It’s the time of year for making predictions on the trends in PR, marketing and social media, so I wanted to throw my two cents in to the discussion. Here’s what I think will happen in the next twelve months, and why.
- Skepticism about the commercial value of social media marketing will grow. Social media marketing will go the way of public relations in 2013, with an increasing number of marketeers asking what the return on investment is for social media. I predict the social media marketing ‘industry’ will spend much of the year attempting to adequately answer the question.
- Unfollow me. Businesses will understand the value of small focused groups on Twitter, rather than simply on follower acquisition for the sake of it – Ryan Bingham style!
- Brands will actively start discouraging ‘likes’ on Facebook. A like is just a like. I like expensive Italian sports cars but, realistically, I’m not going to buy one – at least not next year. Brands will start asking their social media experts to focus activity on smaller groups that are actually in the market for the product or services they sell.
- Facebook will add a ‘buy’ button. In an attempt to demonstrate its value to brands Facebook will add a ‘buy’ button allowing businesses to link posts to products.
- People will stop liking Facebook. Users, investors, advertisers, brands… Facebook users will start to dwindle in 2013 and they’ll spend less and less time on the network.
- Video will be huge. An increasing number of companies will start using video as their primary communications channel. I’ve long said that Google Hangouts are the next ‘killer’ social application, but video in every form is going to be the go-to channel in 2013.
- Social Media Marketing will be about marketing, not social media. As more companies realize that social media without the marketing foundation is folly, so more companies will spend dollars on the strategy and less on the social implementation.
- Many social media ‘experts’ will get found out. I predict many a social media guru will fall in 2013 as its discovered that they don’t know what they’re talking about.
- Public Relations will still fail to demonstrate value. The majority of firms will still spend many billable hours trying to figure out how they justify their monthly fees.
- A la carte PR and marketing will become increasingly popular. More businesses will move to hourly billing models based on results rather than paying expensive monthly PR retainers.
- Content marketing will continue to grow. And, continue to be done badly by the majority. Millions of marketing dollars will be spent on content that does more damage to a business than it does to help close a deal.
- Brand Journalism will continue to grow. But 2013 won’t be its year. Continued failures of social media promotion may make brand journalism the big ‘thing’ in 2014 though.
- Self-serving social networks will be exposed. Groups of people who use various platforms to falsely inflate each others influence will be shown for what they are. Businesses will value relevance rather than simply influence, per se.
I’ll be writing more about these topics in the coming weeks. I’d love to hear your predictions and what you think to mine. What do you think the biggest public relations, marketing or social media trend will be?