We made it, folks! December 21 has come and gone, and we are still standing. Not that there was much question of that, but having lived through a couple of alleged doomsday predictions in my time, it is always fun to add another one to the old notch list. Now 2013 is just a tiny jump away, a new year full of possibilities and who knows what else.

Of course, it isn’t all New Years resolutions and counting down the months until summer. No, it is also time to start preparing that social marketing plan for the coming year, a plan that will need to come into effect within the next week.

Thankfully, most of us find this easy at this point. Coming up with a way to engage with customers is much simpler now that the customers themselves are actually looking for the same opportunities. They want to talk to us, to connect and find out about the latest deals, blog posts, services or whatever else it is your industry specializes in. You just have to know what tiny tweaks to make along the way.

I would say there are three major trends that will be relevant over the next twelve months.

1. Intersite Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing Trends

If you are anything like a large chunk of online marketers, then you have been sticking mainly to a single site for the bulk of your social engagement. For most that will be Facebook, but some have taken to Google +, or (more commonly) Twitter. But it is time to expand your reach and start a wider social media campaign through multiple accounts.

That doesn’t mean you have to have all of them, and what works for you will depend largely on your business model and your own creativity. But I recommend having a Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube account, at least. If you have an active blog, you should also sign up with something like StumbleUpon. Even if it means hiring someone to help you maintain them, you should have an active and unique plan for each site and be using them regularly.

Tip: Read this absolutely awesome article from DirJournal directory on set social media marketing goals for 2013 and also use Viral Content Bee to cross-promote your articles among multiple social media networks.

2. Tracking Analytics and Metrics

Analytics

It may be true that most of the progress and success you make with social media will be evident when you see your visibility going up. But there are much more subtle elements that aren’t so easy to see. When you are trying to find patterns, trends and data about your target audience, you need to have the hard numbers to get you by.

Those can be found using programs that measure the metric and analytic numbers from your social media profiles. There are so many of these out there that coming up with a comprehensive list would be difficult to do. Instead, I will just recommend using a social media dashboard that covers all of your social profiles together and tracks them while allowing you to run each one from a single hub. The only exception will be Pinterest, which isn’t covered on most. You will need a Pinterest specific app for that.

3. Never Underestimate Visual Content

Visual Content

Going back to the Pinterest example, what makes it so very popular? Why is it growing so quickly, when it is aimed so heavily towards a specific demographic? The innovation of the concept is part of it, but the real winner is visual content.

Photos are much more likely to both catch the attention of a user and be shared. So whether you are using Pinterest or instead posting that content on a site like Facebook, it is important to make it a big part of your social campaign. Visual content isn’t so much a trend as it is a staple, and one that is becoming more relevant by the year.

Tip: Here’s a collection of free images for bloggers

Any tips for social marketing trends to watch in 2013? Let us know in the comments.

Image Credits: 1, 2, 3.