The tremendous growth of social media has made it a valuable marketing tool for businesses of all sizes. Social media networks have become mandatory places for online advertising strategy. During the past few years, the explosive growth of online social media sites like Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Twitter and Pinterest has resulted in billions of people becoming registered users. They will be mandatory tools in 2014, and chances are that most companies will have exclusive departments handled by expert writers who will independently handle the firm's social media strategy.
In this post I'll write about the expectations for the coming year. In a sphere that's changing continuously due to expanding technologies and innovative thinking, some social marketing trends will also change, while others may remain the same or change their policies to stay in the running in this highly competitive field.
Mobile Usage Will Further Increase
Few people on our planet do not possess a mobile phone. Statistics show that 75 percent of people living on earth have at least one mobile gadget and that number is going up rapidly. Besides, most people who have mobiles also have a connection to the internet. As more and more Smartphones are hitting the market regularly and coming with additional and diverse functions, you can be sure that by 2014 the number of people you will be able to contact and share your content with will have risen exponentially. This is a feature of our technological world that will keep on improving as well as providing handheld gadgets at lesser and lesser costs. This makes it imperative for marketers to have a greater presence on social media for a large percentage of people holding mobile devices will also be on social media.
Google+ Will Dominate
What makes Google+ so special and an essential place to do your social marketing? The answer is simple: The giant search engine's social platform is second only behind Facebook in terms of monthly visitors. But what makes Google+ stand out is that it's good for both the social network and the vital search engine optimization of an online business. Google+ uses social signals to provide an exclusive experience to every single user. If you take Google Authorship into account it becomes clear that Google+ will be the foremost social media site in 2014.
Google+ Necessary for B2B Marketers
A content marketing authority states that more B2B marketers are using social media networks to endorse their content today than they did last year. And their favorite platform is Google+ -- 55 percent of marketers are using Google+ for their B2B marketing efforts. And with Google+ predicted to grow greatly next year it will become an even more essential tool for content and social sharing. And Google Authorship and Google Author Rank will be the major trends in SEO in 2014.
LinkedIn Great for Pros
There's no social media site that's as good for business professionals as LinkedIn. The site has some 238 million users, and is being increasingly used worldwide. LinkedIn's Influencers Program is gearing up to be another social networking site and also a great source of content creation for professionals. In 2014, it will be even better to be 'linked in' so that you are not 'left out!'
Pinterest to the Fore
The visual design trend of Pinterest is what makes it a social media platform to look out for in the coming year. It has become an essential marketing tool for a large number of businesses and has impacted many various platforms. Therefore, if you have not yet started using Pinterest to acquire new customers and build up your brand, begin right away.
Images Will Matter More than Text
The adage, 'a picture tells a thousand words,' will hold good next year thanks to the effectiveness of images over text. The rise of social media networks like Tumblr, Slideshare and Pinterest has been largely due to the fact that they focus on images rather than text - though the text is and will be an important aspect of online marketing campaigns. Since content is valuable only if it is shared, content that has images is more likely to be shared than content that's stuffed with text. It is predicted that in 2014 the more images content has the more likely it will be shared. Mobli and Path, two other image-oriented social sites, will keep on growing as businesses will have to take note of the importance of sharing pictures on their blogs and sites to obtain noteworthy gains from their social media marketing endeavors.
Twitter's Time Will Come
A study has shown that a large number of young people are leaving Facebook to join Twitter. Many of these teenagers said that the microblogging site has become their most essential social networking tool. It is believed that many people who were on Twitter and left it will return to give the network another try. Also, since Twitter is going to go public, one can expect great changes for the better in 2014. Many brands, airlines and hotels in particular, use Twitter. More users mean that Twitter will consolidate its position as a terrific customer service network.
Videos Will Remain Solid
Videos, especially the shorter ones, will get more popular on social media for marketing purposes. YouTube is leading the pack and is expected to continue its domination in 2014. The figures for YouTube reflect its authoritative nature - every hour 100 hours of videos are being uploaded on the channel. Instagram and Vine, both short video platforms, are also likely to grow. In fact, in 2014, shorter will most probably be better! People are getting busier every passing day; they want information quickly and so Vine and Instagram can expect to develop. Instagram's 15 seconds videos are seen double the time that of their pictures. And Vine's six seconds videos are showing great promise. Thus, come 2014 and more marketers will be using these tools.
MySpace on the Upward Move
MySpace has had a thorough alteration and re-branding job done earlier in 2013 and it looks like it will get another lease on life. MySpace may be the surprise pick of 2014 on the strength of its offer of an iPhone app which enables users to network, get private communications and hear their very own, personalized radio station. It certainly won't give Twitter or Facebook a run for their money but it could shake a leg or two in the music and band lovers network and thus become a network that marketers will need to look at a second time.
Marketing on Snapchat
Normally you wouldn't associate Snapchat, the hot mobile app, with marketing, but in the future you may. Snapchat, as its name indicates, sends messages, pictures or short videos - 'snaps' - which auto-destruct after a little while - from one to 10 seconds. The reason why so many people are using this app is because of the self-destruct mode: privacy issues are not a problem here for the 'snaps' disappear in a very short time and with it go away the problems of privacy that have been hurting many social media sites. Snapshot Stories, which was launched recently, helps brand marketers to ask customers to interact with them from wherever they are, share stories, increase engagement, etc. Maybe in 2014, Snapchat marketing will be a phrase that will be heard a bit more!
It is predicted that social media marketers will have to watch out for Google+ in 2014 despite the fact that Twitter and Facebook hardly look that they are declining in any way. But the fact is that Google+ is growing and growing fast. Other social media networking sites are also innovating, particularly those which are video/image based. Facebook will complete a decade of its existence next year. It is expected that the world's number one social media site will keep on targeting mobile devices and giving advertisers chances to target their advertisements in a better way. Whichever way the other social media networks go, in 2014 almost all marketers will realize that it's absolutely essential to spend money and time on social media endeavors. As 2013 draws to an end, what 2014 exactly holds in store for the social media is something that will be exciting, I'm sure!
(Social marketing in 2014 / shutterstock)