2014 is going to be a killer year for Social Media and Small Business.
Social Media allows small businesses to leverage technology to even the playing field with bigger brands and companies. In 2014, some of the trends we saw in 2013 will continue to rise while others will fall. But it all comes down to how you communicate with your customers, how you leverage relationships, and of course how you share GREAT content.
Content is what businesses are built on today. It always has been and always will be.
So without further ado, here are 11 trends for 2014 and how you can get ready:
1. Mobile Is About To Go Mainstream
Every website needs to be optimized for mobile. This means having responsive design and thinking about how people interact with your business via mobile devices should be one of your top priorities. As a small business it's time to make the switch to a mobile site if you haven't yet, and think about ways that you can get in front of your customers through their phone. Yes, this include Mobile Apps, SMS, and emails that are designed to be viewed on your cellular phone.
2. Niche Sites Will Make An Impact
As Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus make it harder to get found organically, niche sites are going to prove to be more valuable than ever to get in front of your customers. Not only are niche sites highly targeted, they can also provide a much more affordable solution for advertising.
3. Blogging Will Remain The #1 Way To Generate New Business
Creating great content on a regular basis and driving traffic back to your site is going to remain the number #1 way to generate new leads. This means as a small business, if you don't have a blog yet, it's time to start one. Let us handle it for you. We're the pros.
4. Spammy Content Will Be Eliminated Everywhere
We've seen it happen on Google and now it's happening on Facebook. Spammy content is not going to get you anywhere, and the big sites are cracking down. Think about creating valuable content that resonates with your customers.
5. Google Plus Will Grow Faster Than Ever
G+ is my new favorite social network. With the search benefits from Google and the increased user base, it's likely that your audience will be making the move from Facebook to G+. Being a step ahead of the game is a good idea. Plus, they are about to launch promoted posts (+Post ads) that will get your content to a larger audience than ever before. Get on Google Plus as soon as possible.
6. Triggered Emails Will Increase Sales
Consumers are looking to connect with brands and by providing custom content for them based on their behavior is going to help you increase your sales. We love Infusionsoft, and you should too.
7. Ambassadors And Influencers Will Hold The Power
Influencer marketing and word-of-mouth marketing is going to be one of the most powerful ways to get in front of customers in a new way. By empowering your best customers to spread the word for you, you can gain trust in a new audience and hopefully turn them into new customers.
8. Image-Centric Sites Will Continue To Rise
Instagram, Pinterest and probably many more sites will come about in 2014 that are based around images. While text is not dead, you need to think of ways to incorporate images into your strategy that compliment your written context.
9. Video Consumption Will Increase
Whether it's an educational video or an ad, consumers will look to video content to learn about businesses. Video will continue to create meaningful relationships between business and consumer. Think video customer service here. Oh, and many times they will be watching video on their mobile phone. You know what that means. SEE #1 above.
10. Sharing Will Be More Important Than Ever
Social media sharing will be get ramped up and everyone and their mother will be doing it. While this is a good thing for getting your content shared, it also presents challenges to get found. The key here is to communicate to your customer directly and relevantly and you'll be found. Plus, it's going to help your search rankings.
11. Marketing Will Be About Adding Value
It's no longer about pushing yourself out there, it's about how you provide value to your customer that matters. Whether this is through blogging, video, or email marketing, in order for people to stay engaged, they have to perceive value.
2014 is going to be an exciting year. Be sure to stay on top of as many of these exciting Social Media trends and Online Marketing trends as you possibly can.