With over 46% of global internet users accessing social media sites daily and an average of 23% of online time spent on these sites, the future looks very bright for those businesses seeking to leverage social media.

Companies and brands that update their social media on a daily basis are reaping the benefits of being able to connect with more consumers instantly. The pipes for social media have been laid and new technologies are erupting daily. So what can be expected in terms of social media trends for 2012? Here are some things I see happening:

  • Social media TV. The internet and television will collide in 2012, with smart content producers blurring the lines between various media (TV, laptop, tablets and phones) and allowing the consumer to interact with social media and content in a way that suits them.
  • Social media a given. Most businesses have some kind of social networking in place but 2012 will see this facet of communication becoming standard in marketing and customer care strategies, recruitment and sales.
  • Social commerce. Interesting social commerce solutions will be developed as businesses come under pressure to enable access to their goods and services in social media. Some businesses already have their own custom Facebook pages but social commerce will turn them into genuine sales generating avenues.
  • Branded content is King. Some companies have embraced the concept of branded content, including video, audio, graphics, blogs and games in their online and social media campaigns. This trend will become more widespread in 2012, with consumers being offered more than just competitions and promotions.
  • Social search comes online. This functionality has been plagued by problems but it looks as though it may become a reality in 2012 with applications like Google+ and Twitter’s search start-up.
  • Tablets become mainstream. Previously seen as a luxury item, tablets are becoming more affordable and new ranges of cheaper tablets such as Amazon Fire are set to disrupt the print industry going forward. Digital marketers will have to focus on producing content that meshes well with tablets.
  • Facebook first. Facebook is the biggest social network in the world, with over a billion users. The company is investigating smart phones and other web applications and expects to be the default social operating system on the web. While we all need to focus on newer platforms, like Google+, we can’t ignore this social media giant.

Need advice on your social media marketing? Contact WSI.