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Social Media: 3 Big Trends to Watch in the Next 6 Months

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Can you believe we've just sailed past the first half of 2012? Social media continues to make inroads into our business lives and is finally being taken seriously by business leaders in most industries from entertainment to healthcare to financial services to non-profits and beyond.

Here's 3 Big Trends to Watch for the Next 6 Months:

1. Social Goes Visual

From Pinterest to Instagram and more, social has gone visual. The way that news and information is organized and distributed has gone visual. Curating and social sharing of content visually is only going to get bigger. Pictures are the future of the Internet and both brands and consumers can't get enough of it.

2. SoLoMo in the Cloud
The proliferation of smartphones shows no signs of slowing down. Location-based shopping and sharing is on the rise, and everything these days is social. Put that all in the cloud and businesses are producing multi-billion dollar ecosystems that are changing how we communicate, collaborate, and coordinate resources and information.

3. Brands as Entertainment Channels
As we continue to turn to the Internet to watch, consume, and share entertainment, big brands are building media channels. Brands like Red Bull offer sports, TV, music and lifestyle content. Everything is shared socially, with the brand's social media sites linking back to the website.

Also on the rise is celebrity-influenced social commerce sites like Gweneth Paltrow's GOOP or the BeachMint/HomeMint/JewelMint series.

Companies are now at a competitive disadvantage if they have not embraced the power of social media and understand how it applies to the enterprise. I talk to CEO's and decision makers every day and I'm encouraged by what I hear. They're finally acknowledging that social media has become the new rocket fuel powering all aspects of the organization today.

Beverly Macy is the CEO of Gravity Summitand the Co-Author of The Power of Real-Time Social Media Marketing. She speaks extensively on social media and disruptive communications. Email her at beverlymacy@gmail.com