5 Social media trends that will lead 2012.

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Oh no, not another 2012 social media trends prediction post. This is different because I have time travelled back from the future to warn you about what is going to happen this year. Hopefully, telling you this won’t change the future and causing ‘ the butterfly effect’ to happen. It was scary enough to see Ashton Kutcher “almost” giving a guy a….. you know what!

So what’s big this year? Almost the same as last year, actually. However we’ll see a few areas which will be more concentrated than others.

1. Mobile/tablets

I’m putting my eggs into this. I predict that we will be seeing huge growth in mobile until 2015. People will access contents such as news and videos on mobile devices more frequently than ever. Heck, I’ve been constantly seeing 10 year-old children having their own iPhones these days. When mobile devices are already having such a huge presence in one’s life at such an early age, there really is a big potential for future growth, especially if your customers are growing old together with the industry.

QR code will gain more awareness and will be used more frequently… Problem is, people still don’t know what a QR code is. AR will increase slowwwly….

Mobile social network like Path might have grow bigger too. Its growing on me and I see myself using it more frequently now.

Developers, hear me. This is how you monetize. MOBILE. Make it easy for people like me … uh… I mean us, who don’t know a thing or two about coding. Help us!

2. Apps

What’s the deadliest combination? Mobile + Apps. Philip DeFranco, an American video blogger recently launched his mobile app for the iPhone and Android OS. Now more than 50% of his fan watches his Philip DeFranco Show on mobile devices.

It might be crazy but I could imagine companies no longer posting ‘follow us on Twitter or Like us on Facebook’ messages and instead say ‘download our official app’.

If they do that, they have to make it beneficial for people to use it too. “Why” should people “do” what you say?

I also see 3rd party applications like buffer, sprout social, and others that help to enhance the whole ‘experience’ of connectivity using mobile devices to grow stronger this year.

3. Facebook

Like it, hate it, say what you want about Facebook but it will continue to grow strong. Facebook might also reach the big B by reaching 1 BILLION users. YES! 1 BILLION users out of almost 7 billion people in this planet. Impressive? Well if your company controls 1/7 of an industry it certainly is impressive, but 1/7 of the whole population of the world? That’s simply mind-blowing.

They could also launch several key features such as the ability to send private messages through a Facebook fan page. Mobile ads and timeline ads might come soon as well. The big question is will the ads ruin the experience? Maybe yes and maybe no, but will it help marketers and businesses alike? That’s a definite YES.

We’ll also see more businesses focusing on Facebook this year. Why? It’s where the people are. It’s highly possible that your customers are on Facebook.

4. Social commerce aka social shopping 

Social shopping will grow bigger this year. Friends love sharing great bargains and great experiences online. I constantly see friends sharing on their Facebook walls about their great shopping experience before. It did get me to “click” and check out where they got it from.

As followers, likes, friends, Facebook subscribers, and circled friends grow, all this will play a role in decision making. Imagine, in the years B.F (before Facebook), you have a couple friends following you to the mall to help you shop for clothes. You get their opinions and help. Now imagine bringing your friends on Facebook to help you decide. Creepy? Smart? It’s what people are doing. Social commerce is happening.

5. Photos 

I can’t get enough of it, I’m addicted to photos network such as instagram because it gives me a sense of getting to know someone and having to see how their life looks like.

We’ll definitely see photographic social networks like Instagram, Pinterest and possibly Fancy growing even bigger.


Superbowl ads

I don’t watch THE Super Bowl because I’m from Malaysia, but I do watch the ads on Youtube. Last year I noticed ads failing miserably to cross promote or build long term engagement or interactions with their audiences. It did build great brand awareness, but I noticed that most of the ads never connect or try to continue the engagements on their social media pages. People are watching the game and “tweeting”. Let’s see how it goes this year.

Those are my predictions, but that’s not the end of it. To keep you guys updated, we’ll review it again in the middle of the year and by the end of the year. It’s your turn now, what do you think the trend in 2012 will look like. Share your comments in the comment box below. Love to hear your thoughts!

