Here are The Social Lights’ Predictions for the State of Social Media in 2012:
Shopping will become an increasingly social experience from start to finish. From researching products prior to purchase (comparing prices, reviewing ratings, checking availability, coupon/sale searching) to making an assessment and announcing your verdict post-purchase (leaving positive or negative feedback, tagging items on Facebook, photographing new products to share with your network…and so on). Brands themselves will be encouraging more of this follow-up activity through QR code integration on packaging, online contests, video demos/tutorials and calls for user-generated content.
Couponing and Customer Loyalty Programs will also become increasingly social. The move to digital has begun, and will only accelerate as brands see the inherent benefits in tracking and monitoring their couponing campaigns and loyalty programs in real-time. Groupon, Living Social, daily deals and flash sale sites will continue to proliferate – but brands of a certain size and digital competency level will get creative and begin executing their own deep-discount campaigns. Realizing the greater return on executing such sales and promotions in house (and not wanting tarnished reputations or devaluations of their brand), this route will become much more attractive in 2012.
New apps and programs are spurring up to aid in the delivery of these new digital campaigns, making it even easier to forgo the industry leaders and differentiate from the competition. Additionally, location-based/check-in rewards and loyalty deals will increase as other below-the-line promotions diminish.
Facebook Timeline and Google + brand pages will open up new avenues for brands to connect with consumers, and it will be interesting to see how the transition occurs. That being said, it is highly probable that the brands and companies that gain first-mover advantage in these territories will be glad they did (just as the first to set up Facebook fan pages benefitted from increased fans bases).
Here’s what the other 37 Social Media Experts had to say: Predictions for 2012.