It’s the first month of the year! So, we’ve put our thinking caps on to predict what we’ll see in 2012 in the world of social media.
1. Goodbye QR Codes, hello augmented reality apps
QR Codes have only just got into the swing of things in 2011, so I do feel a twinge of guilt about dismissing them. But while QR Codes have been quietly working away, augmented reality apps have jumped right in there with stunning graphics and moving visuals based on current logos and campaigns, including some interesting 3D designs.
Potentially, this is the best way for companies to connect their offline activities with their online actions. Just imagine opening a magazine, scanning an advert and watching their latest video on your screen, before being taken to the website.The main barrier at the moment is that the design element can be costly, which is why QR codes may still have a little more time left.
2. Google + to sink….or swim in a different direction
The trouble is, it’s difficult for any business to launch a product in an already busy market, but when you’re as big and bold as Google, everyone is watching.
Twitter and Facebook started out small, which meant they had the freedom to try new things, make mistakes and move onto a new strategy without being in the spotlight. Google doesn’t have that luxury. Every mistake they make is analysed by millions. The only way they may be able to continue in 2012 is if they find their niche and maximise on it.
3. Even more Facebook integration
With Facebook pages looking more and more like mini websites, we wouldn’t be surprised to see more pages offering online stores, special content and alternative services on their Facebook page.We’ve already seen ASOS.com launch a Facebook shop, where they often have sales specifically for Facebook fans, in order to reward their loyalty.
4. Quality, not quantity
In the last year, there’s been a definite shift from quantity to quality. Bloggers used to write post after post, but recent changes to Google’s search settings means that posts under 150 words will hold a much lower SEO score. Bloggers are now concentrating on longer, better quality posts on a less frequent basis.It’s not just blogging either.With the sheer number of Twitter and Facebook users, we’ve seen a rise in services like Klout (which measures a user’s influence). Now it’s not just about how many tweets you share, but how many of your tweets are clicked on and retweeted.
5. The rise of the micro-blog
Tumblr, Pinterest, Instagram and Posterous are all blogging platforms that are on the rise, thanks to the speedy nature of posting and sharing. More and more companies are turning to these platforms to get information out there without committing to writing long posts.They might not be quite as SEO-friendly as a full blog post, but they’re great for giving followers and fans a quick fix. While these platforms shouldn’t replace a full blog, they act as a good side service.