Most small businesses are aware that effective use of social media is a key component of a successful online marketing strategy. But where is social media headed, and how can your business reap maximum rewards? Here are five social media trends to watch — and capitalize on — in 2013 (and beyond):

1. The Trans-Media Approach

Early on in social media’s development as a marketing tool it became clear that quality content was key. Businesses that didn’t capitalize on social media’s affinity for concise, well-written, attention grabbing content simply didn’t fully reap its rewards. Now things are moving to the next level in that quality content alone isn’t enough anymore. Brands, businesses and bloggers will be taking things to the next level via multiple platforms. Circulating a message from Twitter, to blog, to video, to email, to Facebook and then back again will be the next approach, a departure from the more static one or two channel approach of social media past.

2. Social Media Reviews

If online users aren’t buying from you yet, it’s possible they are doing research to determine where to buy. Part of their due diligence will likely include reading reviews and recommendations. These days, some of the most impactful and influential reviews tend to come from social media. If there are recommendations on your Facebook page, call attention to them as much as possible. If you lack reviews, try offering your followers an incentive for leaving feedback.

3. Mobile is Key

These days, more users than ever are logging into their social media profiles through mobile devices like smartphones and tablets. In 2013, gearing your content toward mobile devices will no longer be just an option; it will be crucial to your success. In order to leverage the power of mobile marketing, consider:

• Optimizing your social media profiles to look attractive and appealing on mobile platforms
• Determining user patterns for mobile usage in your industry
• Optimizing landing pages for mobile screens and/or using responsive web services
• Advertising on mobile apps

4. Facebook Ads

Including Facebook ads as part of your marketing strategy could help move your business to the next level. While somewhat pricey, the addition of social media ads can increase brand exposure, help cultivate user communities and drive traffic to your website. You’ll be able to track the effectiveness of each ad and fine-tune your campaign as you proceed.

5. (Even More) Buzz-Worthy Content

Developing and sharing uniquely creative and memorable content can contribute greatly to your brand awareness and success online. Now it’s time to take it to the next level. Adding impactful, creative visual content to YouTube, Pinterest and Instagram could generate massive free exposure for your brand if one of your postings “goes viral.” Take advantage of these channels and give each post your very best creative mojo.

These are five of the top social media marketing trends to watch for in 2013. Being aware of how social media is evolving can help your business or organization to stay ahead of the curve. You should enjoy social media and have fun with it — just make sure you’re maximizing its benefits and making the latest trends work for your business!

This post was written by Jeff Shjarback.  Jeff Shjarback, MBA is an Internet Marketing Consultant, Writer and Blogger that enjoys blogging about digital marketing, business, finance, economics, technology, websites and business philosophy.  To learn more about Jeff you can visit his Google Author Profile.