  • http://DempseyMarketing.com/journal/ RobertDempsey

    So I gotta ask you more about the apps trend. I’ve watched DeFranco on YouTube and think he’s hilarious, fun, and spot on about more than a few things. I could understand downloading his app if I had an iPhone actually connected to the Internet here in Thailand. Until then it’s just on my Mac. However…

    For most businesses how do you think this can work for them? I see only rare instances outside of coupons, deals and the like where businesses entertain around their content. Do you think it would be a content play, perhaps adding in game elements somehow, or something else?

  • jasonlittle

    With respect to #2, apps are certainty going to be more popular, I’d disagree they’ll displace following a company on twitter and facebook. I know I wouldn’t be downloading apps for all the companies/brands/products I want to stay informed about. I’d likely download a few of the ones I follow more closely but I’d rather have the ability to follow a company and sift through information quickly using tweetdeck or the next generation of social stalking tools. I imagine the ability to ‘follow a company’ without having to follow them on the multitude of social channels they post to.

  • AskAaronLee

    @RobertDempsey Hi Robert,

    Looks like I’m not the only one watching Philip DeFranco lol! He’s funny and good.

    For businesses, it depends on the industry. I’ll try to give you a few ideas and maybe elaborate it further in the future.

    Industries that sells “tickets” uses iphone app to allow consumers to purchase tickets mobile, and customers can “use” the ticket without printing it out. Eg: Airlines, Cinema’s.I’ve used apps to book movies tickets and don’t have to que up at all. I can just walk in and just flash my mobile and they will scan it.

    Franchises like Fast food and Banks could use it as coupons, deals (like you mentioned), store locations, payment. social contents, online banking transfer etc.

    Talking about game elements , definitely, I’ve seen companies spicing it up by allowing people to play games. Top scorers will win gifts and coupons. It was quite good.

    Possibility are endless in my opinion. Then again i’m an iphone app addict. LoL!

  • AskAaronLee

    @jasonlittle That is true, it won’t replace it entirely. The reason I say that is because it will “create curiosity” for first movers who does that. Consumers are used to seeing “follow us, like us” but not many are used to seeing “download our app and [benefits]. its like what Seth Godin mentioned in one of his Ted videos about the “otaku factor” aka being different/remarkable and one of his examples of in the milk section where it had “milk, milk, milk, milk, milk, not milk (soy)” and it increased their sales or the purple cow. I don’t download a lot of company apps but I do have a couple in my phone. Most of them has benefits to me as a consumer and it was a few was “first mover advantage” where those companies had a huge ass one page print about the iphone app. So i downloaded it and its been there ever since.

  • jasonlittle

    @AskAaronLee@jasonlittle I like your point about creating curiosity with consumers. Especially when companies have some benefit to the consumer. I find many of the company apps out right now are “me too” apps with no benefit other than “hey, we have an app too”. What’s the best company app you’ve seen so far?

  • http://DempseyMarketing.com/journal/ RobertDempsey

    @AskAaronLee those make a lot of sense Aaron thanks. I was too stuck in my “services-focused” thinking there.

  • Tribe2point0

    @AskAaronLee Great list :) You mentioned 2 of my favorites Pinterest and Instagram. I think social TV will also be huge in 2012 ~ more integration with Twitter to tweet while you watch with special promotions, behind the scenes content in real time as you are watching, more tv check-ins, and listening apps will be a big part as everyone is watching with their smartphone and iPad. Happy 2012!

  • http://sproutsocial.com/ Brittany at Sprout Social

    Thanks for mentioning Sprout Social, Aaron! I definitely agree that social media management apps will continue to grow. I also see photo sites becoming even more popular!

  • http://www.sproutsocial.com/ TessaAuza

    Agreeing with @Brittany at Sprout Social . Pinterest and Instagram are blowing up with some very creative ideas for small businesses too!

  • mqtodd

    Thanks @AskAaronLee and afgree with your 5 but I also think sharing will continue to double in 2012 as we all become better and better curators

  • AskAaronLee

    @Tribe2point0 Hello!! Glad you saw the good news!Social tv will definitely grow, however don’t think it will be as quick as other trends due to some factors like its currently more popular in the US while other trends are happening worldwide. I could be wrong though. I can imagine people doing everything on the tv though. Happy 2012 😀

  • AskAaronLee

    @Brittany at Sprout Social My pleasure Brittany, glad to see you here again. Looking forward to see SS grow this year too.

