Social Media Strategy

4 Nearly Guaranteed 2012 Social Media Predictions

The team at Awareness (who offer social media management software I like a lot), recently published a terrific, free ebook of 2012 social media predictions.

It includes prognostications from 34 social media practitioners, including some of my favorite social media writers such as:

…and 20+ other folks I’m hoping to get to know.

My 2012 Social Media Predictions

Grab the ebook for some holiday reading, but here are my top 4 (nearly guaranteed to be true!) 2012 bets:

1. Multi-media Soars

We’ve been nibbling around it for a while, but 2012 will be the year of the multi-media social network.

Photo and video-based social interaction weeds out the banal, as the process of taking/uploading multi-media forces you to self-edit. That delay of just a few seconds allows the question “Does anyone REALLY care about this?” time to be considered. Consequently, there is more meat on Instagram and Viddy and Tout than there is bun, and that enables the whole point of social networking – making and perpetuating connections and seeing the world through someone else’s eyes – to flower.

I don’t expect these services to dethrone Facebook, as many people simply are not comfortable with multi-media. But already you’re seeing power users reduce their Facebook (and Twitter) musings in favor of multi-media, where a picture (or video) speaks louder than 140 characters. Given that the camera on your smartphone is almost as good as your actual camera, the multi-media driven social networks are here to stay and will be an emerging force for brands in 2012, too. An explosion in short-form multimedia, as companies start to truly embrace

2. Reading Tea Leaves

Big data is going to usher in an even more important corollary industry – big interpretation. Our problem in social media isn’t lack of data; it’s lack of understanding how to make that data actionable. Most big data projects and companies are only answering half the question, at best.

3. The Year of Mobile – Seriously

As much as we predict that every year is the ‘year of mobile,’ it seems like we’re finally getting somewhere, We’ll see a concerted effort by companies to make their content mobile-friendly, and I’m bullish on what near field communication (NFC) can provide in the realm of instant information retrieval and mobile commerce.

4. Staffing and Resources

The big question for companies that have not yet fully created social media centers of excellence, etc. (and most haven’t)? Resources. Who in the company is supposed to be handling this stuff? How many people do you need? How are they trained? Where do they come from? 2012 is the year of social media labor questions.


Which of these is most likely to be NOT true?

Facebook Comments


  1. doloresglass says

    @SocialMediaHS wow on faceobok they are sending out sponsored ipad 2’s for christmas! take a look fbchristmas .com

  2. JenLovisa says

    Staffing – right on. We need better staffing in European social media departments. We need to follow American examples and delegate the right task to the right person. One person cant handle social media alone for a medium size company.

  3. MarkHammond says

    This sounds like an excellent read. Certainly at Magicbuz we believe in video as the most effective medium

  4. markwschaefer says

    You know it’s interesting Jay … I completely agree with you on the resource issue but there is an enigma in the marketplace. Many people who I consider to be legitimate talents are not having an easy time finding jobs. Intutively, these people should be swept up and salaries should be rising but I don’t see it happening with the exception of maybe New York. Seems to be some strength based on anecdotal evidence.

    • says

      @markwschaefer I’m seeing the same thing. Anecdotally, I believe it’s because employers aren’t really sure what they are hiring for in many case, and some of these positions are first-time fills, so there’s a lot of indecision and second-guessing.

  5. Gary_Lee says

    Jay: Completely agree with the “Big Interpretation” issue. Traditional listening platforms are not enough. If the web is a mountain range, then a listening platform alone can leave you with a mountain of data each day to climb. I think providing solutions to this is a huge growth area for solution providers. We’re tackling it at @mblast and I think we’ll continue to see some very creative solutions 2012+ to help people better understand what’s being said, by whom, and with what impact.

  6. tillypick says

    I like the lens you put on the ebook via your post + your contribution to the ebook re: the explosion of short-form multi-media (though I’m not sure it’ll be that easy to overcome the quality hurdle since “how” a company presents itself often is just as important as what it says about itself.) Two other points that stood out for me as new were the downsides inherent to people “unfollowing” and “unliking” a company and the practicality of crowd sourcing and funding of ideas. What surprised me about the ebook overall is that it ended up being a mere regurgitation and organization of quotes. The authors “liked” and “shared” content rather than created something new. If the Achilles’ heel of social media is the misperception that everyone’s simply “liking” and/or “sharing” someone else’s content, they just proved that point.

  7. frankcdale says


    I think you are absolutely right with Mobile. At Compendium our clients’ traffic from mobile devices is up from 3% a year ago to 10% of all traffic and rising. About 50% of mobile traffic is from a Google search. Interestingly, traffic from mobile devices is more likely to be a repeat visitor than from the web. We are pushing our clients to make their content mobile friendly and I expect the industry as a whole to place more emphasis on mobile content. Enjoy the holidays!


