5socialCindy King of Social Media Examiner published Social Media Predictions for 2013 on January 1st, and tapped the knowledge of social media pros. Here’s a summary of what they are predicting:

Ecommerce and Social Media grow together

Social media is a great venue for consumers because of the integrated communication features and potential ecommerce features. But even Facebook is missing the mark a bit. Twitter and LinkedIn don’t even have ecommerce options. That needs to change. Ecommerce and social media will need to grow together. I’m a big fan of any way we can use social media to build business, sell product and support our economy. Making purchasing easier and more fun is one way of doing it, and is the reason I see the mashup of ecommerce and social media as a huge growth trend in 2013.

Viveka Von Rosen, known internationally as the “LinkedIn Expert” and author of “LinkedIn Marketing: An Hour a Day”.

Visual Marketing

2013 will be the year of visual marketing. Visuals and video done right are highly effective in cutting through the noise. It’s a snackable type of content that resonates with people globally and increases engagement within communities no matter where they are located. Brands will need to understand what it takes to do visual marketing well, whether within their current communities or new networks like Pinterest, Instagram and others. This is applicable for any type of content: paid, earned and owned.

Ekaterina Walter, social innovator at Intel and author of “Think Like Zuck”.

Content Marketing is the New Social Media Marketing

As social media begins to come of age in 2013, brands will realize that with unprecedented clutter coming from both people and brands, the need for beautiful and engaging content is greater than ever. In B2B, content marketing has already taken center stage with white papers, ebooks, webinars, infographics and articles. In 2013, as Instagram, Pinterest and other multimedia social networks grow, you’ll see more and more B2C brands using social media to produce and share beautiful photos, sophisticated comics and other visual aids, and brilliant TV-level videos.

Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable and author of “Likeable Social Media” and “Likeable Business”.

SlideShare Is the fastest-growing Social Network

In 2013, the fastest-growing social network will be SlideShare, while Facebook and LinkedIn each launch their own original content creation strategies to drive further engagement and open up sponsored content opportunities.

Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, author of “Managing Content Marketing” and co-author of “Get Content, Get Customers”.

Twitter personalizes your Twitter feed

In 2013, Twitter is going to start “personalizing” your Twitter feed based on an algorithm that social media pundits might call “TweetRank,” or perhaps “TwedgeRank.” Invariably, brands will complain that they can no longer get the engagement they once got on Twitter, at which point Twitter will roll out an advertising platform that allows you to buy a better TwedgeRank for your tweets. There, now I said it.

Rich Brooks, president of flyte new media.

Google+ is a “must” place to be

Google+ will be a “must use” service. But it won’t be due to the social elements. Rather, it will be because it becomes the central hub for managing your “official” online public presence in the eyes of Google. Google will continue to roll services and products under the Google+ umbrella, forcing businesses to use it if they wish to get the advantages that Google+ offers. Already it’s the place to manage your local business presence within the Google ecosystem; and it’s central to establishing authorship of your writings around the web (Google Author Markup).

Anita Campbell, founder of Small Business Trends and author of “Visual Marketing”.

Instagram grows bigger

2013 will be a big year for Instagram. While it’s a comparatively minor platform now, research from The Social Habit shows that social media users plan to increase their use of Instagram at a rate higher than that of any other network. Also, 85% of Instagrammers use the platform at work, way above any other social media format. Its ease of use lowers the barriers to content creation and helps fuel posts on other networks.

Mark W. Schaefer, marketing faculty member at Rutgers University and author of “Return on Influence”.

Mediapreneurs focus more on building their email list

Over the past year, there has been a major trend in the mediapreneur community and it’s going to continue right into 2013. The trend is NOT overtly encouraging people to follow you on Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, etc., on your website, but instead making sure folks subscribe via email. Studies have shown time and time again that if you want an engaged audience and buyers, they are most likely going to come from your email list.

