Every Monday morning all across America, football fans slip into the mode of the armchair quarterback. They argue loudly over the water cooler or morning  coffee about the choices their favorite coach made the day before. Of course, they have an advantage. It’s Monday morning,  long after the pressure of the action is over.

The coaches they are criticizing  had to make those same decisions on the fly, in the heat of the game. Some of their plans are even made two and three weeks out in anticipation of what their opponents will do on the field.

In many respects, the life of the Internet marketing professional is a lot like that of a football coach. We have to make recommendations to our clients based on our best guess of what will be hot the next week, month or year. Will Facebook grow or crash and burn? Will there be a new Pinterest emerging on the scene this year? Will LinkedIn finally take their dominant role in the business-to-business arena?

I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do have opinions about what I think will be hot or not: Social media 2013

  • Facebook is NOT going to throw in the towel. Businesses are not going to leave despite the many complaints. Facebook is here to stay, at least for a few more years. They have enough money to test a variety of tactics and make rapid changes in response to recent outcry.
  • Facebook will launch subscription services for business. Given the lack of response and even outright disgust for their promoted posts, Facebook will  find other ways to build value for small businesses. Look for offers of enhanced service bundles at a nominal fee to reengage small business users and generate revenues.
  • This will not be the year of the QR code. Although I love the promise of the technology, there are not enough people who have smart phones with code readers. And let’s face it, even those of us who do have the readers rarely think to use them. Further reducing the chances the technology will catch on is the fact that companies just don’t seem to get how these tools can be used. And as a marketer, technologies such that the QR codes are still ugly.
  • YouTube will become more social. Look for additional comment and sharing functionality as the integration with Google+ increases.
  • Age of Social Television. It’s already happening sporadically as shows encourage viewers to live tweet during programs and cable advertisers allow consumers to download coupons or call companies with one click from their remote. 2013 will be the year these interactions move transition from novelty to mainstream.
  • Google+ will grow. We may not like it any more then we do now, but it will be harder and harder to ignore this network as Author Rank, which is tied to your G+ profile becomes an important measure of your on line credibility.
  • Marketing messaging will become even more personalized. 2012 was the year of data collection as more and more tools became popular which allowed businesses to learn more and more about their clients. In 2013, consumer-centric communications will become the cornerstone of effective marketing.  Businesses who are holding on to a one size fits all approach in their marketing will be left in the dust.
  • Businesses are going to hold social media accountable. Tired of nebulous conversations about fans, followers and engagement, senior managers and business owners are going to look for more direct correlation to the bottom line.

As I was working on this post, I found a number of  other predictions.  Some I agree with, some I don’t, but they make for interesting reading.  Come back in a year and we can see who was right.