No one can predict the future; scientists can’t, the Mayans couldn’t (despite having been the ones to invent the language of binary computing.) On the eve of 2013, one thing is certain: our digital lives will continue to accelerate.
Fortunately, the holiday season affords us a much needed break and allows us to take stock of the past year and learn some of its lessons in preparation for the year ahead. The pervasiveness of mobile technologies and social media and their increasing impact on all aspect of our lives can certainly be viewed as one of 2012’s highlights.
The beginning of Generation C’s reign
In the digital age, Internet and social media can no longer be regarded as transient phenomena without consequence. In recent months, the great power of Web diffusion has played a key role in several major changes in society, on as much as a social level as on a political and economic one.
The passive and up until now playful and trendy Generation C consumers quickly realized the power of influence they have that can now be exercised through social media. Throughout the year, we saw an increasing amount of maturity among users. They managed to establish themselves as prosumers, demanding to be involved in all aspects of the marketing chain.
Organizations and companies are beginning to recognize the importance of these changes and are integrating new Internet and social media technologies into their communications and marketing operations. Professionals from many sectors are now turning to social media to reach their customers.
We can also expect to see a new e-commerce revolution in 2013, marked by the beginning of a new era: Generation C’s influence marketing.
13 Trends That Herald the Era of Influence Marketing
In 2012, several important changes were observed in the budding industry of social media. Trends that have emerged rapidly, following the accelerated evolution of mobile technologies and applications, have multiplied. Connected consumers have quickly seized these new tools to exercise their newfound influence.
Among all of the strong trends that have emerged over the past year, what has occupied influence marketing within social media has been critical and marks a new era of web marketing. Here are 13 major influence marketing trends that should be monitored in 2013, for both the prosumers and the brands and companies:
- The reign of Generation C’s connected consumers is confirmed. In the coming months, the power of influence that Generation C holds will prevail in the Internet economy and fundamentally change the way we do business. (See also: Generation C: Prosumers and Maturialism.)
- Influence marketing fits more company budgets. Marketers and business leaders (CEOs) are beginning to understand the impact of the new Generation C influencers and will further integrate this aspect in their marketing campaigns. (See: BusinessesGrow: Six Hot Trends in Social Influence Marketing.)
- Marketers recruit ambassadors among the users. Brands are now looking for new ways to engage frontline users (Power Users) in their campaigns to become ambassadors. In 2013, the notion of ambassadors vs. influencers will continue to fuel the debate. (See also on WindMill Networking : Social Media Influencers vs Ambassadors. What Is Their True Value? )
- After the “mommy bloggers” are the “professional aunts without children” (PANKs). After the “mommy bloggers” who have significantly influenced companies in recent years, there come the PANKs – independent, connected and wealthy. (See: Savvy Auntie: Professional Aunt No Kids.)
- The Internet of things and mobile technologies promote a personalized offering. Connected Generation C consumers become even more important within the phenomenon of the Internet of things and mobile technologies that can record everything a user does. In this way, the evolution of geolocation technologies and mobile payments promote personalized offers from merchants. (See: RF1 – L’internet des objets – Le nouvel eldorado du numérique.)
- Companies and professionals adopt the role of publishers of web content. Thanks to new technology, diffusion and automation companies are better able to integrate different marketing content strategies and more likely to adopt the role of web content editor, allowing them to assert themselves in social networks. In 2013, we will see the emergence of a new profession: Chief Content Officer. (See also on Virage 2.0: Curation de contenus – Penser comme un éditeur Web.)
- The concept of sharing is needed in social media’s new economy. At the same time, Generation C’s influence forces a new, more social approach from companies, based on values that involve more equitable sharing. Responsible consumption, fair trade and social financing are included in new consumer habits. In this new, non-market economy, companies must now learn to give before they receive. (See: The Week: The Sharing Economy – The Next Big Business Trend.)
- Brands win over social media and rely more and more on their customer service. Companies can easily master the Internet and social media’s new technologies and better understand their position in relation to Generation C’s connected consumers. To ensure their leadership, they aim to improve their Customer Relation Management System. (See also on WindMill Networking: Generation C – Where The Customer Finally Becomes King.)
- Rewards offered to Power Users. To engage influencers, companies now invite users to become first line presumers by offering rewards for their contributions. With Klout programs (and Wahooly), this phenomenon will take on even more momentum in 2013. (See: Venture Beat: How Wahooly (and Klout) Are Going To Turn Your Klout Score in Cash…)
- Social scores are a criterion for recruitment and hiring for HR and universities. The influence of social media, and the social score, are becoming the new criteria for recruitment and hiring for the HR of most major brands. The new science of influence marketing began to be taught in universities, and the score will become the new social currency of social media. (See: BusinessesGrow: Florida State University Class Using Klout to Determine Student Grades.)
- Tools for measuring influence target user engagement. With new tools like Traackr and Appinions, measurement tools of influence in social media sharpen and can now target engagement and the contextual influence of users. Key players followed suit, and brought user content to the forefront. (See: Appinion : Influence Marketing News – Don’Take This Out OF Context )
- The TOP list of influencers gain value for marketers. Because they can more accurately identify influencers, according to specific business sectors, the TOP lists are proving increasingly popular with marketers. Targeted lists reveal the Holy Grail of brands that will not hesitate to monetize them. (See also on Virage 2.0: Social Media Billboard – Des listes d’influenceurs par secteurs.)
- Winning users’ trust: a company’s major challenge. Organizations and brands attach greater importance to their e-reputation and learn to better manage crisis situations in social media while showing more transparency. Companies realize that brands belong to them more, and user confidence proves to be their main challenge in the coming months. (See: TED: Rachel Botsman – The Currency of the New Economy Is Trust)
What do you think? Do you think influence marketing heralds a new era of web marketing? Share your thoughts and comment on this article.
On WindMill Networking:
The Future of Social Media in 2013: Six Points to Consider, by Jessica Rogers
Three Trends To Consider for Your 2013 Video Strategy, by Jayson Duncan
Social Media for IT Professionals: 7 Trends To Follow, by Neal Schaffer
2013 Predictions And Heralding in Imminent Change, by Marshall Sponder
Digital Marketing Trends 2013, by Dave Chaffey
On B2B Marketing Insider:
The 2013 Marketing Predictions Post : Content Marketing and Social Business, by Michael Brenner
On iMEDIA Connection:
Social Media Takes Flight in 2013 : 13 Trends (Infographic), by Winnie Brignac Hart
Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net