With 2013 right around the corner, it’s time to start looking at the social media marketing trends likely to take center stage in the coming year.  As predicted by marketing experts in early 2012, powerful trends such as content marketing are already reorienting and rewiring the business world in this digital bazaar.It’s not just that social media is exploding; it’s how brands communicate.  Empowered consumers with their expanding arsenals of social technology devices are going to change the landscape in 2013, too. This holiday season, consumers are going to be buying more new gadgets that will change the marketing dialogue between brands and consumers and test businesses’ ability to engage.

#1: Tech Adoption

If 2012 didn’t already prove that tablet computing isn’t just a passing fad, the coming years should leave no doubt.  Tablets, smartphones and e-readers have become the primary media source for thousands of users.  eMarketer even estimates that tablet users will reach 89.5 by 2014. With this trend, brands will have to rise to meet the additional demand in content—including apps, video and social media—that this trend is likely to produce.

#2: Explosion in blog traffic and leads

A new survey by HubSpot, “Uncovering Marketing Benchmarks from 7,000 Businesses,” reveals that small business benefit the greatest from blog articles in terms of both new leads and traffic.



#3: Employee branding creating rich content development

Today’s socially-enabled employees like to share content, including content related to their employers.  Employee branding has been dancing on the periphery over the past few years, but it’s poised to be a big player in the social arena in the coming year.  With proper guidance, employee branding can be an asset to a brand’s image, but managers must establish social guidelines to keep the individual brands from eclipsing the company’s own brand image.

#4: Innovative Strategies for Marketing SMB Blogs

While it would be wonderful if blog content could just market itself, employees and brands must accept that part of their job after producing content is finding an audience for it.  Good, well-promoted content attracts vibrant communities, which are usually more than happy to pass the content on to their other networks.  In fact, platforms such as Triberr have sprouted up on the Web specifically to aid content producers in this process.

#5: Curation Syndication

Once just for TV, the syndication model is now being successfully adapted to Web content.  In fact, it has proven quite successful for smaller businesses looking to boost their visibility and generate more leads.  To implement a successful curation syndication program, brands should find other blogs, websites or news sources that actively curate and republish content from around the Web.  The reasoning is simple: the more places your content appears, the more visibility you will earn.  In his article “How to Get More Blog Traffic,” Tom Pick mentions B2B Marketing Zone, Social Media Informer, and Social Media Today as particularly strong syndication sources.

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Cheryl Burgess (@ckburgess) is a digital and social brand consultant, blogger, and speaker. Her knowledge of business strategy, passion for creative expression, and marketing technology helps businesses achieve the remarkable. AT&T has sponsored this blog post.

This post was originally published on AT&T’s Networking Exchange Blog.

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