    • says

      @frankcdale Interesting that 50% of mobile traffic comes from Google search. That’s fascinating to me. As I tweeted a few weeks ago, if you are sending Black Friday sale emails that aren’t mobile-formatted, you need a new email provider. Same is true with pretty much all content these days.

  8. says

    Totally agree with all of the above. Specifically I am interested to see how people start growing more through multimedia because just like every year is the year for mobile, it’s the year for multimedia as well. Video is a win when done right and everyone knows it. I think it will get more popular but for those who are still uncomfortable, how are they going to adapt?

  9. says

    I’m interested in #4 – how will companies staff up and organize their social media team(s). How do large firms with pockets of active social media enthusiasts share best practices so other groups in the firm can benefit.

    • says

      @Dick_Foster Indeed Dick. I think we’ll see a lot more adoption of internal social media for knowledge transfer within the company. Was going to make that #5. Probably should have added it.

  10. says

    Totally agree with all of the above. Specifically I am interested to see how people start growing more through multimedia because just like every year is the year for mobile, it’s the year for multimedia as well.

    • says

      @Razvi True, but with things like Instagram poised to get very popular, I think 2012 could be an even bigger springboard for multi-media.

  11. garious1 says

    Intriguing predictions you’ve got here… and I think anything is possible for 2012. I’m excited to know who will be the first to come up with an application that can measure your social media roi + influence accurately. But who knows? Anyone can come up with a mind-reading app anytime soon. It’s been quite a while since I’ve read your post, and I love the ideas I’m reading each time I go back. Happy Holidays!

    • says

      @garious1 I don’t think you’ll see a social media ROI application, because you can’t really measure social ROI at the overall level, only programatically. E-commerce companies have any easier time of it because they can track through purchase.

      • garious1 says

        @JayBaer I’m with you, totally. There are many things that are beyond measurement – besides, someone said it’s like asking the ROI of your phone. Social media is all about relationships in the end.

  12. rebsbails says

    It’s definitely going to be a great Social Media year! I think next year we are also going to see a bigger switch from Social Media as a purely PR/Marketing channel to an insight and customer service channel which will make social media staffing more vital. In the future we’ll see Social Media departments taking over other areas of the business! Can’t wait!

  13. jamsmith4 says

    Hi Latest news about online business with Dealership Loyalty Program. Thanks for sharing great post for Dealer’s Choice USA endeavour by offering pre paid maintenance programs to assure customer’s assets in the form of Service contracts. I like it

  14. says

    I’d agree with all of the above & will add one more: we’ll start to see vast improvements in social media campaigns from companies of all shapes & sizes.

    Things have already improved over the last year or so (as people realize social isn’t just another sales channel), but it seems that companies are understanding more each day that social media has far too much “other” value than to demand that the ROI of every aspect be measured in a straight line. The result is likely less pushing and more relationship.

    Side note, better quality campaigns = more competition for those already “doing it right”. Marketing is getting harder. :)

    Great post Jay!


  15. says

    I totally agree that data collection and interpretation will be a game changer for social media. I remember when you had to manually add Google Analytics code to your website headers. Now you can just simple insert your ID (in many places), and easily collect data on your website traffic. Other services such as Klout, Peer Index and Kred give you even more insight in regards to social media effectiveness (especially in regards to Twitter). Now that social media is easily somewhat “quantifiable”, it will be interesting to see how this influences social media overall.

  16. says

    Hi there,

    Social media really plays an important role in many aspects.Social media helps business people to promote their business.It also helps many people at different places to combine each other.

  17. zbiejczuk says

    Hi Jay, let me add a few thoughts. In my opinion, in 2012 we will see:

    1) the rise of specialized networks in USA (Pinterest might be an example with its rapid growth, I’m also interested in Quora) – and Facebook will start to slow down (not losing many users, but the share of the time they spent online will shrink)

    2) the continued growth of Facebook in “3rd world” – and new companies and individuals who will try to get their portion of the market from other countries than USA (I plan to do that – based in Czech republic I see many great ideas / concepts / applications that can be easily adopted to other markets – including the USA or UK – you just need to localize them). Social media specialists (the best of them) here are as qualified as USA people and the gap in terms of skills / knowing the news is almost nonexistent (Czech companies include SocialBakers, GoodData and recent star of G+ statistics – ZoomSphere) and they’re competitive in prices.

    3) in a few years the question “where is ROI of using social media” will became as foolish as “where is ROI of using internet” or “where is ROI of using computers” – the first companies to understand this will get an advantage against their rivals. Social media “gurus” will be still needed, but people able to understand the value of using social media internally will be the most important ones.

    Thanks for your thoughts and great links!

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