2012 is quickly coming to a close, and because of that, our office has been abuzz. But our conversations are not about resolutions to eat less and exercise more—after all, we’re a bunch of social strategists and amateur home cooks! Instead, we’ve been discussing the social trends of 2012 and making predictions about what’s to come in 2013.

While a lot happened in the world of social this year, a recurring theme is the shift to more visually-compelling content. There was the emergence—and impressive growth—of the image bookmarking platform, Pinterest. Facebook unveiled Timeline, which places more emphasis on user photos. And Instagram use increased exponentially, surpassing one billion photos.

The group consensus at ComBlu is that videos, images and photos will continue to be important in 2013. And we have some other predictions for content, influencers, mobile integration, and social media’s integration into everyday life. Here’s what our team had to say:

Content: How it’s delivered and where it’s sourced

  • “Where we’ll see more investment made in the coming year is delivering that content in the right context. Leveraging context makes a brand’s content more relevant, more influential, more easily accessible. By definition, it’s aligned with various decision makers’ interests, information needs and stage in the decision journey. Understanding what type of content holds most authority and influence at each point of that buyer’s journey will, in turn, drive more strategic content creation, distribution and management.” – Cheryl Treleaven
  • “In the coming year, brands will focus their attention on understanding how to best align the right content for each distinct point along the consumer decision journey.” – Kathy Baughman
  • “Crowdsourced ad campaigns will be a new normal as they allow audiences to tell the story and create the content in conjunction with their favorite brands and celebrities.” – Jennifer Voisard
  • “Recommendations will grow in popularity, but as an industry, we’ll continue to struggle with how to measure their value.” – Brian Costea


Leveraging the power of influencers

  • “Patient communities in Healthcare will harness their power. Patient communities have evolved in the last few years to reach beyond sharing personal stories to being highly credible information and education resources. In 2013 we will see a variety of big healthcare brands stop trying to build on their own and instead deeply invest in established patient communities. But, it will be a bumpy ride for both sides.” – Colleen Nolan
  • “Social networking sites will place an even greater importance on the social influence level of its members. New reports and tools will be created by Facebook, Google and Twitter to track and act on influencers.” – Brian Costea


The move to mobile

  • “Administering your company’s social sites will get easier through mobile devices and we’ll see more improvements from Google and LinkedIn on how brands can message and interact on their platform.” – Brian Costea
  • “Social adoption will continue to grow in 2013 thanks to better integration in both operating systems and mobile devices, as well as the ubiquity of wireless Internet access, smart phones and tablet devices.” – Peter Duckler
  • “Healthcare will accelerate its social adoption by embracing mobile. Today only half of U.S. hospitals have a Facebook page, in 2013 hospitals will continue putting limited resources into Twitter and online communities where they feel the liability risks are too great. They will instead rapidly adopt mobile as a means for a direct and ‘controlled’ message.” – Colleen Nolan


Social everywhere

  • “More community without walls in 2013; send a tweet and it shows up in Facebook and LinkedIn too. Sign into multiple sites with your Facebook account. For higher functioning and socially engaged brands that understand the importance of this dynamic, Facebook, Pinterest and YouTube will become more intertwined and adoption will be more wide spread.” – Steve Hershberger
  • “It will be lonely at the water cooler on Mondays. The line between social and entertainment, gaming, news and sports will continue to blur. Real time audience interaction feeds our need for instant gratification and becomes the new ritualized experience.” – Jennifer Voisard
  • “2013 truly will become the year when consumers and brands alike will be sharing stories whenever they want, wherever they are.” – Peter Duckler
  • “The social divide between brands will continue to broaden. Firm’s that embrace social will continue to refine and strengthen their social strategies, while those that have not jumped on the social bandwagon will continue to turn a blind eye to it.” – Pam Flores
  • “The Twitterverse will continue to shape how we communicate. Tweet streams will be the new television newsfeed of curated viewer opinion. Everything will be #hashtagged. Athletes, celebrities, news leaders and the government will issue statements, announcements, apologies, policies and breaking news in 140 characters or less.” – Jennifer Voisard


Come December 2013, we’ll review these predictions to see just how accurate they were. That is, assuming the Mayans weren’t right about their prediction…

Kristen Zufan

Kristen Zufan