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Hector the Connectors Social Media Marketing Predictions for 2012


2011 is gone, and 2012 has rolled in without missing a beat. The social media industry is growing in leaps and bounds. I often hear business people say social networking is like the Wild Wild West! So answer this question for me.  Would it be valuable if you knew the future social media trends for 2012? How wonderful would it be to know what trends are in store for the coming year? Could you adequately prepare for this rapidly changing industry? In this article, I provide my 2012 predictions for the evolving trends in the social-networking industry. It's always gratifying when my predictions come true. My predictions are not based on any kind of special powers. They are based on my industry research, what I read and what I see happening every day in my work. My accuracy rate in the social media industry has been about 97 percent.  However, even when I’m wrong it's only because my timeline ended up being longer than I thought it was going to be. I have a knack for spotting social media trends. And this article lists four powerful trends unfolding right now. You can profit from what I say or ignore me, the choice is yours. Either way these trends will unfold as the year progresses.  So read on and heed my advice. Prepare your social media marketing campaigns to take advantage these trends for 2012 and beyond.

Prediction #1)  Social Media Networks and Marketing will continue to grow at an alarming rate.

Relative size & growth of Facebook vs Open Soc...Image by davemc500hats via FlickrLast year Facebook grew from around 600 million to 800 million users depending on whose numbers you believe. Twitter and LinkedIn also both showed growth and added many new features, (not to mention that they both acquired several new partners and internet assets).  Add to this, Google started Google+, and Microsoft is said to be in the works of building their own social network. The adoption rate of small business will lead the way, but expenditures by large corporations will exceed that of both small and medium-size businesses. My first advice to you is; create and implement “an employee social media use policy” to control business hour usage. Second, create a social media marketing plan to reach and engage this enormous market. Combining both engagement and pay per click campaigns work best.

Prediction #2)  One of the largest players in the social media arena will make a “miss step” in 2012.

I believe that one of the top four Social Media Network companies will make a costly mistake causing them to lose significant market share. Right now several of the larger social media giants like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn all share one crucial flaw. They try to make it almost impossible to communicate with them. Take Facebook, for instance. They do not list any contact information other than a Facebook page. Sure they have lots of help pages. Yes, Facebook has a blog, lots of YouTube videos, but provides no phone number where you can call and talk to a human being? They do have a Facebook page you can enter suggestions on, but that’s it. What happens when you get a strange message from Facebook, or you’re having trouble with your account? You post a message and never get a reply! Twitter and LinkedIn are not much better. They don’t list a contact phone number or address either. However, I have found that they do reply to your email and posted messages, although it sometimes takes as long as seven days to get a reply. 

The Big MistakeImage by williamhartz via FlickrIn my opinion, of the top three social media companies, LinkedIn provides the best service. Google is new in this game.  It’s not as easy to lump them in with the rest of the social media giants yet. However, I can tell you that Google has a notoriously poor customer service reputation. It’s been my experience with Google that the quality of service you receive depends on the person you get on the phone. The good news is that you can get someone on the phone! Google does list contact numbers. My advice to any business is easy, be ready to make changes to your social media campaign if need be. Furthermore, if you’re using any of the top four social media services, make a backup of your data. This is in case you decide to make “the switch” and ditch one of these players.

Prediction #3)  Google+ will become one of the top 3, in the social network arena by the end of 2012.

I know I’m going out on a limb here, but I believe this is inevitable. Google’s share size and current customer base will allow Google+ to grow at a much faster pace than other social media sites. The exact number of Gmail users is not public, but we do know that it is huge! I have read estimates ranging from about 190 million to 250 million accounts. Furthermore, Google owns so many internet properties, that they can easily integrate the use of these properties into their social network. This adds value to their social network. Add to this, the fact that Google owns Google Search, Google AdWords, YouTube, Blogger and Picasa. Are you starting to get the picture? Google is gigantic. Google controls the lion’s share of internet traffic and advertising dollars.

