Last year was a year of digital milestones: from babies being named “hashtag” to a day of 20 million tweets during the presidential election. From Tumblr memes to cyberbullying prevention, social media continued to play a critical role in keeping people informed and connected about what they care about most.
Here are five key digital media trends that will have a major impact on organizations and customers in 2013:
1. Privacy becomes a kitchen table topic. Ongoing changes to privacy settings are nothing new thanks to Facebook, but not until 2012 has the overall topic of privacy raised so many questions and for parents, major concerns about personal information and access. From the ambiguity of Facebook’s latest voter-friendly privacy settings to the emergence of Snapchat, a time-coded photo-sharing app popular among teens has shed light on a pain point for millions of users (and their families); the difficulty in navigating social networks that are constantly changing their settings to allow private information to become public. Tip: Discuss privacy openly and often.
2. Photo wars have begun. Twitter used to play well with Instagram. Then the popular photo-sharing app was acquired by Facebook and everything changed. Instagram recently decided to no longer support Twitter cards; making it impossible for Instagram photos to be viewed on Twitter. Users are peeved and searching for alternatives when they should be enjoying what used to be an easy, streamlined customer experience. Make way for a flurry of photo-editing app alternatives for customers currently feeling peeved and confused. Tip: Pay attention to user-experience changes on the social media channels you employ for business and adapt accordingly.
3. Mobile earns its place atop compatibility mandate. Where content was king in 2012, mobile-friendly content will reign in 2013. This includes tablet-friendly content. Earlier this year, eMarketer revealed the majority of tablet-owners most frequently used their devices at home and recently highlighted the increase in simultaneous device use while watching TV. Tip: Organizations looking to capture the ever-divided attention of would-be partners or customers who increasingly rely on mobile-friendly platforms will need to leverage the right CMS or risk getting left behind.
4. Big data ambiguity will continue. Never have we had so much access to so much data. But do we know what to do with it? It will behoove organizations to free data from IT departments to either PR or marketing departments and employ “data scientists,” familiar with best-in-class measurement tools and methodology to report the right data. Organizations that understand not all data can be captured—but most can with accuracy—will spend less time following every breadcrumb and spending more time making pragmatic, real-time decisions to drive better engagement. Top: Invest in the right measurement model, starting with the team you put in charge.
5. Social media training gets funded. Your CMO just revealed sensitive insider information on Facebook. Now what? A recent Stanford University study reveals, “59 percent of companies use social media to interact with customers,” and “63 percent [of employees] utilize [social networks] for business purposes.” Whether it’s leveraging personal LinkedIn profiles for lead-generation or Twitter for customer service, a social media policy will mitigate avoidable and costly mistakes to ensure anyone who uses digital channels on behalf of a business does so without putting it at risk. Tip: Address your social media policy (or lack thereof) now so you can hit the ground running in the New Year.
Jessica Payne is director of digital strategy at PAN Communications.