What’s the next big thing in 2013?
There isn’t one. But, here are five trends I predict will be important in 2013 for social media innovators.
1. Retrenchment. It’s a tough environment for a new Instagram or Pinterest to break-out. Instead, I think individuals and organizations will focus on gaining a return on investment from the time and money they’ve invested already. After a period of exploration and experimentation, it’s back to the basics.
Silver Lining: There’s always room for a new casual game.
2. Engagement. Building on #1, it is a time for deeper engagement on fewer platforms. For an individual this looks like: more intentional social networking and more time on their favorite platforms. For those building a business online, a lot more people will implement loyalty programs and other forms of gamification.
Opportunity: There’s a stable set of mature well-established social media platforms. With focus, you can quickly develop expertise in less frequently used, but still powerful, features of them.
3. Small Screens. It’s pretty obvious: the PC era is turning into a mobile device era. It’s less obvious how business should react. My advice: think twice, and then think twice again, before creating an mobile app. Instead, relentless test, retest, and optimize the heck out of your existing web content for access via small screens.
Challenge: If you’ve already developed a mobile application, it will be painful to drop.
4. Micro-community. Whereas the large horizontal social networks are entering a period of mature consolidation, there’s plenty of room for niche interest-based and geography-based services. Content marketing is as powerful as ever and if you can create a online community around your brand, that’s pure marketing gold. No one has figured out a scalable business model for hyper-local news, but that shouldn’t stop you from creating a hyper-local network around your brand, products, or location.
Challenge: picking the right size target and having the patience to foster slow organic growth.
5. Problem Solving. Build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door. Maintaining a consistent robust presence on multiple social media platforms is tedious. Address that challenge, and the you’ve got a viable offering.
Tip: if you aren’t using if-this-than-that (IFTTT.com), check it out. It’s the Swiss Army Knife of mousetraps.
Do you agree with these 5 trends? What do you see in your social meda future?
Image credit: Cat and Peking Duck special by Steven-L-Johnson on Flickr