1. Content Marketing Becomes The New Social Media Marketing
In 2013 brands will realize that social media is being oversaturated with information coming from both people and brands, and even more oversaturated with so-called social media gurus, ninjas and masters. Marketers and advertisers have always relied on great content to deliver results - and now that brand marketers finally understand social media, we'll see a returned focus on content. This requires brands to create more (visually) engaging content than ever before. 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. Content becomes King once again, now with social media as the most powerful distribution channels ever.
2. Facebook Loses the Key Under 25 Demographic
Clearly, with over one billion users, Facebook is the power player in the competitive social network business, and its ecosystem of developers, marketers and brands will still be the most important in the industry for at least a couple of years. But increased evidence shows less time spent on the platform from young people, whose parents and grandparents in many cases are on Facebook. My 9 year old daughter's friends are on Instagram and Google Plus, and many young expressive teenagers spend more time on Tumblr than Facebook. Snapchat has exploded in use amongst young people, and when Facebook copied it with its Poke app, it actually failed. The under 25 crowd brought Facebook to life, and in 2013, unless something changes, that same crowd will begin Facebook's slow death.
3. Google Figures Out Social Media, One Way or the Other
Google has spent massive resources on Google Plus, and estimates and its adoption and engagement still vary tremendously. In 2013, it's time for Google Plus to either emerge as a true competitor to Facebook and Twitter, or to continue its stagnation - leading to perhaps the biggest surprise of all: Google must excel at social media, and if Google Plus fails, they will have no choice but to do so by acquisition. I predict that Google will buy Pinterest, or even a very expensive, Twitter in an effort to drive social following Google+'s failure. Such an acquisition would benefit both users and brands, who would no longer fear Facebook's "make-up-the-rules-as-they-go" mentality, given a truly viable alternative.
These are my predictions for 2013 - but now I'd love to hear yours! Go ahead and share - next January, if you're right, I'll share a free prize proportional to the surprise level of your prediction!