Bringing out the local-social:
Next year should see the expansion of the emerging social media targeting local level businesses and media outlets, bringing them into the web and a broader audience. The impact of this is beginning to be felt in the US as OwnLocal builds strong alliances with local newspapers and small town businesses, bringing them into the fold of social media and online enterprise.
Global goes social:
Social networks are growing at the highest rates in countries such as China, Indonesia and the Philippines – countries where brands may well be out of reach in terms of a physical presence within their borders, but which can be accessed in full through the web and a social networking experience. This media engagement is the first step in establishing an aspirational connection with target audiences, and the strongest medium for this is at the social level.
Large scale experiments have been undertaken by industry leaders such as Coca Cola and Domino’s Pizza, integrating product advertising and a social presence. In 2010 Coke ran a theme park with social media integration, allowing users to easily check in at attractions and post what they were doing to their facebook account. Bigger and better events are likely to be used in drawing a big publicity focus throughout 2012.
A shared experience:
E-commerce industries are venturing out into the world of social media integration, allowing reviews and purchases to be made public by users within their own networks. Booking a holiday or reviewing a laptop can now be shared as a status and gain the site a higher profile online. Early growth in this area shows no sign of stopping, with Amazon joining the field giving users the chance to share and link in their latest bargains.
These are a few of the trends which will help to define the social media year, as current formats evolve and new methods emerge 2012 brings an array of exciting and dynamic approaches to social media.