For companies and organisations already reeling from a year in which Australian consumers embraced the social web in massive numbers and with greater levels of intensity, 2012 promises more of the same but with some potential break-out trends.
So how should marketers approach 2012?
What should the leadership teams of large organisations be looking for in terms of building and protecting their corporate reputation in a hyper-connected world?
Below is a snapshot from a detailed paper I've written about how I think 2012 will roll out in terms of PR, communications and the social web.
- BETTER USE (AND INTEGRATION) OF SOCIAL MEDIA – Brands that have experimented with the social web will go back to basics and start thinking more strategically how to leverage new media technologies for their business, including better integrating with other marketing and corporate communications.
- ADOPTION OF QUICKER RESPONSE TIMES – As more and more Australians become heavier and more frequent users of social media, so too their expectation brands will respond in a timely manner will grow. Thus companies will need to factor in quicker response times in line with today’s ‘real-time’ marketplace.
- LEADERS WILL ADOPT PRINCIPLES OF SOCIAL BUSINESS – Forward-thinking organisations that put ‘social’ at the heart of their enterprise will become the new leaders in an era where everyone is connected and two-way collaborative communication trumps ‘top down’ broadcast of polished messages.
- INCREASED EMPHASIS ON CONTENT MARKETING – The notion of brands becoming media companies in their own right will hit home locally; expect more use of the term ‘content marketing’ not to mention a growing trend for companies tapping journalists, PR people and bloggers to create content on their behalf.
- THE RISE AND RISE OF THE POWER BLOGGER – Blogging in Australia will continue its impressive growth but the big shift will be in the rise of the power blogger – the ‘multi-dimensional storytellers’ who will continue to increase their sphere of influence on and offline as the popularity of their ‘personal brand’ grows.
- CONTINUED DEBATE AROUND ROI – The debate over social media ROI will continue to be a hot topic but more reasoned voices will come to the fore as decision-makers better understand and appreciate what can and cannot be achieved in today’s new media world.
- GROWTH IN CONTENT CURATION – Not everyone is a content creator; with so much information flying around the web, the public will increasingly rely on filters (people, tools or apps) to edit and package information for their consumption e.g. Flipboard, Zite, Storify etc. Expect to also see a rise in influence of people who develop a reputation for content curation.
- THE RISE IN STATUS OF THE COMMUNITY MANAGER – Once the domain of a digitally savvy but inexperienced ‘junior burger’, organisations will start paying more respect to social media by appointing more knowledgeable and senior people in the public-facing role of community manager; expect this person to take on increased importance as their connection with the community deepens.
- COMBATING FACEBOOK’S CLUTTER – Facebook will continue its dominance; brands will need to become more creative and look to provide unique user experiences if they are to stand out from the crowd.
- TWITTER’S GROWING INFLUENCE – Twitter will continue to break into the mainstream consciousness as even the laggards start to wonder what all the fuss is about and join up.
- TRACKING THE RISING STARS – Keep an eye out for Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Flipboard, Tout. How could your brand leverage these platforms?
- WHERE TO FOR SOCIAL INFLUENCE MEASUREMENT & SCORING SYSTEMS? – One of the more controversial talking points among marketing and PR folk this year has been the use (and validity) of online reputation and social influence measurement systems e.g. Klout, Kred, PeerIndex et al. Expect more of the same in 2012!
What do you think 2012 holds in store for Australian PR professionals and the brands they represent?