global social media - 2014 predictionsAs we wrap up 2013 and look forward to 2014, it’s time to start thinking about what the next big thing is going to be across the social media world. In looking back at the predictions for 2013, most social media marketers expected to see social media follow in the path similar to the rest of the digital world – more emphasis on mobile devices, a greater understanding of using social to reach a global audience, incorporating social practices across all marketing avenues and tapping into the immense amount of information social media and social campaigns provide to marketers about their audience.

While these initiatives will continue to expand within the social media world, there are new areas and trends that will be the focus of social media in 2014.

1. Social Business will be the new norm As executives start to recognize the full potential of social media, they are starting to expand the practice beyond just the marketing department within their organizations. Some of the logical next steps have already been happening, with sales, human resources and customer service departments already utilizing social as part of their daily business practices. However, a recent survey by Deloitte found that businesses are expanding social media into IT, Operations, Supply Chain, Risk Management and even Finance.

2. Image sites will explode 2013 saw a shift in people sharing more visual-based content rather than text-based. You couldn’t log into LinkedIn or Facebook without seeing an infographic or video in a news feed. It’s cliché to say “pictures say 1000 words” but in this case it’s true. Images and videos have the ability to portray messages to an audience that plain text content can’t. It’s this sort of functionality and power that will lead to visual content becoming an increasingly important part of a marketing strategy. Sites like Slideshare, Tumblr and Instagram will continue to grow their audiences. Resourceful businesses will figure out how to position their brand on these sorts of sites and create shareable content that will help to drive their brand awareness.

3. “Micro -content “networks are here to stay Apparently, 140 character postings just don’t work anymore. People want visual content that is immediate not very tedious to create. That’s not to say Twitter, Facebook and Youtube are suddenly going away. Real-time image sites like Snapchat, Vine and Instagram will become more important to marketing strategies, especially for those looking to reach a younger audience.

4. More platform-specific content Social marketing used to consist of marketing teams developing one piece of content and sending it out in a shotgun like approach – casting a wide net hoping someone will be hit with it. However, with each network having a more defined audience, marketers will now start creating content specific for that platform’s particular audience. Social marketers will take a greater look at their networks and design content that matches what they wish to accomplish. Sites that drive higher conversions will start to get content that is different than a site that drives more impressions or clicks.

5. Increase in social ads spending Anyone who’s been on Facebook or Twitter has seen a promoted post from a company. 2014 should see an increase in the total spending on social advertising. Social ads provide an incredible platform that more traditional or even “old-school” advertising doesn’t. The amount of information available to marketers allows for ad targeting that is unique to the marketing world. Social ads are also proving to be much more effective than older forms of online advertising in terms of effectiveness and overall ROI. Promoted Tweets have shown a 1-3 percent engagement amongst the targeted audience while Facebook ads have shown a click-through rate around .2%. With a cost-per-click much lower than older forms of online advertising, we’ve only just begun to see what sort of ads marketers will come up with. Social ads are also much more effective on mobile devices. And considering that by the end of 2014, there will be over 1.4 billion smartphones around the globe, we’ve only scratched the surface on social advertising.

6. Google+ will become one of the big 4 Most of the marketers I’ve talked with have a difficult time understanding how best to use Google+. We all know that it’s essential to use, Google made it abundantly clear by including it as part of their SEO experience. And with 343 million active monthly users, second only to Facebook’s 1 billion plus, there is a huge potential audience. No longer can Google+ be ignored in the social world.

With Facebook turning 10 in 2014, business owners and leadership are finally recognizing the necessity of an effective social media strategy. 2014 will be a year of huge growth and further development of strategies for both B2B and B2C marketers. What do you think the big trends will be with social media in 2014? Let us know in the comments section!

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