  • AskAaronLee

    @TessaAuza Me too, i agree with @Brittany at Sprout Social as the potential with photos is huge for small businesses. Whats your fav app?

  • AskAaronLee

    @mqtodd Hi Michael,, thanks for dropping by. I agree, without a double sharing will double as community grows and i am looking forward to that. Problem i see is noise ratio growing too. What do you think?

  • LeoWid

    Wow, awesome post and thanks a lot for the shout(s!) Aaron! :)

    I completely agree, especially the social buying aspect, super excited what we will see next here! Buffered that post for sure. :)


  • MaheiFoliaki

    Great post Aaron!

    My guess is that 2012 will be the year that Facebook will have its first decline in growth compared to other years. Twitter will get bought out by a major player. Google will release a real competitor to iTunes and hyperlocal marketing will explode in 2012.

  • http://b2bdigital.net/ Wittlake

    Aaron, I definitely agree with you on mobile, people are adopting in spades (although I think marketers will continue to follow too slowly) and functional services like Buffer will certainly embrace mobile apps (I hope!!).

    However, I’m not sold that companies will move from promoting social presence to mobile apps very quickly. Social is easy to promote, still far more widespread than robust smartphones, and research continues to show that we tend to only use a small handful of the apps we download on our mobile phones. The barrier for a marketer really driving usage of their mobile app will be too high for most marketers to take on. We will see a few exceptions, the wild successes, and there will be lots of dismal failures that will fade away and be forgotten.

    Then again, you have the benefit of time travel and being able to look back at what really happened! :-) It will be an interesting year, looking forward to seeing how mobile and social continue to evolve this year.

  • KieraPedley

    @AskAaronLee Aaron, I always love reading your insights, but I particularly loved this one. I think you just made me a whole heap of business this year mate :-)

    I’m inclined to agree with @Wittlake in that Businesses will probably not replace Social Media with apps, but rather adapt them as an essential part of their tool box. And boy does that concept excite me.

    QR Codes have always intrigued me – as QR Codes themselves are useless pieces of marketing rubbish – however, the apps and end functions are what make them useful as marketing tools.

    The word that is springing to mind from reading your post is Synergy :-)

  • KarenQuips

    Great post! I agree with all your thoughts. I also believe that there are two other things that will happen in 2012. I think that the necessity for simplicity will finally push the development of increased sharing and collaboration between the big and small players. No one wants to keep logging in to all of the new SM options and trying to remember what password is for what. Many will collaborate / merge or they will die as people’s focus and attention-spans won’t allow it in any meaningful way.

    Also, the way we access social media and information will also change beyond only continued growth of tablets and phones. I believe that other devices will truly become converged — as we are seeing with Social TVs now. Social Media and digital is more than computers, tablets and phones. All media have digital offerings (TV, radio, outdoor) which will continue to grow, along with other devices that we haven’t experienced in any mass-consumer way before (appliances, cars, etc.).

  • AskAaronLee

    @Wittlake LoL! love how your last paragraph. You’re absolutely right, companies will definitely not move from promoting from social to mobile quickly. However I do see the “purple cow” of having to do for hose who are quick in promoting it first. There are too many “follow me, like us” out there. I see it happening when an app is launched. After that going back to promoting their social acc.

    I remember the first brand who had their iphone app launched, and i was sharing it with @jasonlittle about it. The app was the top app downloaded on itunes the next day and for a couple of months. Like you mentioned, there will be highly successful apps and there will be those who will fade away and forgotten.

  • AskAaronLee

    @KieraPedley Awww!! thanks Kiera, you’ve been an amazing! Definitely i think they won’t replace social media with apps too, was mentioning the promoting aspect of it. Rather than just saying “follow us, or like us” several will spice things up and do something different for a while. Its the Purple cow of mobile apps promotion where everyone is talking about following them or liking them, and this brand is doing something else. After that they would go back to promoting their social accounts again like what @Wittlake mentioned it being more widespread. One of first brands in Malaysia launched a one page ad about their iphone app on the newspaper and on their website and it was the most downloaded iphone app in Malaysia the next day and for a couple of months. My dad still don’t know what a QR code is lol

  • AskAaronLee

    @MaheiFoliaki Thanks Mahei! Always great to see you here. Yeah, I think Facebook knows their growth will decline too, hence their trip to countries where their app is banned like Vietnam and China where social is popular there. I’m waiting to see google’s competitor to the itunes and hopefully one that allows me to download music! lol!

