Social media is still evolving every day. But the line in the sand has been crossed when it comes to both public and brand adoption. Social media is now a mainstay in the marketing plan, and it’s not going anywhere soon. So getting involved is essential for success.

But just getting involved doesn’t give you the best chance to succeed. There are some shifts taking place in social media marketing that you will want to pay attention to as you develop your strategy for 2013. Below are five trends that you can include in your plans to stay ahead of the game next year.

  1. Narrowing of Focus – It’s been common for companies in the past to show up across many different networks, attempting to have a presence everywhere with no real plan for integration. In 2013, the key will be picking a few key areas and putting a strategy behind them. I’d recommend Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. There may be other players in the niche you occupy, but the point is not to try to do it all. Focus on the large networks that will have the biggest impact.
  2. More Facebook Options for Advertisers – Facebook is the #1 social network for brands. And that status will only be solidified as they continue to roll out new options for advertisers in an effort to improve shareholder value. Stay up to date on their announcements and take advantage of all the new options they roll out to see if you can improve the effectiveness of your efforts on their network.
  3. Integration – Yesterday, I mentioned how in 2013 it will be more important to integrate social communities into your website. Your social marketing and web development team need to connect on this topic and see what can be done to incorporate feeds and conversations from various networks onto your website. All social promotions should be given space on your website as well, so you can give them as much exposure as they deserve.
  4. Contests – One of the most proven social marketing strategies are contests. Build at least one into your marketing plan for 2013. Find partners, offer prizes people will get excited about, and have your developer (or a team like Wildfire) build a sleek contest page for you. This is an opportunity to get leads, gain brand awareness, do some PR, and follow up with people who are interested in your offerings.
  5. Offers – The second proven social marketing strategy you need to consider adding to your 2013 plan is a special offer specifically to your social community. Facebook now has an “offers” tool that makes this easy to test. You can offer a discount to people who Like you on Facebook. Give it a try.