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8 social media trends for 2012

By Gini Dietrich,

What you should pay attention to – starting now

It's a good time to discuss trends for next year. Here's a look at what I think should be on your radar.

1. Reporting to all stakeholders. At the PRSA conference this year, Dan Tisch, President of the Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communication Management (representing the PR associations of 70 countries), noted that some organizations are using social media to report to all stakeholders. They are not just doing investor relations, but reporting results to employees, customers, prospects, influencers, and more. This is going to become a trend, especially as accounting principles are looking to include brand awareness as part of the balance sheet.

2. Social TV convergence. I'm not a television watcher, but there's something interesting happening with apps, such as Get Glue. You can "check in" to a TV program and then have conversations with people around the world who are watching the same thing. It allows you to review the shows, talk about what's happening, and listen to what others are saying. It works for movies and music, too. Plus, if the rumors are true and Steve Jobs's last project was iTV, this will become huge next year.

3. Integration of all disciplines. Integration is going to be crucial in 2012. Today we talk about mobile, social, marketing, public relations, advertising, direct mail, email, customer service, and sales as if they're working in silos. But 2012 is the year it all needs to integrate. Customer service can't do its job without talking to sales. Sales needs the help of public relations. And mobile can't live without marketing. You'll see these disciplines all work together, as if they're in a circle, and not in silos.

4. Results. If you aren't measuring your results in true dollars and cents, you may work yourself out of a job in 2012. It's going to take learning some marketing, product management, and basic accounting (integration, integration, integration) to do this effectively.

5. Email marketing. Something like 107 trillion emails were sent in 2010. Email is not going to disappear any time soon, yet most of us (as marketers) have forgotten about it. It's not the new, shiny penny and it's kind of old and stodgy. But it's still really effective. Everyone uses email. Not everyone uses social networks yet.

6. Social commerce. The other day I was in the Apple store and checked in on Foursquare. It asked me if I wanted to pay using the Apple app. Um, yes! Especially because it was a Sunday and there were a gazillion people there. So I downloaded the Apple app, scanned the mouse bar code, it gave me a subtotal, and I hit OK. It took the amount right out of my iTunes account, emailed me a receipt, and I was on my way. Starbucks does this using your phone and its at-register scanner. You'll see more of this next year.

7. New social networks. I know, I know. We need another social network like we need a hole in the head. But there are some cool platforms, such as Pinterest, that are gaining traction. In fact, yesterday I was scrolling through my Facebook stream and I saw Samuel Gordon Jewelers is having its first Pinterest contest: "Pin To Win." It's still too early to see any results, but rest assured I'm watching what it (and others) are doing with this and other new social networks.

8. Print to tablet swap. During the holiday weekend, I was scrolling through the app store on my iPad and I found Catalogue. It stores all of your catalogs in a handy app so you can scroll through any of them at any time. It also recommends catalogs you should be reading, based on your preferences. My mom and I debated its merits. She likes the tactile feel of turning the pages. I think this app is super green and I love that I have them all in one spot. You'll see a big swap of print moving to the tablet in 2012.

Gini Dietrich is founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, Inc.





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