Where is Social Media Heading?

While most people may be holding off on sharing their predictions for how social media will change, develop and shape our lives in 2013, Matt Goddard of r2integrated is jumping the gun to get his predictions across now. We’ve got a few months left in 2012, and we’ll be moving into the Christmas season which is vital for many retailers. Just like we expect to hear Christmas carols in high street shops once the Halloween decorations have cleared, we also expect to see early Christmas promotions arriving on our Facebook timelines.

Goddard put together 5 predictions of key social media trends for the next six months, his reasoning:

“We’re entering the most critical six months in the history of the social web.  What I see coming has opportunities – and pitfalls – that must be addressed now, for the general good of brands, consumers and the social web as a whole.” via PRWeb

Here’s the key take-away from his predictions for small businesses…

1. The social web pyramid is about to get flipped on its head, and it will be the most agile and genuine brands who fare the best following this revolution. We’re going to have to stop seeing brands as the top of the pyramid, passing cute pictures of cats down to the consumers and calling it interaction. Communities are emerging within social media that marketers will have to work harder to interact with.

2. Display advertising will be a thing of the past as more businesses move budgets to social media. Marketing will no longer be about marketing your product to the consumer, you’ll have to market alongside them. For small businesses this will place the emphasis on the people within your organisation, as they’ll be the ones interacting with your customers.

3. You’ll have to embrace what you can’t control and learn to handle the consequences. As the “unowned web” takes shape and replaces traditional websites, conversations that take place about your brand will suddenly become paramount to your success. Learn to foster good relationships with your customers and you’ll come out on top.

4. Tech and communication will become vital for social media marketing – it will no longer be a “5 minutes spent tweeting in the morning” job. Hiring web developers and those with natural communication skills isn’t in everyones budget – but as a small business, you can embrace the freelance workforce and build good relationships with the best in tech now.

5. The 2 things you’ll need to start asking yourself are: how do I make this cost effective, and how do I adhere to the fast-changing ethical rules of engagement? Again, smaller companies have the advantage of agility, but lack the budget. Small business owners will have to use this to their advantage over the next 6 months.