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2011 was the year that social media went viral in South Africa: The number of “experts” in the field mushroomed, there were seminars, talks and a scramble for business.  Out of the confusion came one, unassailable fact:  Business must go social.

In 2012 the international trend will be Social Intelligence with an emphasis on knowledge, intelligence about your business, industry and competitors.  This is and always has been the first step in developing a social media programme that is sustainable. Monitoring the social web and knowing what is being said about you, your industry and your competition.

And through this intelligence, real and effective social strategies will evolve.  The greatest effect of this will be seen in the office environment with the introduction of social platforms as part of every day workflow, much like email is used now.

Dell had great foresight in this regard.  Already in 2010 they put 5000 employees through social media university.

2012 will see social begin to dominate as communication platforms for business. We may even see email numbers go down for the first time since 1994.  At 260 billion emails a day, who can stand to get any more?

This will require a re-engineering of communication systems and training at all levels, including the C-suite (more accurately, especially the C-suite).

We will see marketing departments no longer being the sole custodians of social communication.  To be sure they will continue to be key players but for a business to go social every employee in every department must know and make use of it.  Only the most backward and resistant will still block & ban social access in the workplace.

It’s going to be a dynamic world in 2012.