Well, another year has passed and it was a year that emphasized the importance of social media more than ever. Tweets, posts and uploads broke news, shared new ideas, revealed controversies, influenced votes and made us laugh. 2012 even gave us Gangnam style, the most watched YouTube video of all time. But what were the real highs and lows of the big social media platforms this year? Check out the good, the bad and the ugly for the major social media players:

The Highs

Images Rocked Content

Memes, infographics, Pinterest & Instagram gave us a year of imagery. Even Facebook, after purchasing Instagram, changed their algorithms to make photos more visible in the newsfeed. This was the year, as a business, to utilize your graphic designers and to turn marketing messages into marketing images. Whether educational and informational, like infographics, or entertaining and humorous, like memes, visuals got the most recognition this year. Will videos have their year next? We shall see.

Pinterest Blows Up

Ladies rejoiced when Pinterest went live September 2011. You could easily spend hours pinning recipes, dream destinations, wedding ideas, DIY projects and new hair-dos. 2012 was huge for Pinterest as it became the fastest growing social network of the year. Since its debut, it has evolved to appeal to larger audiences, reach new markets and recently added business accounts. It will be exciting to see where Pinterest takes us in 2013 but until then, keep sharing your recipes for low fat polo asado, homemade tricks for flawless skin and 25 ways to wear your scarves.

Timeline Debuts

Facebook profiles changed, yet again… shocking! Okay, we all knew it was destined to happen but Timeline gave us a new way to capture our lives within Facebook. The addition of milestones, cover photos, life events and an entire new layout allows users, and businesses, to document their day to day activities and highlights.  Sure there was resistance at first with every Facebook change but the new layout is clean, easier to navigate and we’re all getting used to it.

Twitter Releases Advertising

While in beta testing, big brands were able to promote specific tweets and encourage new followers by suggesting their accounts as ones to follow. Twitter has rolled out this ability to more and more Twitter users allowing even Joe Shmoe to share his/her view on the meaning of life, latest blog post or what he/she ate for breakfast with the world. Now, it will be interesting how Twitter expands their targeting and advertising options over the next year, but for now it’s been exciting running PPC (Pay-Per-Click) campaigns for various tweets and accounts.

Gangnam Style becomes most watched video EVER!

Don’t act like you haven’t seen it and if you haven’t, you’re rare as Gangnam style become the most watched video online, ever! As I write this blog, it has 917 million+ views since being uploaded in July. I get asked all the time, ‘How do I make my video go viral?’ and sure there are some tactics to use but honestly, you just never know what’s going to be the next latest craze. Look at Nyan Cat for example. That one still has me puzzled. So next time you hear this song and think how bizarre it really is, know that guy is making thousands, maybe millions, for that ‘bizarre’ video.


The Lows

Facebook Has Epic Fail with IPO

Technological failures and poor estimations may have been the reason for Facebook’s instant drop upon release of their IPO this past summer, but regardless of the cause, investors in the social giant suffered. Tens of millions of dollars of trades were placed mistakenly and the initial stock price was set at $46 but dropped down to $30 and even dropping below $20 back in September. There is still litigation surrounding the incident. Let’s just say not a lot of Facebook stock owners gave a ‘like’ to their stock updates that day.

Google+ Keeps Trying

First there was Google Buzz and that ‘buzzed out’.  Then along came Google+, which was sure to be the end of Facebook. Well, not quite. Sure a lot of us early adopters jumped on out of curiosity and then more and more joined but Google+ has come to a standstill. Sure the male-dominated network has many people actively using Google+, but the ‘next biggest thing’ in social media got overshadowed by sites like Pinterest and social royalty, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

LinkedIn Business Pages Still Struggle for Attention

LinkedIn may be another social media giant, in a more professional sense, but users spend the least amount of time on there than any of the other big players. LinkedIn recently released an upgraded version of business pages, allowing header images, enhanced product and service listings, status updates and more. Sure it sounds great, but it didn’t seem to increase followers and follower engagement a significant amount. LinkedIn is still driven by individual profiles. They have quite the task to find a way businesses can have more influence throughout the network. Even the ROI on LinkedIn ads has been a bit of a disappointment.

Big Brands Make Social Media Uh Oh’s

No company is perfect. And if you’re anything like Chick’fil’a, you’re going to stir up some controversy. Big names like McDonalds, the NRA, Microsoft and even the Olympic Committee made some mistakes this year. Business2Community came up with the top list of Social Media Fails for 2012 and the one that tops our list, mostly because it falls close to home, is the NRA tweeting a pro-gun message during the Aurora movie theater shooting.  They defended their case, saying it was a previously scheduled post but still, it didn’t reflect well on the organization. They did learn their lesson, however, as their Twitter account has been fairly silent during the recent Sandy Hook Elementary shooting.

Oh and companies weren’t the only ones with slip ups this year. Celebrities also had their fair share of social media oops. See the list here.

2012 came and went and what a year it was! We expect 2013 to be an exciting time for social media as it continues to dominate the online experience with new ways of creating, sharing, communicating and marketing continue to develop. For more information of how SmartSearch Marketing can help you with your online presence, 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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