English: Google+ wordmarkImage via WikipediaGoogle has also been able to produce a social-networking product that is easy to use, search engine friendly and innovative. These qualities’ have made them the internet leader they are today. I am not sure that they can keep this frantic pace forever, but for 2012, it’s a done deal. My advice to you is to review where you are spending your advertising money and see if it makes sense using any of the Google properties. If you're an individual, and have been waiting on the sideline with Google+, stop what you’re doing and take the 10 minutes to set up a Gmail and Google+ account. If you already have a Gmail account, this will only take you about 5 minutes. The bonus here is you can also set up a Google+ Brand page without a lot of fuss.

Prediction #4)  More businesses will start using blogging and article marketing to build trust.

You may be asking the question; what does blogging and article writing have to do with social networks? The answer is straightforward. Both blogging and article writing create a following, and they both encourage fan interaction.  These followers will leave comments on the blog/article sites and interact directly with the authors. Now that I have established that blogging and article marketing is social in nature, let’s discuss building trust.
There are many ways to build trust with people. Here are just a few ways that a business can build trust; receiving word of mouth and written testimonials, consistently providing a good product or service, providing written guarantees and making it easy for your customers to communicate with you.

BloggerImage by kuribo via FlickrToday, writing articles is creating a new powerhouse for trust building. Any business that receives expert status from writing about their industry niche will garner instant credibility.  According to the website “numberof.net," the number of bloggers in 2007 was around 23 million.  The same source predicted that, by 2012, U.S. bloggers would reach 35 million.  Guess what, this year's articles in Technorati and Blogpulse both listed worldwide blogs to be around 164 million by the end of 2011, almost five times the original predictions given in 2007. I guess the adoption rate for blogging has far exceeded what was once looked upon as a strange new type of website forum.

We live in a society where the published word has high value. This is truer today than ever. Savvy businesses are taking to blogging and article marketing as an exciting new way to distinguish them from their competitors. What, you say you can’t write? Ghost writers are a cost-effective alternative. They are readily available and well worth looking into. My advice to you is straightforward, create and use a blog for marketing. Your blog articles can also be used in article marketing by submitting them to article databases. They can also be integrated into your website. Your blog post can easily become part of your website “current content strategy." If done well, blogging will build your reputation as the go to expert in your particular business field. As an extra bonus, you will be able to engage prospects and clients in a way that builds trust, a commodity that is vastly absent in today’s business climate.

In this article, I have discussed four powerful trends emerging in the social media industry.  In the past, I have kept my prediction secret, and used them as part of my own marketing strategy. This year I decided to make my predictions public. My accuracy over the last five years has always been exceptionally high. I have sometimes missed the mark on the timeline, but I have rarely been wrong at predicting what will eventually take place. These four social media predictions should make sense to you. My predictions are based on my reasoning, research and experience, not some mystical power. My work leads me to believe that these trends will continue to grow at unprecedented rates. I have always had an uncanny ability to spot trends before, but anyone willing to look can spot these trends if they take the time to look. By heeding my predictions and adjusting your social media strategies, you will engage and garner more customers this year. Take the time to develop and put in place all the necessary elements needed to implement your social media strategy. By doing this, you will profit from social media like you never have before.

That’s my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.

Hector Cisneros is a writer, has been an entrepreneur for more than 30 years, is a veteran of BNI for 19 years and was a BNI director for over five years. He is still an active BNI member and follows the philosophy of Givers Gain. He is the owner of several businesses in Jacksonville, Florida. He actively coaches business owners in the fine art of Online advertising, Business Networking and Word of Mouth marketing. He is the president of Website Know How, Inc. a holding company for his business ventures that include online advertising, word of mouth marketing, real estate holdings, non-profit training/support, book publishing, health and wellness product sales and Adventure sports. Hector's new book 60 Seconds to success, teaches business owners how to get the most from word of mouth marketing by using great 60 second introductions. To learn more about Hector Cisneros, Social Media, Online Marketing or Word of Mouth Marketing visit the Networkers Apprentice workshop http://networkersapprentice.com or my book website at http://www.60SecondsToSuccess.com
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Hector the Connectors Website Marketing Predictions for 2012

2011 is over, and we're now in 2012. Wouldn’t it be terrific if you could predict the future? How fantastic would it be to know what website marketing techniques will work this year? Would having that knowledge allow you to prepare and maximize your return on your advertising dollars? In this article, I provide my 2012 predictions covering website marketing trends. Adjusting your marketing plans to take these trends into account should translate into profits. Historically, my predictions have come to pass about 98 percent of the time. It's always gratifying when my predictions come true. I have always had a knack for spotting trends. In this article, I list four website marketing trends that are unfolding before our eyes. So read on to see my advice and get your website ready for 2012 and beyond.

