Important things seem to come in threes, and trends in social media are no different. Being such a flexible form of communication, social media developments are constant, but we’ve identified three that could potentially put you out of business or take you to the stars. It might sound a little on the melodramatic side, but these are some of the major developments in the social media industry that all savvy marketers should be keeping track of.

Social media is here to stay, and it’s an ever expanding, ever changing industry. From barely registering on the marketing map with the launch of Facebook in 2004, to comprising 8% of the average company’s marketing budget, it’s clear that social media has become an integral part of any successful marketing scheme, and projected figures show this investment in social media will increase by 20% in the next five years. It’s given brands the power to:

Acquire new customers – specifically, via Facebook, which is the most demographically specific targeting ad platform, rendering generalised targeting

Identify and profile existing customers – using social media integration apps like ‘Facebook connect’

Build relationships with prospective and existing customers – by sharing interesting content and resources to inform and entertain.

Yet for all businesses recognise the significance of using social media to their marketing advantage, it’s clear that there is a frequent challenge that companies face, and that’s attempting to measure the ROI that social media provides. In fact, about a third of marketers claim they can’t or don’t measure the ROI of their inbound marketing efforts. This might in part be due to the fact that companies can no longer outsource their social media management to external agencies – social media marketing has increasingly become an in house affair, and rightly so.

With these developments in social, it’s sometimes hard to remember that the core of the issue boils down to one critical question:

How do businesses find and create the conversations that matter?

Over the next few weeks, we will be identifying and exploring the three social media trends that could make your break your business, and how you approach them.

Getting New Customers: Interruption Advertising is becoming prohibitively more expensive, but not social

The Geographic Disrupter and Gold Rush: Real-time, location based digital content

Social Media Costs More Time and Personnel than other media channels