Social Media Shakeout
Over the course of 2012, social media marketing finally solidified its place in brand building, marketing and social commerce.
Worldwide, nearly one in every five minutes online is spent on social networks, and the effect of that activity on brands has become both measurable and scalable. Facebook leads the pack—three out of every four minutes spent on social networks are spent on Facebook and 55 percent of people online use the site.
Since its infancy, people have flocked to social media eager to share, communicate and just listen. They're eager to tap into the greater conversation around the things they care about. During 2012, it became clear that those things, in many cases, were the brands they trusted for the products and services on which they choose to spend their money.
As consumers have grown into social so, too, have the platforms on which marketers connect with their audiences.
Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn have all implemented significant changes for social media marketers during the past year.
• Facebook made history in 2012 as it crossed the threshold of 1 billion active users, cementing its position as the social media network Goliath. During the past year, we saw the full implementation of CEO Mark Zuckerberg's Open Graph vision, with apps and social recommendations front and center.
• Twitter, with more than 72 million active accounts, launched its version of "pages" to a limited group of brands in December 2011. During 2012, it rolled out the marketing tool to all companies and added features to help brands better connect with followers. Social media marketers can now promote specific tweets or the entire account to increase their reach beyond their existing networks. Tweets can be "pinned" to the top of the brand page to highlight important information. Marketers can embed images and videos, which consumers can expand to view without leaving the platform. The nature of Twitter's platform, with its short messages and simple linking, has always favored brands, but the 2012 enhancements make it a serious social media marketing tool.