Prediction #1)  Search Engine Optimization will continue to provide top ROI for internet marketing.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseSearch Engine Optimization (SEO) and posting service will continue to be the most productive for converting internet prospects into customers. SEO has always been the bread and butter of online marketers and businesses. This is because search engine users place a high value on organic placement. I believe that SEO will continue to be rated as the most cost-effective means of attracting visitors to your website or landing page. For several years now, SEO has shown to be unmovable as the best way to get clicks to your website. This includes search clicks where somebody “actually” purchases something from your website. Several research studies in 2011 reported that more business traffic was generated by organic key word Searches than other types of internet marketing. Of course, you still have to have a compelling landing page and a desirable product, but this has always been the case.

Secondly, the aforementioned studies also listed organic ranking as being the most trusted by consumers with regard to the legitimacy of the ad listing. There is no doubt in my mind that this trend will continue in 2012. My advice to you is this; if you’re selling products on the internet, make SEO the centerpiece of your internet ad budget. If you want to make the phone ring, it starts with organic ranking. I’m not saying all your internet advertising money should be in SEO; that's unwise, but SEO should be part of your mix. Leaving it out would be a tremendous mistake.

Prediction #2)  Websites will be upgraded in unheard of numbers!

website ideasImage by Sean MacEntee via FlickrIt has been my experience that business owners, (especially small businesses) are usually slow to make website changes. For an internet business to be profitable today, it must embrace change as part of its everyday marketing strategy. Around the middle of 2010, many businesses started to update their websites. This trend started  for two extremely important reasons. First, many businesses have ignored their websites for several years, (5+ years in many cases).  Many businesses are cyclical, and the website creation industry is one of them. We are entering a time where many websites have been stuck with an early turn of the century look and feel. 

Now businesses are moving towards a more current and active content look. A look and feel I call current content centric.  Most businesses amortized website expenditures over a five-year period. If they are not amortized, they are still looked at as five-year  assets. My company saw a significant increase in the amount of website refresh work during 2005. We started seeing an increase in this type of work again in late 2010.  I believe businesses were holding back because of the slow economy but are now faced with websites that are not producing results. Most are moving to either totally recreate their websites look and feel, or they are opting to create multiple landing pages that address individual issues. I look forward to seeing businesses finally making the plunge to refresh, rebuild or create new landing pages that convert prospects into customers. My advice to all businesses is to refresh your website in 2012. Even if it’s just a color and wording refresh. If you choose to do-nothing, beware, your competition will be making these changes, and they will be taking your market share.

Prediction #3)  Internet usages will become more mobile than ever before.
English: Cover of Mobi Magazine released 03.2009Image via WikipediaThe number of websites converting to mobile formats is soaring. This is for a good reason. The number of smart phones capable of taking advantage of full browser functions is shooting through the roof.  Add to this, many smart phones have a faster internet connection than you have at home or in the office. Most people carry their cell phones with them all the time. This allows them to use their cell phones for all kinds of functions.  One of these functions, cell phone internet browsing, is growing at an alarming rate. Soon, cell phones will replace many of the current gadgets that many of us love to use today. Cameras, GPS devices, MP3 players, portable game consoles and yes even laptop sales will start to shrink. And as these items lose their inherent value, the smart phone will become invaluable. The number of internet cell phone users will continue to climb.  People use their cell phones to blog, access their social networks, get directions via GPS, listen to their music, purchase items online, make web searches, watch TV,   YouTube  and more. The list goes on and on. This list will continue to grow!

