Social media is on the rise. With giants like Gatorade, Dell and even the Red Cross maintaining dedicated command centers for social media monitoring and analysis, social media’s importance in 2013 is only going to go up. Here are 5 expected social media trends for 2013.

1) Social media and the mobile world.

Recently, a Facebook report stated that “[We] anticipate that the rate of growth in mobile usage will exceed the growth in usage through personal computers for the foreseeable future.” According to a study by Nielsen, in 2012, 47% of social network users globally accessed the social media websites through mobile devices. In addition, the study found that consumers used 20% of their total time online using social media on their personal computers and 30% of their total time online visiting social networks on their mobile phones.

In 2013, expect to see mobile usage of social media platforms grow even more.

2) Social media and advertising.

Social media has opened a whole new world for advertising. It has led to a much more integrated form of advertising. With promoted posts/tweets and sponsored ads, advertising has become a part of every day social media usage. Advertising has also become more personalized for the consumer. Data tracking has led to specialized ads for each individual based on web searches and website perusal. This allows advertising to truly target each potential customer.

In 2013, expect to see advertising increase on social media and become even more integrated.

3) Social media and visuals.

Social media newcomers like Pinterest and Instagram made a huge splash in the social media market in 2012. Both Pinterest and Instagram focus heavily on visuals. People responded very positively to the image heavy format which has led to copycats.

In 2013, expect to see visuals play a bigger part in social media.

4) Social media and privacy.

In 2012, privacy has become an issue associated with social media. With constantly changing privacy policies, it’s important for people to keep up. Facebook and Instagram have both changed their privacy policies to give the companies more control over users’ content. While users were outraged and protested, neither company has truly backpedaled on the policies— nor have they lost a significant amount of users over the policy changes.

Disposable content began to come to prominence towards the end of 2012 with applications like Snapchat and Facebook poke, but even then, there have been breaches in privacy that have yet to be addressed.

In 2013, expect to see privacy for users disappear more.

5) Social media and schools.

Universities have begun to get more and more involved in social media. Harvard, for example, has over 2.2 million Facebook likes and almost 200,000 Twitter followers—and that’s not even counting their multitude of other Twitter accounts like @HarvardLibrary, @HarvardCrimson, and @HarvardAlumni. Other universities are just as involved in social media and those that aren’t, are quickly learning that social media is crucial when it comes to staying in touch with students and alumni as well as recruiting.
That’s not all though. Universities offering classes about social media are also a growing trend. With social media becoming an important part of the business world, schools like Harvard Business School and Columbia Business School are offering social media marketing classes. It’s not just limited to business school students either—undergraduate programs at major universities like Syracuse, NYU and the University of Washington are offering extensive coursework based on social media and networking. In fact, our own Angela Belford teaches an internet marketing class right here at the University of Arkansas.

In 2013, expect to see more universities involved in social media. As well, more and more universities will begin to offer classes about social media.

As a full service marketing agency, The Belford Group creates branding, websites, marketing, social media and search engine optimization solutions to assist our clients in finding and reaching their ideal audience.

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