Monday, January 02, 2012

How Will Social Media Moms Fare in 2012? Here Are My Predictions

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I cut back on my "brands and bloggers" post in 2011partly because client work, family needs, and our new-to-us house (plus the related blog, of course) kept me busy. Also? I'm tired of the repetitive conversation about blogs and brands.

Just a few weeks ago, there was a flurry of posts about whether bloggers should ever write for free. I'd already chimed in about working for free in April, reiterating what I'd already said in 2010.


(For the record, I pretty much agree with these smart women.)

Still, I did step on my soap box a handful of times in 2011. I spoke on the topic of Social Media Moms and Money at Blissdom 2011 and Bloggy Boot Camp Chicago. I also had the privilege of participating on a brand/blogger panel at the Social Media Masters Summit (and I'll be a panelist at the January Publicity Club of Chicago meeting). And dishing with the Blogging Angels was a highlight of my social media year.

On this blog, the post about Blogger Behavior at Trade Shows was one of the most widely-shared pieces I've ever written.

And in September when a very vanilla social media influencer list came out, I published a more diverse list of leading social media moms.

Amy Oztan took the blogger-brand conversation in a new direction with her post on the Blogger Pledge, but the posts about the importance of making The Lists (or not) left me feeling more tired than wired.

So what piques my interest in the year ahead? (Besides finally moving into my house, I mean.) New conversations, new trends.

10 predictions for social media moms in 2012

1. Niche blogging will continue to grow, along with related niche community sites, targeted ad networks and conferences.

2. New social media sites will continue to pop up like weeds. Some of them will thrive (I'm looking at you, Pinterest), others will experience stunted growth after a strong start (you still hanging out on G+?) and the remainder are distant memories (Empire Avenue, anyone?).

3. Given the growing number of ways to be social and the pressure to be online, always, I suspect that many bloggers will burn out, or make drastic cutbacks in order to avoid doing so. In the last quarter of 2011, many mom bloggers deleted their Klout accounts, while others such as Sweetney pretty much quit Twitter altogether. Perhaps the future of blogging conferences is unplugged?

4. Back to Twitter...Twitter has changed, have you? As the general population adopts Twitter, many users seek to keep up with sports broadcasts, TV shows, and their favorite celebrities (whose Tweets may be coming from a publicist, anyway). Many everyday folks (as opposed to heavy users of social media) seek to connect with brands on Twitter to receive special deals and quick customer service. Will the die-hard social media type who helped make Twitter what it is today move on?

5. Vlogging will be bigger than ever in 2012. If you haven't added video blogs to your bag of social media tricks, it's time to get cracking! Danielle Smith, Jessica Bern and Jendi Pagano offer great advice to get you started.  Building up a presence on YouTube give readers a new way to connect with you, provides a chance for brands to see you in action, and brings your content to a new audience (albeit one with a lot of stupid comments). A robust video channel expands your social media footprint anywhere from a few hundred to a few thousand views each month.

6. In 2012, we'll see a growth in small, low-key, but impactful, real-life brand events. Brands will connect with local influencers to hold gatherings in intimate locations, like the host's home or a favorite local restaurant.

7. It's possible that this year we'll see both the rise and fall of mombloggers. Long-time influencers in the social media space will continue to develop well-compensated partnerships with brands. However, people identified as key influencers may not even have a YouTube channel or (gasp!) a blog. They might just be very active on Facebook, or perhaps they regularly interact on the brand's Facebook page. Does this mean that content will no longer be king by the end of 2012?

8. Flash your stats! Back in the digital dinosaur days (circa 2008) social media moms shared their stats with an awkward reluctance. Nowadays, many bloggers readily flash seductive peeks at their stats via sleek media kits, but brands will increasingly want to verify those numbers before securing major partnerships.

9. That said, brands sometimes look for talent over traffic. In 2012, there will still be companies that partner with bloggers for reasons that go beyond trying to tap into that person's community.

10. The annoying "spray and pray" broadcast pitching from brands to bloggers will continue to be a thorn in side of many a blogger. Nobody handles these pitches with more aplomb than The Bloggess. Learn from her. But before you unleash your fury on a lowly intern, keep in mind that just a couple of years from now,  she could be the person who hires bloggers for a big campaign. 

How do you think the space will shift during the coming year?


J James Online said...

