If you are still trying to figure out a social media strategy for 2014, you’ll definitely want to start planning around the trends below. We took the time to research through dozens of social media predictions for 2014 and picked out the ones that we believe are the most actionable and relevant. We have even included easy action steps for you to kickstart your 2014 social media marketing strategy.
Top 5 Social Media Predictions for 2014
(and action steps to jumpstart your new year social media marketing)
1. 2014 Will Be The Year Of Google+
Google+ was in every single “trend prediction” article that we read. If you are familiar with Art Unlimited, you know that we are already big fans of Google+. (Read our article about the benefits of Google+ here) Google+ has been gaining huge momentum and in the past year Google has added many new features to make its social network very user friendly.
Action step: If you haven’t set your business up with a Google+ page, now is the time. If you have and you haven’t started using it, take some time and make yourself familiar with it. Start posting one or two things per day and get yourself used to the platform.
2. 2014 Will See The Rise Of Visual Media
If you are active on social media, you already know that users are drawn more to photos and videos than just simple text. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual, and visuals are processed 60,000 times faster in the brain than text. The rising trend of visual media is already in full force and will continue to grow in 2014. This year, it’s not just a good idea to add an image or video footage to your social media content – its essential. If not, you won’t be able to grab followers attention and definitely will not be able to stand out above all the other social media noise.
Action Step: If you want to be noticed, start using a LOT of images and start making video. You don’t need any fancy equipment or software. Instagram and Vine are both great places to start, which are easily utilized from a smartphone.
3. Content Marketing Will Reign In 2014
As with visual media, content marketing is already here, but will continue to grow and evolve into 2014. The focus in 2014 will be on the last step of the content process, to effectively promote your content with social media.
Action Step: Set up a system so that your blog posts, images, and other content won’t slip through the cracks. Use a program like Hootsuite so that you can schedule or send out posts to all of your social media accounts in one place. Plan ahead to make sure you are taking advantage of opportunities to snap photos or live tweet from events by designating one person as your content creator.
4. Niche Interest Networks Will Grow In 2014
This prediction caught my eye. By niche interest networks, we mean online communities and forums, or networks that are built around a certain interest or industry. We think that niche interest networks will have the most benefit to your business if you can leverage them properly. If you are a residential roofing contractor in Minneapolis and find an active network called “Twin Cities Homeowners,” you’re in luck. The key to these niche interest networks is not to sell though – it is simply to give value to the community. If you only try to sell your business, you won’t have much success and will likely get kicked out – many online communities don’t tolerate constant solicitation.
Action Step: Get involved in online forums and communities about your industry or local networks. Our favorite social media communities are usually found on Google+ and LinkedIn as they have the most active groups. If you can’t find an online community that fits your interests/industry, start your own!
5. Keep an Eye on Collaborative User Networks In 2014
A collaborative user network is a place where users can collaborate to combine information. One way that users collaborative to give information are through local review websites such as Yelp, Angie’s List and Google Reviews. More review websites are making it easier for users to leave reviews by creating apps and allowing mobile reviews. Google has been making it easier than ever for users to leave reviews and are using the ratings to list local search engine rankings. Facebook has even instituted a review function for pages.
Action Step: Be aware of where people are leaving reviews for your business online. Although on many sites you aren’t allowed to remove a bad review, if you know where and what people are saying about you online, you can quickly do damage control for a bad review instead of leaving it out there. On the flip side, if you are getting a lot of good ratings and reviews, you can easily promote that in your marketing.