Social Media & Content Marketing: 2012 Predictions from lonelybrand

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In case you haven’t noticed we spend a lot of time at lonelybrand looking at the latest research, articles and trends in digital marketing. In the first installment of our four-part 2012 prediction series, we’ll take a look at what’s next for B2C and B2B social media and content marketing.

1. Brand Page Explosion

Brand pages on the big three social networks are in the midst of a sizable evolution. Google+ and Twitter rolled out brand pages in late 2011, and once Facebook’s legal issues are settled, they will release their Timeline Interface for brands.

Marketers will begin executing strategies around new features. With Google+, it will be about using Circles for segmentation purposes. Facebook Pages will need to take advantage of the sleek new design and Sponsored Stories. The new Twitter brand pages will allow brands to have a Promoted Tweet that remains on the top of their page. All in all look for better and more trackable uses of social networks for B2C and B2B social media marketing.

2. Niche Content

Content marketing will continue to overtake B2B and encroach into the B2C realm. Relevance and quality contribute to more views and better conversion rates. Marketers will cater to niche crowds in new ways. Better social segmentation in the aforementioned prediction will help deliver the most relevant content to the right audiences. Expect to see more in-depth articles and videos that provide real value.

3. The Social Executive

Executives are classically hesitant when it comes to participation on social networks. But given the vast benefits of the CEO’s voice on social media, from creating a greater reach for content to good will from customers, 2012 will be the year when the executive goes social. For tips on how to get your executives on board, check out this white paper.

4. B2B + Social Ads

A 2011 study by lonelybrand shows that only 17% of agencies buy ads on social networks. But we know conversion rates of over 30% are within reach if the right B2B content is matched to the right audience. Backing compelling content with well-placed social media ads can be an effective strategy. Expect better targeting and higher quality ads to be delivered in the B2B social media space in 2012. That also means more competition for first position ads, and the smartest companies will be making moves sooner rather than later.

5. Tapping Niche Influencers

2011 was filled with discussion debating the merits of  influence measurement tools Klout and Kred. And while we know that these tools don’t have all the answers, we do know that finding and connecting with the right influencers will be important for success in the digital space. 2012 will not be about finding users with the highest influence score, but reaching out to those who have influence among niche communities and topics.