2012 was a huge year for social communication and social media. Twitter reached it’s 500 million user mark and Facebook reached its one billion user mark, while Instagram and Pinterest grew exponentially and dozens of other new, innovative platforms were launched. LinkedIn had an addition in the form of endorsements on profile pages, and even developed a new iPad app to help them reach over 200 million users. MySpace has even set the stage for a comeback. The importance of all of this is that businesses really began to recognize the social space as a place for two-way communication. There are many trends for businesses to look out for going into 2013.

One social trend that businesses are adopting is creating a memorable customer experience. In a recent Nielsen study, one in three people admitted that they prefer social media for customer service rather than the telephone, and when customers are pleased with their service, they share it with other potential consumers. The study showed that these consumers, on average, will tell 15 people about their good customer experience. In a study conducted by Oracle, 89% of consumers reported switching to a competitor after a poor customer service experience.

That being said, customers aren’t just on Facebook and Twitter anymore. While these two mediums are prevalent, users are turning to smaller, more niche networks for a more personal experience. It’s expected that in 2013, savvy brands will, and should, understand how to interact and connect with users on platforms such as Instagram, Tumblr, Polyvore, and Reddit, to name a few. Businesses are going to need to refine their customer service social strategy in order to compete with larger, big-box brands. Social communication tools make it possible to receive high-volume, instant feedback from the desired audience. Before social media, information like this came in the form of a costly research study.

An important lesson can be learned from these social media platforms. Instagram announced this year a change it its privacy policy, which led many to believe their photos would be sold to advertisers without their permission and without compensation. Some say that Instagram ended up losing 25 percent of their daily users as a result. Other networks such as Path and Facebook have had similar run-ins with “angry virtual mobs” because of unpopular policy changes. As a result, both networks listened to their user base and amended their contentious polices, potentially saving consumer relationships that could have been lost, and creating a positive memorable experience.

The other trends that these social media platforms support are equal opportunity advertising, charitable cause participation, and targeted social advertising. Social platforms continue to expand their offerings to businesses by allowing brands to customize how, when, where, and to whom they advertise. The flexibility of these platforms allows for experimentation from companies of all sizes. As for charitable causes, humans connect with humans, and may brands are using this as a point of connection to engage with their audience, especially charity-minded Generation Y. This trend has fueled the creation of a few recently launched apps and tools that simplify the process of making charitable donations through social platforms.


Martin, Amy Jo “What’s Around the Social Media Corner for Brands in 2013” 1/24/13

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