One more quarter and we would be bidding adieu to 2012. Social Media has evolved at a faster pace and India has been no exception. Whether it be marketing or politics or personal use, social media is no more alien to us. So I spoke to Palin Ningthoujam(1), who has been breathing digital and social from the very early days in India to share about the trends that he visualizes in the social media space before 2013. Palin happily shared five trends as a post with us, which are listed below.
1. Facebook and Twitter will dominate
Facebook and Twitter will continue to dominate for a long long time. While national & local developments in politics, sports, culture, etc., will continue to be trending topics on Twitter, Facebook conversations will continue to be mostly personal and spread across chunks of friend networks. Google Plus, Foursquare and Pinterest will maintain their slow and steady climb but won’t become as mainstream as the other two above so fast. Facebook and Twitter will continue their efforts to surprise users and we can expect more surprise by the year end. For example, we just had a Twitter Header rollout and conversations around the adoption will continue in India for months. I’m not sure how the Facebook promote button for users will be accepted eventually but it, along with F-commerce, are still a long way to go in India I think. There have been talks about Facebook integrating with Apple’s iOS and also of a Facebook Phone.
2. Professional bloggers will keep blogging alive
Today conversations have gone from blogs to social networks. From some years back when everybody and anybody active online would want to create a blog, blogging is now done by serious writers who like to research, write and blog for a reason like making money or building thought leadership. The days of blogging out personal thoughts and experiences have been long replaced by facebooking and tweeting. Bloggers writing on specific interest areas like auto, marketing, travel, technology, etc. are the ones most visible. Professional bloggers will continue to rise especially in sectors like auto, fashion, and technology.
3. Mobile Apps will be more exciting
With two versions of the iPad, a new iPad mini in the works, and a plethora of Samsung, Blackberry, Nokia smartphones and tablets in the market, it is only natural for people using these to try and download interesting apps. Having spent that much money on their smartphones, they need more out of their phones and this is where apps come in. Mobile phones also give freedom and privacy that laptops and desktops can’t give and users are going to be bolder and freer in keeping their eyes on the Trending Apps list and trying out new stuff. This is one area that is likely to bloom. Apps are going to be more and more exciting and innovative. Instagram already reached 80 million users in July and soon there will be more mobile phone based cultures.
4. Online forums are yet not dead
You thought online forums are all about the spammy Yahoo and Google Groups of yesteryears. Yet today niche online groups are steadily on the rise. While Facebook and Twitter connect you with all sorts of friends or people, niche groups connect you to like minded people and when you are researching for opinions on a particular topic, say a computer hack or a travel query, there is nothing like forums. You find people giving reviews and you end up sharing your experiences as well. Check out Zomato for foodies, Tripadvisor for travelers, the long time favourite Team BHP for auto enthusiasts, and there are many for parents, nursery admissions, bodybuilders, and so on.
5. Social media strategies will keep getting refined
Brands and organizations will continue to compete to create that hit Facebook app or Twitter contest that can get thousands of organic participation. However, given the plethora of campaigns on Facebook and Twitter today, customers are likely to get weary eventually. Only a few very good campaigns will stand out then. While integration of social media in marketing and communication campaigns is a given today and slowly more and more organizations will start looking at social media for internal communications, recruitment, business planning, etc. Social media strategies will get refined and the current ‘me too’ approaches will evolve and organizations will look hard for return on investments. And that will be the next wave of social media marketing in India. Companies won’t require just agencies to do their social media activities. They will start investing in research and analytics. More organizations will realize the need to have good social media governance policies.
Do let me know if you would like to add any more trends to this list.
- Palin Ningthoujam has a decade of experience in corporate reputation management; has led digital campaigns for organisations in auto, technology, food, and travel sectors; and currently leads the digital advisory stream at Ernst & Young India. He started India PR Blog (which was one of the leading PR blogs globally); Network of PR Professionals group on LinkedIn with 21,000 plus marketing and communications professionals; contributed to various blogs like Mashable and Desicritics; and now occasionally writes at Advocable.com.