With more and more brands hopping on the social media bandwagon in 2013, there are bound to be some shifts in the way we use it for business.
We’re seeing hashtags show up in print advertising and television commercials, and short-form videos like Vine and Instagram Videos becoming more mainstream. You might say social media is here to stay.
So it’s fair to ask what you can expect in the coming year in social media marketing. To answer that question, I’ve scoured some of the best lists on the web and gathered some of the top social media trends for 2014 for you.
Social Media Trends for 2014
1. The rise of social paid advertising
All the major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn) now offer paid advertising, and they’ll continue to work on making it better. Just looking at some stats, it appears that brands will want to use it:
- Brands that use the retargeted ads in Facebook users’ newsfeeds report 49 times more clicks than right-hand sidebar ads.
- LinkedIn Sponsored Updates see a 45% higher engagement than posts on Facebook or Twitter.
- Twitter offers three different kinds of paid advertising: promoted accounts, tweets, and trends.
2. Specialized social media platforms and sites are going to become more popular
For the same reason you target your business and marketing, soon you’ll be able to target your social media campaigns.
Some existing platforms like LinkedIn already let you target particular segments and audiences with your updates. However if you want to reach an even more specific audience, try looking at a niche social media platform. Some examples include Untappd, Ravelry, Gentlemint, ThirdAge, and Meet Pips.
3. Google+ will become a major factor in social media
Often an afterthought to many social media campaigns, Google+ will see an increased presence in 2014.
Google reports that over 300 million people visit G+ every month. It’s a big part of their search algorithm, it rewards sites with high SEO IQ, and when you add in Google Authorship, it’s easy to see why.
See how to set up your own Google+ Company Page here.
4. Brands have to think of themselves as publishers
As quality content continues to be important, brands are realizing that they need to hire good writers to work along with their marketing staff.
They’re realizing the value in assembling a good team of writers, marketers, analysts, and designers. Working with their own newsroom-like departments, or outside vendors like Press Feed will allow them to easily create a well-rounded and robust content strategy that offers everything from social, mobile, and graphic content.
5. Employee advocacy will be formalized
Forward-thinking brands will codify processes and procedures for their staff that will empower their employees to speak up for the brand (and not be penalized).
Innovative companies will use social media to gain valuable insight into what’s happening within their company, so they can make better future business decisions.
Clearly, social media proficiency is seen as a core business asset rather than a liability.
6. Social media jobs will change drastically this year
It’s out with the Social Media Manager, and in with the SEO Specialist, Social Media Strategist, Online Community Manager, Social Media Marketing Manager, Social Media Marketing Coordinator, and Blogger or Social Media Copywriter (say Business Insider and Hootsuite).
7. Big business will use social media even more in their campaigns
According to John Jantsch of Duct Tape Marketing, they’ll use it to create brand awareness, to hire new staff, drive lead generation, and ultimately, serve customers better.
We live more and more of our lives online, so it only makes sense that brands will continue their research into social media and how it can benefit their bottom line.
8. Hashtags will be everywhere
9. Pay attention to news trends and use them
Gary Vaynerchuck calls this “trendjacking” in his book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook. It means you use a trending news topic, create social media content for it, and release it right away. It’s only useful for that period in time; however, it can be extremely powerful and compelling.
My personal favorite is Oreo’s You Can Still Dunk in the Dark during the blackout of the 2013 SuperBowl. But there are other great examples like DiGiorno’s live tweeting during NBC’s live broadcast of The Sound of Music, or some UK brands “celebration” of the Royal Birth of Prince George last summer.
10. Quality content will be even more important
Ann Handley of Marketing Profs says it’s the foundation to all good content, regardless of content type. While I won’t quote the “should be retired” cliche about content and royalty, it is true. Produce only quality content, and you’ll win on social media.
11. Content must be relevant to be useful
Consumers are easier to target in today’s market, so making the experience relevant will be important. That means using the right social media platform, hashtags and keywords, and producing the right compelling content to engage your followers.
Companies like ThinkGeek encourage users to submit Action Shots of themselves using the products, which is an easy way to measure the ROI of their products and social media reach.
12. Becoming more mobile
As tablets and smartphones get more powerful, we’re using them more and more on the go. According to a Prosper Insights report, only 33% of mobile websites are “very good,” which means there’s a lot of room for improvement.
13. Brands will use more video, in particular, micro-video
This is an extension of the fact that people like to consume video on their mobile devices.
The video platforms are becoming more reliable and brands are able to monetize them more easily. Video producers are capitalizing on this, and creating videos for brands that are of high quality and are highly entertaining.
The good news is that almost half of all video watchers complete the entire video, with a whopping 79% completion rate on those on auto-play .
14. SlideShare becomes a key influencer
With over 60 million monthly visitors, and 130 million pageviews, SlideShare is one of the most visited websites in the world. Users can share presentations directly from the site, or embed them in their own.
It’s one of the easier ways to share content. It offers a unique relationship between content and distribution that brands and business should harness.
Of course these aren’t the only social media trends out there, since, by its very nature, social media is fluid and dynamic. But I think these are the biggest ones that we’ll see in business over the next 12 months.
Do you agree? What trends do you think will be big in 2014? Let me know in the comments.
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