As the end of the year draws near, it’s time to start looking at social media trends for 2012. Businesses should get ready for seismic shifts on the digital landscape.
Competition will intensify as the rules of marketing are further altered by social media, mobile web and all in real-time. For businesses that don’t start embracing social media, 2012 may mark the beginning of their declining growth and profit.
According to Nielsen’s “The Social Media Report,” social media use is commonplace, with over 4 to 5 Internet users engaging in social activity across a wide variety of platforms. Social networks and blogs are the top online destinations, accounting for 23% of time Americans spend online. Pew Internet and American Life Project’s August 2011 report states that nearly two-thirds (65%) of all adult Internet users now use social networks. The skyrocketing growth of social media has broad implications–beyond consumer behavior.
While some businesses are evolving or even transforming how they buy and sell products, many are fast becoming social businesses. In a Fast Company article by Drew Neisser, “Move Over Social Media; Here Comes Social Business” he explains the reasons why every company should be thinking about becoming a social business. According to Neisser, IBM is moving themselves and their clients “well beyond social media into a new era of collaboration, insight sharing and lead generation it calls social business”.
One of the hottest business social trends in 2011, leveraged by both large and small size businesses, has been social commerce. Social Commerce is essentially word-of-mouth applied to e-commerce. According to Brian Solis, “Social Commerce is rising quickly, but this isn’t a story about technology, it’s a story about how and why people make decisions.” Take a look at this amazing Infographic Social Commerce Timeline created by Useful Social Media that depicts the evolution of this new process. Social Commerce is redefining the way brands and consumers interact.
One of the best examples of Social Commerce is the mobile YP.com app which lets you share deals with family and friends via Facebook, Twitter, email and SMS. According to David Williams, vice-president of product management at AT&T Interactive, “Gas is just one of many everyday essentials where a few simple factors: location, price and brand, brought together in a thoughtful design can help direct users toward smarter choices and quicker decisions.”
The process for migrating from social media to social business will vary depending on the nature, size and strategy of your business. But you should be aware of some of these emerging social trends and tools as you consider how to capitalize on opportunities and achieve your business goals.