More people are using social media than ever before – and for longer, on an increasingly diverse array of devices. As a result, newsfeeds are cluttered, and fans are more distracted and discerning. In order to succeed, brands will increasingly turn to real-time creative, analytics and paid media to ensure that high-performing content reaches as many people as possible, at the moment they are most interested, to spark conversations and deepen customer relationships. As media converges, brands will invest in ways to complement original, visual content with fan-sourced creative. Promoting high-performing content that aligns with new “real content” search drivers will become essential. Brands will host epic social events to excite the base and invest in tools that help them target and engage one-on-one more efficiently. And brands will have a little fun in the process, remembering that brandplay can go a long way to telling their story. There are 10 social media essentials that can help guide brands to achieve success in 2013. We explore these essentials and case studies of brands in action.