7 Here-to-Stay Social Trends for Brands

For a community manager like me, it seemed like just about every day was Christmas in 2012. There were so many great social media moments! I sat down with the 360 Social team just before the holiday break and we came up with a short list of platforms, tools and trends that will have impact for brands long into 2013 – and we bet well beyond.

1)   The Year of the Pin

Pinterest exploded in 2012 with 26.7 million unique visitors – up from 3.3 million just a year ago. We love it for brands for visual story-telling, and its proven ability to drive traffic to brand web sites and Facebook pages. Look for more Pinterest brand parties in 2013 – but be prepared to work harder to promote branded events on Pinterest in order to stand out and draw a crowd. (If you’re a foodie, crafter or just looking for ways to save, be sure to follow the Ball Canning Pinterest page 360PR created!)

2)   Even More Visual Sharing with Instagram

Perhaps most noteworthy about Instagram is not the platform’s more than 100 million registered users, but the 8 million active daily users. These are passionate sharers – and influencers with a following. One of the best ways for brands to leverage the platform is to use Instagram to generate coverage of brand events. During NYC’s Fashion Night Out, 360PR client Alberto VO5 glammed-up top style bloggers and documented the makeovers using Instagram.

3) #Hashtags

“Content is king” may go down in web history as the most over-used phrase ever. Brands have heeded the content call but, thanks to hashtags, there’s order where there might otherwise be just content chaos. Adding a simple hashtag to your brand news helps organize the conversation so more fans and newcomers alike can follow along, like #NoKidHungry.

4)   Mobilizing Content – and Consumers

By 2015, more U.S. Internet users will access the Internet through mobile than a PC. Brands need to take the queue and budget to make new web pages, content updates and promotions mobile-friendly in both small screen format and tone.

5)   Responsive Web Design

Responsive web design eliminates the need for two web sites – in essence it automatically ‘mobilizes’ your content. For brands, it offers the simplest way to reach consumers across multiple devices. For users, it ensures a great experience on every screen. Check out Starbucks.com on both your desktop and tablet or mobile device for a prime example.

6)   Localizing the Brand Conversation

Foursquare may be struggling, but that’s no reason to ignore location-based services. Geo-targeting works across a variety of networks and any piece of social content can be geo-located. Platforms like Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr and Facebook enable geo-locating services for their users. Every time a consumer checks-in to a business or an event, the brand is automatically shared across the social web, creating a virtual word-of-mouth endorsement. By monitoring the conversation, brands can add fuel to the fire, integrating pieces of localized content for consumers in specific cities and regions.

7)   A+ Analytics

Of course none of the above matters if a brand can’t measure the impact. Analytics tools are better on some platforms than others – Facebook as compared to Pinterest, for example. Facebook Insights provides both page and post-level data, making it possible to find out precisely when and why consumers engaged with your brand page.

In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing more trends and tools you can take advantage of as part of your 2013 conversations with consumers. If you have a question or comment, feel free to leave it here, or email me at ccarpenter@360PR.com. Happy (social) New Year!