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3 Social Media Predictions for 2012 that Nonprofits Shouldn’t Ignore

2012 promises to be an exciting year in social media. Facebook will be going public. Smartphones are changing how we access and share social content. Multimedia-based social networks such as Instagram and Pinterest are gaining popularity. It’ll be interesting to see how social media evolves in the coming year.

In the real-time, ever-changing world of social media, it’s important for nonprofits to be aware of new social platforms, trends, and technologies in order to maximize their visibility and reach.

Here are three social media predictions for 2012 that you shouldn’t ignore when developing your organization’s social media strategy.

1. Niche social networks will grow in popularity

Social media giants such as Facebook and Twitter will continue to dominate the social media landscape in 2012, but niche social networks like Quora, SlideShare, and Pinterest will steadily gain popularity. Since most niche social networks allow their members to share content through larger networks, niche networks offer additional opportunities for nonprofits to connect with their target audience in smaller, more focused communities. Your organization should have a presence on social platforms where you see results. Don’t count out niche social platforms just because they aren’t as large as Facebook or Twitter – this can be a good thing, especially if a large percentage of site members are in your target audience. Check out Care2, an online community that connects individuals, organizations, and responsible businesses passionate about making a difference.

Remember, each social network has its own personality. Spend some time paying attention to what content gets noticed by others and what appeals to you before posting your own content. First impressions are important in social media, especially in smaller communities. Jumping into the conversation without research can result in missed opportunities.  

2. Quality content will be even more important

In today’s age, social media users have more control over the content they see when they log onto social networks. With several for-profit and nonprofit companies all vying for attention, everyone will be under more pressure to create quality, authentic, and engaging content, or risk losing their audience. Boring and irrelevant content will not make the cut, so spend time developing engaging posts. If time is an issue, consider streamlining your social media processes to focus on creating buzzworthy content. If you’re still unable to create quality content consistently, consider outsourcing your content creation.

3.  Mobile will continue to go social

Close to 40 percent of social media users accessed social content from their mobile phone last year. Also, social networking apps were the third most-used apps among smartphone owners in the US. Don’t count on these numbers decreasing any time soon. How can your organization tap into this growing industry? First, make sure that your social content is tablet and mobile-friendly and can be viewed on different devices. For example, iPhones and iPads don’t support Adobe Flash. Creating content that’s viewable across different devices will ensure that it’s read by as many people as possible.

It’s easy to adopt an “I’ll deal with it as it comes” attitude when participating in social media. However, your nonprofit will benefit greatly by being prepared for what may come next.

What social media predictions do you have for 2012? What trends are you working into your organization’s social media strategy for this year?