Social media marketing is becoming powerful means of advertising your products/services without sounding like a salesman. It is interesting to note that social media developed merely as a means to stay in touch with friends or business partners. It was a communication innovation that gradually grew from casual or friendly communication to professional communication. Now it is an integral element of Internet marketing, something which consumers are not uncomfortable about.
Here are some social media marketing trends you could expect in 2014:
- Twitter to Get More Important Than Facebook
It may seem impossible, but there are indications that suggest something like this. Of course, we cannot ignore the fact that Facebook has got 1.18 billion users and the number is growing rapidly in many countries. However, in markets such as the US Facebook’s growth seems to have reached a pinnacle. Among teens Facebook’s popularity seems to slowly decrease, but what’s more relevant for the marketing community is that it takes a significant amount of time, effort and some money to build an active following community on Facebook.
Twitter is still in the growth phase, unlike Facebook which is more or less a finished product, and teens are beginning to embrace the former in large numbers simply because you can post an update in a few lines and, if need be post a picture, all without their parents or other family members knowing about it. Many businesses are already using Twitter actively since it is emerging as a great platform for customer service and generating leads. All set to become a public company in 2014, Twitter will receive renewed attention from marketers and consumers alike.
- Google+ to Keep Growing in Popularity
Google+ is already second to Facebook in terms of the number of monthly visitors, so what can stop it from going one better in 2014? Google is seriously promoting Google+ and making people want to have it. That can get it somewhere since Google is the leader in search engines. It is making its social network an integral element of SEO, and Google+ recommendations will begin influencing search rankings. Since all Google services are being integrated, getting into the Google+ bandwagon could help marketers in many ways – social media, search engine rankings, local listings, etc. Visitors too can experience a customized search experience, which is exactly what the search engine major is aiming it. Its latest Hummingbird algorithm change is a sign that SEO is evolving and since Google always seems to dictate that flow of the trend in search, marketers will find it highly useful to hop onto Google+.
- Visual Content to Become Integral to a Marketing Strategy
The potency of videos and pictures in conveying thought provoking and attention grabbing messages has already been experimented on and proved by marketers. It is set to get more popular in 2014. This is helped by the rising popularity of specific image sharing networks such as Pinterest, Tumblr, Vine, Instagram, Snapchat, and of course, the ever popular video sharing YouTube where hundreds of short videos get uploaded by the hour. Even on Facebook, marketers choose videos and exciting images as their invariable medium of communication. Applications such as Vine which offers 6-second video marketing opportunities really spike consumer interest. Vine is an example of how short videos make the difference and it’s something businesses are increasingly realizing. What all this goes to show is that content that applies to the visual senses really works more than text content.
- Micro Videos Will Take Over from Conventional Videos
As discussed in the earlier point, micro video is coming the most powerful element in visual content. It’s one of the reasons why Vine only gives a time of six seconds for a video marketing message. Instagram also has its video sharing feature which allows 3 to 15 seconds for video. Brands are increasingly employing these super short videos to convey their message strongly. These short videos will mostly be viewed by potential customers from their smartphones or tablets wherever they may be. This is quite an effective combination that influences consumer decisions. No doubt, micro videos are sure to keep getting more and more popular among businesses and consumers in 2014. Real-time sharing of videos is here to stay and micro videos will be the most popular and effective ones among these.
- User-generated Content to Keep Growing
Allowing consumers and potential customers to join in the content posting process seems quite an innovative move. It has already been tried by retailers and other marketers. For example Urban Outfitters is one retailer that encourages its customers to take snaps of them wearing its outfits and then post then to the Instagram application along with a hashtag. The content is then moderated by the retailer, selecting some of the photos to be included in a gallery. The gallery will link to the pages where the clothing can be purchased. User-generated content is free and requires much less time and effort as well. More and more marketers are expected to employ this technique in 2014. This method also makes it easy for businesses to measure their returns on investment from social media marketing.
Roll On 2014!
2014 is all set to be a really exciting year for social media marketing. The trends discussed above will surely be accompanied by newer and newer trends once the New Year arrives. What the social networks have done is transform advertising and marketing from the obtrusive and pompous way it once was to something that blurs the line between ad and entertainment for potential customers.
Surely the most exciting element of social media marketing in 2014 will be how Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and other social networks vie with each other to gain significant market share. In the near future it seems that Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter and YouTube will remain high in their lofty perch while marketers gain the most from them but other challengers like Pinterest, Tumblr, Foursquare, snapchat etc are going to get marketers attentions too.
Recommended for YouWebcast: Why, What, and How to Do Social Selling