As 2011 winds down and we prepare to kick off 2012, many digital soothsayers have peered into their crystal balls to predict the coming year in social media. We’ve searched far and wide to find what they have to say.

I used Scoop.it to curate and organize the findings.

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Of the Scooped predictions and trends, here are my top 9 picks.

1. Content Marketing: Brands = Publishers.
2012 will see many businesses become content marketers, if they’re not already. They will become publishers and distributors of their own original content.

According to Social Media Explorer, “2012 is the year content marketing hits the social media trends list and the mainstream, because content marketing is now a concept that executives can finally sink their teeth into”.

2. Convergence: It’s All Coming Together.
Convergence, in the technological sense, is the merging of different technological systems to merge toward performing similar tasks. In the year to come, social media will increasingly converge with everyday life, marketing, technology and data.

As David Armano points out in his post on the Harvard Business Review, “trans-media” experiences, such as Coke’s and Domino’s, will increasingly be used in “bringing together real opinions from real people pulled from a digital source and displayed in the real world”.

3. Measurement and ROI: How Are We Really Performing
Companies will need to become better at measuring social media activities to achieve more integrated marketing campaigns in 2012, according to a recent report on eMarketer.

Metrics will go beyond counting impressions, subscribers and followers to new ways of measuring prospect conversion and revenue generation.

The ability to effectively measure social media ROI will aslo become essential for many companies in the coming year. In Adam Metz’ report on commpro.biz, he says we can expect to see more social platforms and social media management systems that will offer the ability to assess and maximize ROI.

4. Mobile: Social Media On The Go
As Mart Prööm reports on DreamGrow, social media will be used more and more on mobile devices in 2012. In turn, mobile apps will become more social. This surge in mobile will require brands to ensure their content is mobile and tablet friendly.

5. Social Corporate Budgets: More Dollars Makes Sense
A recent study by StrongMail projects that corporate social media budgets will grow in 2012. To date, most companies have been focused on experimentation and pilot projects in social media. Expect to see much larger portions of corporate budgets devoted to social media in the coming year.

6. Gamification: Playing To Win
Social gaming will begin to influence people’s behavior in the real world in the coming year.

“Game-like qualities are emerging within a number of social apps in your browser or mobile device. From levels, to leaderboards, to badges or points, rewards for participation abound. It’s likely that the trend will have to evolve given how [much] competition for our time and attention this gaming creates,” according to Armano in his post on Harvard Business Review.

7. Integration: Becoming Closely Knit
Companies will need to ramp up their efforts to integrate social media to into their corporate websites and email, especially where transactions occur. Coordinating messages and ensuring consistency across all social channels will be essential to a greater level of success in 2012.

In Angela Hausman’s post on Business 2 Community,  she states, “firms must move beyond simply adding share buttons on their email newsletters and print ads.  They need to fully integrate efforts across platforms, media, and functional groups”.

8. Influence: Who’s Who in Social Media
In 2012, brands will place greater emphasis on identifying who truly has influence within their markets, according to Social Media Explorer. The race among influence measurement platforms, such as Klout, Kred or PeerIndex, will continue as they strive to develop a system that will reward the top influencers in a given niche market.

9. Content Curation: Greater Than the Sum of All Parts
As businesses become publishers, it will make sense for them to curate the new and existing content related to their brands and their markets. Exclusively creating new content is demanding and daunting for many companies. Resorting to automation and aggregation results in a less than ideal user experience. Content curation can provide the best of both content creation and automation.

“Competitive advantage goes to companies who quickly figure out how to enable effective aggregation curation. Look for rapid innovation in this field’, as Beverly Macy puts it in her report on Huffington Post.

Take the Scoop that I created as an example: it exposed me to content that I might not otherwise have found and it gave me tools to organize and add value for end users.

Did I leave anything out? What do you think will be the top trends for social media in 2012?

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