You’ve heard people say the phrase, “there’s an App for that." With more than 250,000 smart phone apps out there, smart phones will just continue to get smarter. As smart phones acquire more functions, our dependence on them will grow. In the year 2000, there were only 250 million internet users and about 500 million mobile subscribers. By the end of 2011, there were two billion internet users. It is also estimated that in, 2011, the number of cell phone subscribers reached more than 5 billion. When smart phones become the de-facto  type of cell phone, cellular internet users will far exceed the number of stationary internet users by a large margin. My advice should be a no brainier for any business. Make sure your website is mobile enable now and start taking advantage of this enormous untapped market. If you don’t heed this lesson now, you will regret it sooner than later.

Prediction #4)  YouTube will become a new power broker for small business marketing in 2012.

Today, the number one visited destination on the internet after Google's search is YouTube, (also owned by Google). Websites that have videos on YouTube receive an additional ranking consideration versus websites that don’t.  Many studies have shown that people prefer video’s over text by a large margin. Internet studies have shown that more people will click on a video before text or audio listings for the same information, even when text and audio are ranked higher. Other studies show that seventy percent of our population has a preference for pictures. The remaining 30 percent prefer either audio, touch or the written word.  The internet is full of Cinderella stories about startups that have made it big with internet video.

Image representing YouTube as depicted in Crun...Image via CrunchBaseLarge companies usually don’t use videos to explain their product or service. They devote a full website for that product to explain it instead. The vast majority of YouTube videos are created by amateurs. This hasn’t stopped people from watching them. Again, YouTube garners a billion visits a day. Savvy companies are now running to create YouTube videos that are short, succinct and touting their wares.  Small businesses are creating YouTube videos in record numbers. This is helping them garner prospects and customer loyalty. My advice for any business is this; don’t be left behind. Start making useful, informative or funny YouTube videos about your products.  Most laptops and cell phones have built in video cameras. Good video cameras are relatively inexpensive! If you feel you’re not up to the video production task, hire a professional. They will be able to help you create your library of YouTube videos that show off your products or services. Not sure what to say or do in your videos? That’s OK. There are numerous internet professionals who can write, create, and produce an outstanding internet video for you. On top of that, video production costs are down by a factor of 10, compared to what it was just ten years ago. Mark my word, video is already a big deal, make it part of your strategy and win big too.

In this article, I have provided four website marketing trends that I believe are unfolding before our eyes.  In the past, I have used my predictions as part of my own marketing strategy. My accuracy over the last 30 years has been exceptionally high. I have sometimes missed the mark on the timeline, but I have rarely been wrong at predicting what will eventually take place. These four predictions should make sense to my readers. I have provided my reasoning and my research addressing why I believe these events will take place. I trust my research, and I trust my ability to spot trends. It is my uncanny ability to spot trend's before “they take off " that has undoubtedly paid off for me in the past. By taking advantage of these predictions and by adjusting your strategy, you will win more customers and beat your competition to the punch. Get some help to develop your marketing plan if you feel you need it. Put in place all the necessary elements needed to implement your strategy. If you do all these things, your website will produce profits like never before.

That’s my opinion; I look forward to hearing yours.


Hector Cisneros is a writer, has been an entrepreneur for more than 30 years, is a veteran of BNI for 19 years and was a BNI director for over five years. He is still an active BNI member and follows the philosophy of Givers Gain. He is the owner of several businesses in Jacksonville, Florida. He actively coaches business owners in the fine art of Online advertising, Business Networking and Word of Mouth marketing. He is the president of Website Know How, Inc. a holding company for his business ventures that include online advertising, word of mouth marketing, real estate holdings, non-profit training/support, book publishing, health and wellness product sales and Adventure sports. Hector's new book 60 Seconds to success, teaches business owners how to get the most from word of mouth marketing by using great 60 second introductions. To learn more about Hector Cisneros, Social Media, Online Marketing or Word of Mouth Marketing visit the Networkers Apprentice workshop http://networkersapprentice.com or my book website at http://www.60SecondsToSuccess.comEnhanced by Zemanta

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