As we get ready to ring in the New Year, it’s natural to wonder what new changes 2012 will bring our lives and careers. Ask any social media expert– scratch that, ask anyone— what to expect from social media in 2012 and you’re likely to get the same answer: Social isn’t going anywhere any time soon.

2012’s shaping up to bring further growth for the world of social– in fact, if social isn’t an integral part of your strategy, you’ll be starting the new year behind all of your competitors.

It’s time to start thinking about your social strategy for 2012. Here are the top social strategy tips to consider for the upcoming new year.

1. Social is No Longer Preferred, It’s Expected

From SEO to content, site development to web design, social has crept into every aspect of the online world. In 2012, social won’t just be a good idea or business advantage; it’ll be expected. Just like they expect you to have a business website or phone number, your clients expect you to have a social presence. Simple as that.

2. Make Your Social Accounts Stand Out From the Crowd

Now that the whole world’s gone social, you’re going to have a harder time gaining fans and followers now that you’re facing an oversaturation of social sites and accounts. Embrace Facebook’s Timeline branding opportunities— or start attracting Facebook defectors to your budding Google+ page. Launch a social media contest or host live web chats on Twitter. Half-hearted tweets or status updates aren’t going to cut it anymore.

3. Reevaluate Your Social Media Efforts

New social sites are popping up everyday. You’re now balancing a Twitter account, G+ and Facebook pages, a WordPress blog, a Tumblr, a LinkedIn group, and a YouTube channel…and you’re debating launching a Pinterest account.

You’ve got a lot of social sites on your plate right now– and so does your customer base. We’ve reached an oversaturation of social media and we’re all struggling to keep up. 2012 is the year to look over your social media profiles. Which ones are attracting you plenty of attention and leads? Which ones are floundering?

Work out a strategy to refocus your efforts. Which social accounts do you want to focus on? Which can you afford to cut loose?

4. Turn Your Social Presence into a Social Campaign

Most companies still see social media as something to have (simply because everyone else has it). Social sites do plenty for your brand: they increase customer-company communication and accessibility, boost brand recognition, and provide a wealth of promotional and advertising opportunities. Too few companies use social media to its full potential. Why simply have a Twitter account when you can use your Twitter account to build your business?

Many businesses still don’t have an in-house social team, which is where an online marketing service company can come in handy. 2012 is the year to fully implement social into your marketing strategy.

What’s Your 2012 Social Strategy?

What are your predictions about the role of social media in 2012? What are you planning to implement into your own strategies? Share your predictions and plans in the comments!