My Nov. Business People ProSpeak column: Three social media trends to watch for in 2013

I wrote this column for the November issue of Business People magazine. What changes do you expect to see in social media changing in the coming year?

Three social media trends to watch for in 2013

While social media has proven itself to have a real, lasting on the marketing environment, user preferences continue to evolve. If you need evidence of this, think back to 2005, when MySpace was the biggest name in social media, Facebook had less than one percent of its current membership, and Pinterest was…well, nothing more than a spelling error. A lot has changed since then—and more change is certain to come.

Predicting where social media is going is difficult at best, but three trends are likely to continue to have an impact in 2013:

  • Images and video posts become even more popular. You’ve likely noticed more photos and videos in your news feeds during the past year, somewhat at the expense of text-only status updates. As it becomes easier to capture video and photos on smartphones and other devices and as our audiences continue to demonstrate a preference for such content, we’ll see this become even more prevalent.
  • Networks gather around interests as much as friends. Historically, social networks have linked us to people we already know. That’s changing as we look for opportunities to connect around shared interests and hobbies. This explains the rise in popularity of Pinterest and the boom in niche networks focused on everything from NASCAR to knitting. We’re using social media to connect with those we might want to know in addition to those we already know.
  • We’ll spend more time connecting via mobile devices. A recent study by Shareaholic reported that mobile devices account for 16 percent of all web traffic. The same trend is affecting the way we use social media. Today, we’re as likely to Tweet from a phone or an iPad as we are from a laptop or desktop.

What do these changes mean for your business? The key is to be aware of how these trends affect your specific audience—your customers, that is. Also, remember that you don’t necessarily have to know what’s going to change; you just have to be ready to adapt when it does.

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