2012 Social Media Trends - And Why You Should Care

June 12, 2012 Jared Shusterman

In the week leading up to the New Year, we published The Case For Local Channel Marketing and Social Media. In this post, we identified how the sheer numbers of minutes spent on these platform underlined the importance for participation. As we start a new year in 2012, here are some underlying trends to keep note of:

  • More focus on visual content with less on written -a ClickZs recent Study indicated that tweaking a specific image had far greater impact on click-throughs and conversions than swapping out copy, or even headlines of the copy.
  • Continued emergence of legal precedents around social media - As with everything new, legal precedents and judgements usually trail behind. Expect to see much more trail-blazing in this regard. For example, Facebook has recently encountered a lawsuit when it started running ads in News Feeds that told friends that other friends "liked" a specific product or service. Angel Fraley and other users filed a class-action lawsuit claiming Facebook misappropriated their likeness when running "sponsored stories" and never received their permission to use their names - also known as the "right of publicity". The Federal Judge overseeing the case refused to throw out the ruling.
  • More regulatory rulings weighing in on social media - For highly regulated industries, like the financial industry, expect more regulatory authorities like FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) weighing in on the use of social media - particularly by local entities like insurance advisers and local branches. Late in 2011, FINRA ruled that firms and reps do not need to have a principal approve the content of a status update, post or tweet prior to it being released because it is not considered static content. Although the brand under which the adviser or rep runs its business is ultimately responsible for content and messaging on these sites, the ruling establishes faster speed to market for messaging and communications.
Perhaps the biggest trend for 2012 was ClickZs recent Study how "there will be less content with a national focus and more localization". After studying corporate franchises with hundreds or thousands of local stores, ClickZ found "that their social media efforts gained the most user interaction when they had a local focus.....Localized content - be it a geo-targeted ad, a region-specific contest, or even just a tweet highlighting a local news story - creates seven to 10 times higher levels of engagement than non-locally relevant content."

Seven to 10 times!!!!

At SproutLoud, we believe the importance of local is inherent to the entire movement of social media. People want to interact with who they know, their business down the street and the person next door. And if that person happens to sell a product / service of a larger brand ecosystem, brands can leverage this relationship to establish a stronger emotional business relationships within local markets.
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About the Author

Jared Shusterman

Jared is the Chief Executive Officer of SproutLoud. Since 2006, he has been primarily responsible for strategic direction of the Company, as well as the oversight of SproutLoud's Partner ecosystem. Prior to SproutLoud, Jared worked in Thomas Weisel Partner’s internet and online advertising investment banking practice in San Francisco. He served as the lead analyst on a number of Corporate Finance and M&A deals including Newscorps’ buyout of Intermix Media (Myspace.com). Jared graduated with a B.A. in Finance and Marketing from the McIntire School of Commerce at the University of Virginia. Jared has an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and is a member of the Young President's Organization (YPO). Jared has been honored as one of the Top 40 Under 40 Entrepreneurs by South Florida Business Journal and a Top 50 Entrepreneur by Business Leader Magazine. Jared lives in South Florida with his wife and two sons.

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