David Siteman Garland, creator of the web show and resource “The Rise To The Top” and author of “Smarter, Faster, Cheaper”.

Marketers use fewer Social Sites

Facebook and Twitter have now entered the late majority stage of the adoption curve. So has LinkedIn within the business community. But as Google+, Pinterest and other rapidly growing platforms continue to gain adoption, and increased acceptance, users will have to decide where to spend their time and energy. From the marketer’s standpoint, it’s becoming increasingly clear that it’s much more effective to have a solid presence in one or two channels than it is to try to dominate every single platform. So I’m predicting that entrepreneurs, small businesses, freelancers and consultants will have to make some tough choices this year as to where to engage their fans and followers for maximum impact.

Ed Gandia, founding partner of International Freelancers Academy, author of the “2012 Freelance Industry Report” and co-author of “The Wealthy Freelancer”.

Social Media advertising becomes a necessity

I see social advertising becoming more of a necessity, whether people like it or not. Especially for businesses trying to reach a larger audience but who are struggling to build up an engaged community.

When it comes to social media consulting, the most successful consultants in 2013 will be the ones who can not only help their clients grow an engaged audience organically, but also help them craft their paid advertising campaigns on top social networks. They will also need to provide proof of how social media marketing as a whole is benefiting their clients through advanced use of various analytics programs.

Kristi Hines, freelance writer, professional blogger and author of the blog “Kikolani”.

The number of podcasters doubles

With more than 1 billion smartphone users, and hundreds of millions more coming in 2013, the consumer demand for quality on-demand talk in the form of podcasts will grow enormously in 2013. As marketers begin to realize this new publishing opportunity, we will see a land grab as more and more podcasts are released to appease an ever-growing demand for audio content. NOW is the time to start podcasting.

Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner and author of the books “Launch” and “Writing White Papers”.

Facebook ad network will make waves

Since going public in May, Facebook has been working overtime to uncover new and better ways to monetize its enormous user base. In 2013, we will all begin to realize the full potential of “social advertising” across the web and mobile. It has been much rumored over the past several months and recently appears to be coming to fruition: the ability for advertisers to leverage Facebook user data to target ads outside of Facebook. While Facebook is currently just testing the waters, 2013 will surely see the full roll-out of an ad network for third-party websites and mobile. The launch of an ad network that relies heavily on personal data provided by users to Facebook (e.g., age, gender, Likes, etc.) is going to raise privacy concerns among consumers.

Ben Pickering, CEO of Strutta.

Social Media focuses on the business

With IPOs, intense media focus, top-selling gurus, etc., the social media “plumbing” of Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, etc., has gotten more attention than it should. As we enter into the next year with the economic realities of what’s ahead, there is no doubt in my mind that 2013 will be the year social media stops worshipping the plumbing and finally turns back to focus on that which is truly important—ROI, customers, leads and sales. The power of social media is in what it lets us do and whom it lets us connect with. The story isn’t that Facebook has 1 billion users—the story is that you now have the ability to connect with more than 1 billion people, thanks to Facebook. The story isn’t the 70 hours of video uploaded to YouTube every minute—the story is that anyone with a story to tell can broadcast it to the whole world… on Google’s dime. The difference is subtle, but it will result in ROI, customers, leads and sales, that we all need right now.

Paul Colligan, education czar for Traffic Geyser Inc. and CEO of Colligan.

Social brands shift to social business

I think we’re going to see a real shift from social brands to social businesses.

Social brands are organizations that use social media as a form of marketing and communication. Largely run out of the marketing department, social media is typically siloed within the business. 2013 will bring about an expansion in social media beyond a marketing and engagement philosophy to that of oneness. Social media strategy will start to take a more integrated approach where social media becomes an extension of important channel strategies and business functions. The business itself thus becomes social and this paves the way for a focus in 2014 around a more human culture shift and business transformation.

Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group and author of “What’s the Future of Business” and “The End of Business as Usual”. (Source: socialmediaexaminer.com)