Welcome to 2013! There’s something about seeing 1/1 on the calendar that fills us with wonder, optimism and a renewed energy to get things done. And, what better time to take a quick look back at the year that was and make some predictions for what 2013 might have in store? One year ago, I wrote “2012 – the year YOU make a difference” with some predictions. Let’s see how I did.
The Dawn of Comprehensive Marketing
“A few years ago, just having a website was good enough. Now, your game plan should include a great website (it’s home base), social media strategy, email campaigns and ongoing content creation (like blogging). The best bang-for-the-buck is when all of these elements work in perfect harmony. That requires a game plan. You should have one.”
My Thoughts Today – Dead on! I’m one for one! 2012 was the year that smart businesses saw the trend and jumped on it. It’s not enough to “just” have a website or “just” use Facebook or “just” email people. You really do need to combine everything to see results. If you haven’t yet, 2013 is your year!
Mobile on the Move
“Mobile devices like the iPhone will continue to rule our lives. Your website should at least work on mobile devices. And, if your audience is mobile-heavy, consider having a dedicated mobile app developed. Traditional PCs are on the decline. Mobile is the new kid on the block. I predict that niche social apps like Instagram and Path will be huge this year.”
My Thoughts Today – Two for two! 2012 was definitely the year of mobile. Instagram was acquired by Facebook for “close to $1 billion” and the stats don’t lie. People are using websites and apps from their mobile phones and tablets more and more. Soon, mobile usage will surpass desktop usage. That’s a big deal. As a result, you need to make sure your website works beautifully on screens of all sizes. To make that happen, you’ll hear a lot about “responsive” design this year. That means that your website will automatically format itself for whatever size screen your visitors are using – from tiny phones to huge desktop monitors. In fact, we’re redesigning the Forge3 website to be “responsive.” Stay tuned for our fresh new look with a ton of great content coming soon!
The Year of Facebook
“It’s hard to believe that Facebook didn’t exist a few years ago. Now, it’s the place to be – both personally and professionally. In 2012, Facebook will likely “go public” and continue its growth spurt – perhaps exceeding 1 billion users worldwide (yes, that’s with a b). And, with its recent changes to profiles and new “subscriptions” model, I’m betting that businesses large and small will invest even more energy and money into using the platform in 2012.”
My Thoughts Today – Facebook did go public and does have over 1 billion users worldwide. I’m batting 1,000 so far! However, I’m starting to get mixed feelings on Facebook. Since they’re a public company, there’s an increasing pressure for them to make money. As a result, we’re seeing more and more ads on Facebook. It’s getting cluttered. We’re also seeing far too many businesses jumping in (which is GREAT!) but they’re sharing “no-value” information, like “How are you doing today?” They obviously got the memo that sharing ongoing content is important. But, the content needs to have value. Otherwise, it’s just adding to the noise.
“Ah, yes. The often misunderstood, what-I-ate-for-lunch-today social network. Believe it or not, there’s actually a lot of REAL business getting done on Twitter. Try visiting http://search.twitter.com and searching for something. You’ll see all of the people talking about that topic RIGHT NOW. Contact them and you’re well on your way to making stuff happen. But, as great as Twitter is, my prediction is that it will struggle this year and may even temporarily plateau. After all, there are only so many hours in the day for social networking, right?”
My Thoughts Today – Nailed it. Sort of. Check out this article on Forbes. Twitter is still growing and its current users are using it more and more, but the growth of NEW users to the platform has slowed. But, don’t use that as your excuse. Twitter is incredibly powerful and should be part of your overall marketing strategy in 2013.
“Perhaps you never heard of it, but Google’s social platform is on track to reach 400+ million users this year. Not bad for being two years old. You’ll hear more about Google+ this year.”
My Thoughts Today – Google+ is still alive and kicking. But, it seems that folks are getting social media fatigue and are reluctant to visit yet another social network. However, Google is starting to use Google+ to influence its search rankings. So, if you’re active on Google+, your business might have a better chance of showing up at the top of the search results. Google has the power and clout to do this. Stay tuned to see how this unfolds in 2013.
“You and others like you will continue to dive into social media to learn, connect and refer. 2011 was the year social media became accepted. 2012 is the year it becomes powerful.”
My Thoughts Today – This is an easy one. I still 100% agree. However, social media is just one piece of the puzzle. 2013 is all about what I call the “bicycle wheel!”
2013 – the “bicycle wheel” year
2013 is the year that everything comes together. Envision a bicycle wheel. Your website is the hub in the center. The spokes of the wheel represent social media, email marketing, traditional marketing, search and anything else that drives people to your business or makes your business work. Without the hub, the wheel breaks. Without the spokes, the wheel breaks. Don’t let your business break this year.
Other trends that we’ll be watching include the continued explosion of mobile, high resolution “Retina” displays, video marketing, content creation techniques, work/life balance, the “cloud” and more. Buckle up!
Our goal for 2013 is to keep you up-to-speed on what you need to know to be successful today. It changes quickly, so we’ll be sharing more information than ever before. You’ll see exactly what we mean when we launch our new website in the upcoming months.
On behalf of our small, passionate Forge3 crew, happy new year! Go get ’em this year.