Social Media Marketing Predictions
Several social media apps have been launched in the last year, with many of them trying to fill niches that the other social media platforms have not yet filled. Many platforms have gained in popularity, while others flounder like a sinking ship. Managing your business’ online profile costs time and money, so it is important to know where you should be investing your resources to get the maximum return on investment. Being aware of the newest trends in social media will put you in a good position to capitalize on them as they grow, and hopefully even get a jump on your competition by being ahead of the curve. Here are a few predictions on what you should know about social media for the latter half of 2014.
Social Media Outgrows its Luxury Tag, Becomes Necessary
In many circles, social media was already considered a necessity for brands and marketers wanting to reach and engage with larger audiences. Perceptions about social media have evolved from nice to have, to must have, and 2014 will likely see the onslaught of even the latest adopters setting up accounts on one or more platforms.
Most businesses that already had a significant online presence are keenly aware that they must integrate content with their chosen social media platforms to get the best returns, having seen the positive effect that social media can have on lead generation, revenue and referral traffic. Many companies have even moved away from entrusting social media to their existing employees and are hiring full time social media managers.
Google+ Set to Become a Major Crowd-Puller
Facebook is still leading the social media pack in terms of the number of users, but Google+ is quickly gaining steam. Currently, around 343 million people use Google+ every month. There are reports that businesses who use Google+ are receiving a boost in their ranking on Google’ search engine, which is a benefit difficult to refuse for companies who want to remain on top of the google search result pages. Google Authorship, which places an emphasis on original content, will also bring huge changes to Google’s search engine algorithm. Businesses who are already dabbling in a number of social media platforms and are not seeing concurrent gains for their business will increasingly turn to Google+, which has the promises of a ‘one-size fits all’ solution.
Image-Centric Social Media Networks will Gain in Popularity
Content based on text is slowing losing ground to image and video-based content. There are some niches where text will still retain its utility, but these are becoming fewer and farther between. Visual stimuli are going to become an increasingly large part of content strategy, as users have been proven to share pictures and videos far more often than text. Picture based social media site Pinterest will become more popular in 2014, after shedding its image as a female-centric site. Other image-based social media sites like Path, Mobli, Tumblr and SlideShare will continue to add more subscribers in 2014. Businesses should be more mindful of the ‘sharability’ of their image-based content to improve their returns from social media efforts.
Micro-video will Increase its Share of the Social Media Space
First we had blogs, then we had lengthy wall posts on social media sites like Facebook, and then came the age of keeping it brief, with 140 character posts on Twitter. The latest kid on the block is the micro-video. Micro-video is making a huge wave on the social media scene as can be seen from the popularity of micro-video sharing sites like Vine. Vine allows you to capture and share videos of only six seconds duration, but its explosion in popularity proves that no video is too short when properly done. Instagram has also launched a micro-video sharing feature, which allows you to capture micro-videos of 3-15 seconds duration. Video sharing is even more evidence to the argument that image-based content is the next big thing in social media.
LinkedIn Poised for Major Growth in B2B Sphere
LinkedIn has retained its position as the premier social networking site for professionals. The site has 238 million users, and is still growing at a rapid rate. Moreover, after launching its game-changing ‘Influencers Program’, LinkedIn is on track to becoming the largest source of curated career content for professionals. As the site grows in stature, B2B marketers will find a great opportunity to connect with users in that market.
Although Twitter and Facebook are in no danger of decline at this time, they will have to innovate to keep up with Google+ and image-based social media. 2014 is shaping up to be the year when social media marketing comes into its own and can no longer be ignored as an essential part of any company’s online marketing strategy.