3 Predictions for Where B2B Social Marketing is Heading in 2013
In 2012, we saw social media continue its immersion into the traditional marketing activities for businesses of all sizes, industries, and locations. Companies continue to adopt and adapt to the ever-growing influence social media has on the average individual’s life; while concurrently, technology improves and services are altered. Facebook and Twitter both began pushing “promoted” posts, Instagram was bought for a billion (yes, with a B) dollars, and just a few days ago made changes that could halt its meteoric rise just as quickly as it began.
Social media, and technology on the whole, changes so quickly that you should be leery of anyone offering boldfaced, guaranteed predictions. However, there are certain trends that have already taken root, and that I believe will continue to impact B2B social marketing well into the New Year.
1. LinkedIn Will See a Significant Increase In Membership and User Engagement– If you are currently active on LinkedIn, you may have noticed a few of your connections’ profiles looking a lot sleeker than the relatively bland pages you’re used to finding. This overhaul is a part of the site’s effort to grow not only in membership, but also to get users to engage more often and for more time than they did in the past. LinkedIn’s push for engagement also includes an improved mobile app, which for my money, is far superior to Facebook’s and Twitter’s (on the iPhone, at least). If your company has yet to optimize its LinkedIn brand page, or if most of your co-workers have yet to join the site, now’s the time to hop onboard.
2. B2B Marketers Will Gravitate Towards Google Plus Over Facebook– While I doubt that Facebook will become a social ghost town a la MySpace or Friendster, I do see it losing ground to Google Plus as the search conglomerate’s offering continues to grow. This year, we saw both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney use the Google Hangouts while on the campaign trail, a strong endorsement for one of the service’s most unique and useful features. Many B2B marketers already have lukewarm feelings about promoting posts on Facebook, while Google Plus boasts a huge advantage in terms of SEO, a low-cost way to get crucial reach for your business’ site and content.
3. Visual Content Will Continue Its Rise- One of the biggest takeaways from the year in social media is that a lot of people either LOVE pictures, or really dislike reading (here’s to hoping it’s just the former). Instagram and Pinterest both experienced incredible booms in both membership and usage. While many companies have begun developing infographics to harness their popularity, many others may feel left behind with a lack of usable visual content. If you are a B2B marketer who subscribes to the adage, “go where your audience is,” you will need to get creative to leverage these sites.
Will Facebook and Instagram’s recent PR issues cause a hit in membership? Was Google Plus a failed experiment? Can LinkedIn become a site where professionals truly “hang out”? What else should B2B social marketers be on the lookout for in 2013?