  • AskAaronLee

    @LeoWid My pleasure Leo! You guys are amazing and I am following you guys closely!

  • AskAaronLee

    @KarenQuips Hi Karen.

    It could be a merge or big companies will buy off smaller companies like Facebook buying Gowalla. I can imagine more social networks coming up this year or more companies adopting the “sign in with twitter or facebook” log ins.

    I see other digital offerings besides tablets and phones like social tv growing, but pretty slow though. I think the adaptive rate will be slow since social tv in Asia is pretty unknown still.

  • susanborst

    Nice post, Aaron. Agree on all, especially the last point on Social TV/Second Screen. Talking trends on Toolschat in a minute. Hope we’ll see you there~~

  • jureklepic

    Hey Mr. Lee :) Yes Mobile is growing like mushrooms in Canada :), so will Social TV in 2012, i can see being really a trend. I think curation will envolve in 2012 as well. But lets see how 2012 will roll out. I also predict that the guy with name Aaron Lee will be big part of keep us on current trends :) Have a good one!

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  • TammyKFennell

    Great post aaron :) Needs some MarketMeSuite Love 😉

    Let’s chat this month I want to show you around v4 :)

  • TammyKFennell

    Great post aaron, i think you’ve hit it on the head!

    I’m so looking forward to showing you around MarketMeSuite v4 soon – let’s arrange a time to chat :)

  • http://sorebuttcheeks.blogspot.com/ Buy Steroids

    the idea of social shopping seems crazy to me

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  • http://www.livegadgetz.com/ Alice79

    I think this is a great post..I like your idea about social shopping..

  • RBCud

    Location was touted as the big thing a couple of years ago. Daily deals were touted as the big thing a year ago. A lot of people are touting social shopping as the big thing for this year but I think that’s not going to happen for shopping online. Amazon is the most successful retail outlet and they’ve avoided most of the trappings of social networking. I think that shopping has to remain more personal and private because this is something that people are really private about. Where social interaction can benefit commerce is in the stage leading up to a purchase. A lot of big brands are promoting their Facebook/Twitter pages on tv commercials. There are dozens and dozens of companies listed at http://www.buyfacebookfansreviews.com for example that do nothing other than promote Facebook pages for businesses. That’s where social interaction comes into play with commerce. Actually social commerce is an interesting concept, but I think most people are too private about this to make this anything other than an idea that will likely never take off. Social media will increasingly impact online shopping, but its not going to be actual social shopping is my prediction.

  • AskKim

    I think we’re definitely looking at (and looking forward too) more service sites that can be on every platform (be it by app or web) and connect all of our social sites and perform functions across them. Be it data collection (ala crowdbooster) or print-to (ala Buffer) or support for (Assistly). As the market at the social site layer becomes more fragmented the growing demand from the market will drive us away from single-purpose sites (for example ones that only interface with twitter) to ones that gain us time leverage across multiple sites in whatever manner of service they provide.

  • PercivalSmith

    There are social shopping sites, a simple objective to get the right information quickly is luboh.com it allows people to ask and tell their selected friends and also tell the world anonymously. Useful for people anywhere in the world to find how much products and services cost and where they can get them from. It also has price comparisons within a geolocation.

  • JeffSaunders

    There are social shopping sites, a simple objective to get the right information quickly is luboh.com it allows people to ask and tell their selected friends and also tell the world anonymously. Useful for people anywhere in the world to find how much products and services cost and where they can get them from. It also has price comparisons within a geolocation.

  • ddiaztechie

    The trend i see is the lost of the Desktop PC, why have a desktop computer when you can do everything on a tablet or a smart phone?

  • CodyQuan

    Mobile activity is definitely huge, since June 2011 I take my iPhone with me everywhere and use it even when my laptop is open on my desk.
    Facebook is becoming more of a business tool in my opinion, as I grow I find that what I need it for now is not what I originally created my account for. Which is great. This market is showing huge flexibility and constantly evolving!

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