These predictions are fantastic, Kim! 2012 is also going to be a year where I will make a lot of observations. I have a feeling this is going to be an active year for mom bloggers, even more so than previous years.

Leighann said...

I just had a conference call with a large company about their annual blogger retreat. Many agreed that they should look beyond just bloggers, but also include those active in Facebook, Twitter, and/or YouTube because they can also have a strong voice.

For me, 2012 is the year of "blog to book." Though it's a tricky balance of taking the time to create new content on the blog so that I am still reaching the intended audience of the book, and also writing the book itself.

I agree about niche blogs being big this year. My blog is definitely a niche blog (parenting a child with type 1 diabetes) and I hope that companies can see that there are a gazillion diluted "mommy blogger" voices, but women who may have a smaller audience can have a very large voice. And even companies who may not on the surface see that there is a deep connection between their company/product and a particular niche blog should look at the possibilities for partnership and developing relationships.

Once again, Kim, your finger is on the pulse of social media trends.

Charlene (@CharChronicles) said...

Love your post and spot on, of course. I completely agree about vlogging. But then again, I am biased since I am going to be a community leader at Blissdom 2012 on the very subject. Still wondering about Google+. Love the searchability it offers, but it is really clunky. And I still have my Klout account but if it keeps up on this roller coaster, I may throw in the towel. All in all, as a new blogger to the scene (blogging under 2 years), I hope that these interests will propel some of us forward in the social media space in 2012.

Kimberly/Foodie City Mom said...

Happy New Year Kim!
All of your points are helpful - especially #7. It will be interesting to see how 2012 plays itself out...

Adventures In Babywearing said...

I really do love this post. I think I see a lot of people burning out- especially myself. But more in the way of making money and writing elsewhere. I'm over that. I'm hoping to bring focus back to my own voice and blog this year, and will continue to partner with brands that are unique and special to me. That's where we all want to make our money anyway, isn't it? I want to call the shots.

I'm actually going to be vlogging this year. I'm kinda excited about it...

I hate to be a curmudgeon but I would more likely use social media if it didn't stop changing. The new twitter look has me checking in less and less. Same with Facebook. I think I'm on the road to living more offline than on, and will hopefully have much more to write about because of it.


Tracey - Just Another Mommy Blog said...

Thank God Google+ is dying out. I never did understand it.

I think that as long as we all realize that social media is a fluid media, we won't be surprised when the entire system is completely different in 12 months time.

Happy New Year, Kim!

Momma Cuisine said...

I love this, Kim! I'm glad that I've been implementing many of these positive predictions for 2012!

Momma Cuisine said...

I love this piece, Kim! Thanks for your input :)

Frosted Fingers said...

I know I need to vlog more. I hate the video camera!

I've been working more on adding recipes and trying to stick more to my niche lately. Not to say I won't branch out and do other things, but I need to focus on what I'm good at :)

Elena @CiaoMom said...

Fantastic (and very concrete) predictions. I am excited about the new year--I am actually getting ready to propose a social media campaign to a local company that currently has a blog with one post from October and no FB page. As a company that is targeting parents as potential clients, they need to get on FB at the very least.

Jendi said...

Thank you so much for mentioning me!

I plan to ramp up my vlogging even more this year. The other area I want to work on is affiliate marketing since I have a nice size mailing list built up.

Good luck to everyone!

Shari said...

I think social media moms who remain true to their brand will fare best. Why did you start your blog? If you approach every situation with that answer, then the rest just falls into place.

The one good thing about not being a first adopter is I don't have to delete any accounts. I am aware of all the social media options, I just choose not to participate. It's one of those things people who say "I'm so overwhelmed with social media" seem to forget. You can log on or you can opt out. It's still your choice.

Ana L. Flores said...

Fantastic observations..I'm particularly thankful to the link to Pico's NYT post. Really needed that.
I agree that we are getting past the overwhelmed stage and an internet sabbatical is more and more an enticing idea.

Robyn - Who's the Boss? said...

I've pretty much given up on Twitter and my blog FB page. Both are so out of date that it's pretty stupid to carry on. I've also cut back on blogging - now only posting a weekly essay. I'm very selective on product reviews and sponsorhsips now too. I'm just burnt out. Really crispy around the edges. For me, 2012 is the Year of Intention. I'm not picking up arbitrary writing gigs or such. Back to basics -- writing what I believe in.