Businesses have more options and opportunities in social media than ever before. Photo courtesy of Flickr user cogdogblog

Narrowing down a short list of expected social media trends is tough. The social media world is constantly evolving and so much of our lives are influenced by social media that we see trends or changes coming in what feels like countless ways.

Social media at The Belford Group largely focuses on helping businesses leverage social media in their overall marketing plans by:

  • designing landing pages;
  • creating profiles;
  • managing content;
  • helping build a community around the brand; and
  • writing blogs.


With that being said, we’re going to focus our predicted social media trends for 2012 on how we see social media changing for businesses.


 “Serious” industries joining the fun 

When social media first started becoming popular, it was the marketing and more “fun” industries that were first to embrace the phenomenon. After all, playing on the Internet for one’s job isn’t really work, is it?

We’re seeing that the more “serious” industries such as healthcare, law and counseling services are finding ways to jump on the social media bandwagon—and doing so successfully. We understand the initial reluctance because those industries all have serious responsibilities to not give out what could be misconstrued as life-changing advice, and they are all bound by very specific privacy laws.


Ultimately, those industries are still businesses and are almost entirely patronized by individuals instead of businesses. It’s smart for them to continue to find ways to use social media.


Mobile moving up the ladder 

People reading this using a standard ol’ laptop are rapidly becoming almost a minority (don’t worry, we didn’t just call you “old”). Mobile devices including smartphones, tablets and other devices are how many people consume their news, interact on social networks and even conduct commerce.


We don’t see this as a fluke. Instead of sites becoming optimized for browsers (making sure content looks good on IE, Firefox, Chrome, etc.), the focus will be on making sure that articles and other content are optimized for use on mobile devices.


Exploring more platforms 

Gone are the days when companies just use Facebook and Twitter because either someone told them they had to or it was the only social media platform they knew about. Businesses are beginning to see the value of many other social media platforms as well.

Choosing which social media platform works best for a business is important—after all, if a business is spending the time and resources to “talk” on social media it only makes sense to do it in a place where the client base is actually listening.


We see that with the increasing popularity of more social media platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Tumblr and now even Google+, companies are going to be more willing to test the proverbial waters, which is a good thing. It means more companies are embracing social media and are looking for their niche.


Does this mean that companies will try social media platforms that they discover just don’t work? Sure it does. That’s why we suggest having anchor platforms and then delving into other platforms that could prove useful. Just because one new social media platform doesn’t work doesn’t mean that all social media should be abandoned.

“Never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat.” ~F. Scott Fitzgerald


It’s everywhere . . . 

Social media is pretty much everywhere, and user-driven content is becoming increasingly important. This means that it won’t just be on Facebook, Twitter or any other social media platform where people will be interacting.


We haven’t seen this yet in Northwest Arkansas, but it shouldn’t be long before major brand stores offer customers the chance to provide immediate reviews that are uploaded via smartphone. People who just saw a movie and wants to offer their immediate thoughts? They just swipe this QR code, land at areview site and offer immediate input.


Does a consumer’s favorite brand offer a discount, information or something else others will find of interest? Sharing is going to become even easier and a more important aspect of social media pervading our society. It no longer matters if customers like something; it matters if they like it enough to share it with others.


Need help?

Need help sorting out which social media site best fits your business? Or need help managing social media for your business? The Belford Group is an experienced image-building marketing and website development agency, with more than a decade spent providing creative marketing and advertising solutions to fit any budget and any medium.