Lee Odden

Social Media Predictions for 2013

Lee Odden     Online Marketing, Social Media

Social Media Predictions 2013Companies of all sizes are in search of answers towards better social media strategy and at TopRank Marketing we’re helping to make that happen.

This week Jolina Pettice and I completed giving a 2 day social media and content marketing workshop for a $400 million company and a few weeks ago I gave a presentation to executives at a $22 billion company on how social media could advance some of their objectives. The way forward with social media is top of mind for many businesses and organizations.

Many marketers possess core knowledge, but they’re often missing confidence on the why, what, who and how of social media that can advance customer and business goals. Answering those concerns is one of the reasons why I like this new ebook from Dell. Of course, I also like it because they asked me to participate. The group of thought leaders tapped to provide forward thinking insights about social media is impressive and includes social media smarties Ann Handley, Michael Brito, Paul Gillin, Shel Israel and many more.

Take a look, I think you’ll find some interesting advice. Below the embedded deck, you’ll find my complete set of answers.

Here are my answers to the full set of questions I was asked, I hope you find them useful and interesting.

What is the one social media behavior you would like to see more of in 2013? What needs to stop?

Just one? OK. Let’s talk about the hashtag shall we? Here’s three hashtag behaviors that need to stop as soon as you finish reading them.

1. #followfriday – #ff has jumped the shark. It’s over with people. Done. Buh bye.
2. Speaking of #hashtags, #let’s #just #stop #with #the #hashtagging #of #every #word #in #a #tweet #OK? #You #keyword #spammer #you.
3. This one I am guilty of myself, so I’ll come clean for all to see: Using the #hashtag in places it wasn’t intended. Like on Facebook. And Birthday cards. Or the specials chalkboard at coffee shops.

What social media channel do you feel is primed to grow its audience base the most in 2013 and which one may disappear?

There are a few ways to look at growth in a meaningful way. There’s quantity, as in which network adds more people. But are they the right people for your business? There’s also quality, as in who adds the most people that actually use the service. Going to a party where no one talks to each other is #boring. Oops, there goes the hashtag.

Then there are things like rate of growth or geographic growth like in the U.S. versus internationally. I think Pinterest and Google+ will continue to grow rapidly as will YouTube. I think there will be some mobile and tablet apps we haven’t even heard of yet that will surprise people the way Twitter did. Snapseed anyone?

As for disappear, I think Path’s days are numbered. If it wasn’t for Jason Falls, I would be off Path in a second.

Which social media metric is the most overrated? Which metric is most underrated?

Overrated: Likes.

Underrated: How many people link to me or who mention @leeodden on Twitter. I can’t think of a more qualitative social signal than a nice link to one of my blog posts to show what an impressively smart person or brand you are 🙂

Actually, revenue is underrated when it comes to social media metrics. The trick is connecting the dots. As much as it makes sense to measure KPIs that don’t directly represent value to the business until better monetary methods can be figured out, companies should not lose sight of monitoring and measuring the performance of their social media activity. Never settle for fans, friends and follower counts or comments or impressions. Strive for measuring impact, directly or indirectly, on business goals no matter how difficult it is.

Can you share your best advice for a brand to connect with their audience on a one-on-one level? Eg.: create a real, lasting and meaningful connection.

Do brands actually need to connect on a one to one level in a real, lasting and meaningful way to be successful? As a consumer, the idea of a real, lasting and meaningful connection with a box of soap kind of scares me. But I get where you’re going.

The best advice about how brands can connect with people in a meaningful way is to have a great product or service and to be genuine when talking about it. To be liked, you need to be likable, so figure out what that means for your customers. Find out what they really care about and what their goals are. Then find a way for your product and company to be the best answer and resource for those things. Tell stories about how your brand makes those connections. Be meaningful, not mechanical. Your audience will love your for it. Unless you’re a box of soap.

What are some of your predictions about social media going forward? Which of the contributors to this Dell eBook do you agree with? Or disagree?

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Lee Odden About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on B2B marketing topics including content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely running, traveling or cooking up something new.


  1. Avatar Gordon Diver says

    Great post and I shall take FF under advisement and amend my ways. Thanks Lee – as always solid information surround by humor.

  2. Terrific post. Lots of good ideas on how to move forward — and what crazy stuff to leave behind.

  3. Glad you mentioned the FF, it drives me crazy too. Great post, now off to share it.

  4. Thanks so much Lee for adding your perspective! It was fun to gather ideas from all of you smart people!

    I totally agree that tying social efforts to business objectives is imperative. Companies can’t afford to invest without tying it to revenue.

    Global Community Strategy, Dell

  5. Great information! Thank you so much!

  6. Good post, Lee! Great answers. Esp the one about hashtags! #CommentsAreJustLongerTweetsNotOnTwitter

  7. Really interesting ideas, never thought about it.

  8. Interesting responses. Surprised the FB Google+ debate isn’t listed. More and more people seem tired with FB (though I think often times it’s because they need new friends or to simply trim their list) while Google+ seems to be picking up steam again. I’d also list increased adoption and focus on data/insights.

  9. Avatar Stephnie says

    Its an eye catching idea and i never thought about it before. i am definitely gonna work on it.
    Thanks dear for sharing

  10. Avatar Sheetal Sharma says

    Thanks for the post, good help for young marketers like me who take care of social media marketing at Synechron.

  11. Avatar Larry Newcomer says

    Especially liked the comment “The best advice about how brands can connect with people in a meaningful way is to have a great product or service and to be genuine when talking about it.”

  12. Nice post but still couldn’t understand what is the mean of #ff ?

  13. With experience and knowledge, you can start realizing how your customers feel about the services and products you are offering. If you can understand this thing, you can serve the customers as well as your business tremendously. Even the feedback that you get helps in coming up with a new product, or upgrading it with new features that a majority of them likes.
    When you create a product keeping the latest technology trends and customer requirements in mind, the product is more likely to serve you in every sense. Even, people have become more expressive where they openly share their opinions regarding the products. For this, many companies, in fact, all of them create their page on a social media site where they receive comments on their latest updates. This information highly proves helpful.
    Digital media services also provide you with the chance of interacting well with customers. This builds trust and popularity, which in turn, makes your efforts rewarding. Even understanding a consumer’s take on the product becomes easy where it helps in working towards client satisfaction and product enhancement thereby resulting in business expansion.

  14. Avatar Freeman Student says

    Great post Lee! I completely agree with you on the over use of hashtags. Especially on facebook where it is absolutely pointless. On another note, I hope Google+ can continue to grow because I think it has a great interface and I like the ideas behind it. I think it has struggled to gain traction in the Unites States because people are so attached to their Facebook profile. It definitely has potential though. Interesting point you make about “connecting the dots” as well.

    • I’m really not a hater of hashtags. I use them all the time. Soon Facebook will be incorporating them. I just wish people didn’t overuse them 🙂