Guest Post by: Jon Stokes

Last year I wrote about the social media landscape infographic, highlighting the placement of Facebook and Google as all-encompassing, central networks. Fred Cavazza has published his 2012 version, and this year’s edition has quite a bit to take in – (click the thumbnail to see the full size image).

The big three

Facebook remains the go-to network, and the arrival of OpenGraph and Timeline mean that other networks (such as Spotify) or brands, can really integrate with a user’s experience through Facebook apps.

Twitter, while it may not offer options for “playing” or “buying”, does deserve its place as a central network, with it being a significant driver of news, links and information from other networks.

The arrival of Google+ since last year’s infographic is the most obvious change – and while it’s still early days for Google’s take on social, the implications for social search mean that we’re likely to see much more of it in 2012.

Almost as many devices as networks

One addition to this year’s “landscape” is the broad range of devices that we can use to access the social web. There tends to be a strong temptation to declare each new year as “the year of mobile” or “the year of social TV”. With smartphone ownership in the UK exceeding 50% of market share, the need to make content accessible and optimised for platforms other than lap and desktops is key.

What does this landscape mean for brands?

Even though this infographic is a summary of the range of social networks out there, it really goes to show the need to have a clear social media strategy.

  • Think about how to maintain consistent branding and tone-of-voice across your chosen networks.
  • Really think about user-experience, especially for bespoke websites, and consider all the devices that users may connect with.
  • Stay abreast of the constantly shifting landscape! This time last year Pinterest was a relatively unknown platform, today it is the new social media darling. It will be interesting to see how it fares in 2013!
  • Original Post: http://www.freshnetworks.com/blog/2012/03/social-media-landscape-2012/