Cindy KingCindy King of asked 30 professionals for their social media predictions 2012 and I would like to present our Asian eMarketing readers the eight most interesting I found:

1. Advanced analytics are coming for the masses, says Dag Holmboe, CEO of Klurig Analytics: 

Today a lot of what we call social media analytics is actually social media metrics, which is a lot of data telling a story of the past using great data visualizations. Advanced analytics are already being performed inside large agencies, brands and social networking sites. Data analysts and scientists, many with advanced degrees in statistics and computer science, primarily do the work. In 2012, we will see social media analytics companies releasing simplified SaaS (software as a service) tools for smaller agencies and brands to perform similar, less complex analytical functions. The tools will tell a story of not only what happened, but also of why it happened, and to model and predict the future.

2. Regularly creating unique content becomes essential, says Lewis Howes, co-author of LinkedWorking: Generating Success on the World’s Largest Professional Networking Website and founder of  Sports Executives Association and events.

For a company or brand to be successful marketing with social media in 2012, two main things will need to happen.

  • Create unique content. So many brands and individuals are creating amazing content that you will need to do something not only amazing but unique, so that you gain the attention you’re looking for.
  • Be consistent. You can’t just create this unique content a few times; you need to create a schedule for yourself to come out with unique content on a consistent basis.

If you fail to do both of these, someone else will gain your customers’ attention.

3. YouTube rises to top of mind, says Phyllis Khare, co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies, author of Social Media Marketing eLearning Kit for Dummies and social media director for iPhone Life. Most people might think that G+ will get the most attention in the Google suite of services, but I think YouTube will be top of mind. Why? With the latest redesign, YouTube is cleaning up its Wild West image and coming into alignment to be a grown-up social environment. If your business is not there yet, make haste and set up your channel and start reaping the benefits of the second-largest search engine on the Internet.

4. Marketers adopt smarter social media tools, says Stephanie Sammons, founder and CEO of Wired Advisor. In 2012, social media tools are going to get a lot smarter. These tools are going help us make sense of our social media connections and streams. They will help us maximize our visibility and influence while minimizing our time commitment. Bufferapp is a terrific example of this. Here is a tool that can provide some intelligence as to when your followers and fans are most likely going to be paying attention to your updates. As you direct content from across the web into Buffer, the app will distribute it for you during those optimal time periods. In a sense, it’s an intelligent and personal social media distribution tool! Forget having to “schedule” tweets and updates. Who has the time? I strongly believe that the people who commit to learning the new and most effective social intelligence tools as they are introduced will create a significant competitive advantage. These tools will make you more productive and grow your online influence while the competition is still floundering around trying to figure out how to be consistently visible and valuable to their target markets! Find and focus on the tools that can make you more productive and competitive in 2012!

5. Convergence of social and mobile (but maybe not what you’re thinking), says Ben Pickering, CEO of Strutta. Whether you look at it as social media going mobile or mobile apps getting social, you can bet that 2012 will see a lot more social activity on mobile devices. However, while experimental marketers will continue to push the envelope with innovative mobile-social campaigns, I’m not predicting that the next year will see Foursquare conquer mainstream America or mass adoption of QR codes. Rather, what you will see is that a significant amount of the online activity that consumers previously conducted through a computer and traditional web browser will now be done through a smartphone or tablet. Some of this activity will migrate from browser to native applications, but much will be done through a mobile browser. This means that before worrying about the new-new thing, companies need to think about how existing core marketing initiatives carry through to the mobile web. It needs to be just as easy for someone on a mobile device to not only access content but also to act on that content in a social manner—i.e., “Like” it, share it, etc. In 2012, smart marketers will be thinking first about optimizing current assets for mobile and then about unique attributes of the mobile experience, such as geolocation, that they can tie into their overall marketing strategy.

6. Businesses fall in love with email marketing again, says Marc Pitman, author and speaker dedicated to making it ridiculously easy for people to get nonprofit fundraising training. The quick adoption of Google+ both by users and as an infrastructure change for Google highlights a problem with social media marketing: fragmentation. It’s important to interact with customers where they are, so wisely using the increasing number of tools is good. But I predict in 2012, savvy marketers will fall back in love with email. Email response rates tend to be greater than most other social media tools. And email is fairly “low-tech,” allowing businesspeople to reach more of their customer base. So I think there’ll be a new wave of blog posts and tools helping people grow their email lists.

7. Traditional marketing interweaves social media, says Tom Martin, founder of Converse Digital. 2012 will be the year of the boomerang. Marketers of all stripes will return to classical marketing thinking. They won’t abandon social media, mobile and the like, but they will demand that those efforts be intelligently interwoven with their existing offline/traditional marketing efforts. This integration requirement will lead to growth of social media delivered by marketing-oriented firms at the expense of the independent social media guru with little to no actual marketing experience.

8. The blue-collar blogging revolution heats up, says Marcus Sheridan, small business owner, thought leader, popular social media speaker and founder of The Sales Lion. There is a forgotten group—in fact, I’d say it’s a forgotten majority—when it comes to this movement that is social media. And who is this majority? It’s the thousands upon thousands of blue-collar businesses spread across the globe that up to this point have been slow to embrace social media, but are now joining the ranks of other industries in an effort to change the way things in marketing have always been done. As someone who has owned a swimming pool company for about 10 years now and also works with many blue-collar businesses in this field of social media, I’ve noticed a very interesting trend in the final months of 2011. Each and every day, more and more mechanics, carpenters, plumbers, landscapers, etc., come to understand the need to embrace this new age of marketing. They’re seeing the trends of the way people shop, think and make decisions. Finally, instead of refusing to tackle their online deficiencies, they’re instead confronting the problem head-on. More than ever, these businesses are blogging, producing educational videos and leveraging all types of social media. The idea that social media and blogging for business will only shine upon white-collar and tech industries will soon be a thing of the past. Do the blue-collars have a long way to go? Yes, that’s certainly true, but without question, eyes are finally opening and the revolution is just around the corner. This is what I can’t wait to see unfold as 2012 progresses.

By Anjum Siddiqi