get me wrong. Images and textual content, such as blogs, will still be strong this year but videos will regain strength as part of company’s online marketing strategy that is if they’re smart.

6.     Company’s increase budget for social media

‘Oh, you don’t have Facebook?’ is a rare statement these days. Social media sites are where your customers are. Businesses who aren’t active on social media sites are so 2006. In order to see effectiveness in social media, it takes time and in turn, means more money. As we see the value in a quality social media presence grow, so does the budget. This is also the year we’ll see a lot more small businesses hop on. But in order to stay ahead of the curve, go beyond Facebook and Twitter. Evaluate adding in Pinterest, LinkedIn, YouTube, Instagram, social bookmarking, blogging, oh and even Google+, if you must, to your social strategy.

Well, here we go, another exciting year of innovation, imagination and inspiration for online marketing. For more assistance with your social presence, search engine optimization or marketing, contact SmartSearch Marketing at (866) 644-3134 or CLICK HERE.

About the Author

Patricia Hursh

Patricia Hursh is the president and founder of SmartSearch Marketing. Today she leads the Client Services division of the agency. She specializes developing digital strategies and full-funnel marketing solutions for B2B companies. Patricia leads multi-functional teams to ensure bottom-line business results for SmartSearch Marketing’s clients.

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