If you’re reading this, then the world didn’t come to an end last night and I’m already batting 1000 on this year’s list of predictions. As 2012 draws to a close we’re apt to start looking ahead to 2013. I’m looking forward to another year of innovation and fast-paced change. It’s that fear of falling behind that keeps me on my toes and excited about what’s around the next corner. There's no way to tell if my crystal ball is working, so I've focused on some things I think are important. Here are some thoughts about some things I think we could see in 2013. 

Social Collaboration

Big businesses wanting to provide their employees with the tools and equipment they need to do their jobs in 2013 will be implementing social collaboration tools. Office workers spend an average of 28 hours a week writing emails, searching for information and collaborating internally. Furthermore, 80 percent of Americans work “after hours,” equaling an extra day of work per week. Providing workers with a platform that enables them to work more efficiently while having a life will make them more efficient and more productive. Look for products like Yammer, Sciomino and Tracky to find their way into more and more businesses in 2013. 

Inbound & Social Marketing for Financial Services Providers

2013 will be the year financial services providers pressure the SEC and FINRA to quickly find more creative ways for them to implement inbound and social media marketing plans. As it is now, firms with the desire to move forward are finding the many ways available for them to participate on social networks while complying with current regulations. Were the SEC and FINRA to open the door a little wide, more firms would take advantage of the many opportunities available to them. Regulations that come into play in February are a start, but only a start. 

Inbound & Social Marketing in Other Regulated Industries

Medical providers and professionals in other regulated industries are also going to recognize the benefits of inbound and social media marketing in 2013. I believe we will see medical providers and others begin to see the importance of expanding brand equity through social media. As they begin to broaden the metrics they use to determine ROI we’ll begin to see efforts made to grow engagement and leverage data through the implementation of social media marketing strategies. Where appropriate, monitored social communities will develop, empowering consumers and building practices at the same time. 

Businesses Recognize Everyone is a Marketer

2013 will be the year businesses recognize we are all marketers. They will reward us with incentives to market their products and services on our Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest pages. They will interact with us on Yelp and hope we watch their YouTube videos. Businesses will continue to recognize the two-way connectivity of social media and the importance of an active consumer community will increase in 2013 as businesses recognize the need to step up their outreach and the need for greater transparency. We may even see “consumer marketers” being rewarded for their efforts in the coming year. 

Social CRM Will Become The Norm

Many of us are already using products like Nimble that provide us with a single platform from which we access our email, contacts, calendar and social media listening and conversations. Having a social relationship management solution in place will become increasingly important in 2013. Sales and marketing teams are constantly looking for ways to listen in on social networks and respond quickly. If businesses can have a CRM in place that automatically associates Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles to a contact record, they are going to be more productive. In 2013 we’ll see an integrated message history with a contact – whether the exchange happened in email, Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. No more context switching between those applications to track down what a prospect is doing. All this information will all be stored in one place easily accessible by the user. 

I’m looking forward to 2013. I’m looking forward to the things I can’t predict. It’s the new products, social platforms and other innovation that I’m really looking forward to. Let’s hope 2013 is a year of progress in the world of inbound and social media marketing. Let’s hope businesses of all sizes thrive in 2013 and that more and more of them do so because they embrace the power of inbound and social media marketing and incorporate the need to develop appropriate strategies into their current marketing plans. 

What does your crystal ball see in 2013? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.