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Sway Group’s Top Five Social Media Trends for 2013

There is no shortage of 2013 trend-spotting blog posts published over the past 30 days, but I just couldn’t resist sharing some of my own. There are some trends that I have seen from our particular vantage point (firmly entrenched in the middle of the relationship of brand/agency and blogger) that I haven’t seen covered anywhere else. So… while I never thought I’d do it, here are Sway’s Top Five Trends for 2013:

As different types of agencies (ad, PR, digital) continue to battle for ownership of social media responsibilities, I predict that what we’ll end up seeing is that the best practices of each will merge together to create a fusion of best practices/standard operating procedures. These will include our top three trends for 2013:

  • (from ad agencies) An increased insistence on actual metrics. This means REAL impressions with no more wonky multipliers. Blog posts will have to deliver guaranteed impression numbers.
  • (from PR firms) Continued improvement of the quality of content. Brands will increasingly demand real stories that generate actual engagement. Bloggers are compelling because they are storytellers. The very best sponsored posts are the ones that are woven into stories and into the organic conversations that a blogger is already having.
  • (from digital shops) Major envelope pushing in the areas of branded entertainment and native ad content.

Higher Standards for Blog Networks
Related to the metrics item above, I think brands and agencies are going to start to hold blog networks to a higher standard and demand more results. This could mean that those who have been resting on their laurels (We’re mavens! We know moms!) could end up falling by the wayside. When push comes to shove, the networks that generate actual return on investment are going to be the ones left standing.

A Move from Spokespeople to Spokesbloggers
This has been a trend for a couple of years now (and is actually the key reason that I launched Sway), but I think that it’s a trend that will continue to be hot in 2013 and beyond. While some brands will still insist on using B and C grade celebrities to sell their products, I think that many other brands are realizing that bloggers are a viable (and in fact more influential) alternative. Highly influential bloggers have a magical combination of both celebrity and realness. The “real” factor is something that most TV stars can’t bring to the table, but that bloggers carry in spades. Loyal readers of blogs identify with the bloggers they love. They feel like they know the bloggers, and they have a very tangible feeling of trust in those bloggers. When paired with celebrity, this becomes a winning combination and is the reason why we’ll see more and more bloggers we love appearing on behalf of brands in TV commercials, on national morning shows and at live events.

So, how did I do? Do you think these trends are spot on or totally off track? And did you share any of your own social media trends on your blog? Share in the comments here!

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