Social Media Trends and Outlook for 2013

social_mediaSocial Media is fast becoming even more influential in shaping opinions and affecting the lives of more people around the world. This year we are witnessing the accelerating spread of broadband connection even in the remotest parts of the globe, as well as the rapid development of technology through which we can connect to the Internet. Social media has been and continues to be a disruptive and revolutionary phenomenon across the globe.

Gone are the days when the Internet was basically a one way street, with websites producing content for audiences to passively consume. The development of Web 2.0, and the rise of ocial media has further revolutionized the Internet. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and other niche sites provide a virtual space for people to communicate, interact and share content.

This year, experts foresee the increase of even greater number of people that use Social Media sites and platforms. These platforms afford people unprecedented connectivity and interactivity. Through social media, people can can connect with their offline community, as well as build online communities based on their interests, needs and goals.

Interest groups, including businesses, who want to stay relevant have fully embraced social media to expand their horizons. For businesses, Social Media gives them the opportunity to reach out to more people for the goods and services that they offer. At the same time, it also gives them real-time feedback, comments and suggestions from clients and customers. The direction that many dynamic businesses and entrepreneurs are taking now is developing a social media plan and strategy, and employing the services of experts with enough experience in online engagement, branding and marketing.

Gone are the days when businesses half-heatedly open Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn accounts to attract attention but fail to maximize this new media and realize its potential. Experts agree that such half-hearted attempts at social media engagement can potentially backfire for businesses.

As far as businesses are concerned, the direction of social media in 2013 is more relevant content, increased engagement and the development and maintenance of their online community. This means developing methods in social media whereby customers develop deep affinity and trust in the products and services that businesses offer.

This can be achieved by understanding the nature of specific social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. Twitter, for instance, is a micro-blogging platform where people can share their opinions and views, and where the more commonly shared view—or “tweeted”—quickly spreads and “trends”. Facebook, meanwhile, is a platform for sharing photos and videos, as well as “status messages”, and building virtual communities around causes, celebrities, pop cultural products, and other commonalities.

Another trend in 2013 is the increasing use of analytics to measure campaign effectiveness, product awareness and general reaction towards the goods and services offered by businesses.

With the effective and timely use of social media, businesses can expand their customer base and better position their brand to deliver content and services in demand by today’s connected consumers.