It’s the end of the year, and many online marketers are beginning to look forward to 2014 already. What will social media look like in 2014? This is the big question in the few weeks leading up to the New Year, and many bloggers and writers are trying to answer it.

Online marketers have different rates of success with different approaches on social media; I’ve found various predictions for what will generate online marketing success in 2014. But there are, however, a few that everyone seems to agree on. Take a look and see if you agree!

  1. Google+ is a must. Although Google+ is still catching up with Facebook, the social media website has over 300 million users. Google+ isn’t always about reaching an audience: even if you aren’t in very many circles, having a Google+ account and sharing your blog posts on it can help your SEO efforts.
  2. Mobile will continue to be very important as the number of mobile device users grow. Businesses are already adapting their online presence to be mobile-friendly by using responsive designs on their website or other similar solutions. However, the IDC has released predictions that there will be 1.3 billion mobile workers by 2015. This news has online marketers advising businesses to concentrate even more on being mobile-friendly: “It’s no longer ‘should I build a mobile website or blog,’ it’s now ‘how can I build the best possible customer experience both on and offline.’ Mobility must come first, not second or as a band-aid,” says Pam Moore at Business 2 Community.
  3. Videos are going to be a much bigger deal. Marketers are noticing the rise of Vine and Instagram videos and predict that “micro-videos” will be prime content in the coming year. Longer how-to videos were popular in the past; now experts are advising businesses to focus their content into videos that are less than a minute long.
  4. Visual content will continue to be king. We’ve known for a while now with the popularity of social media sites like Pinterest and Tumblr that audiences prefer pictures and graphics. Businesses need to focus on making their images “sharable.”
  5. Social media experts can’t seem to agree on which platforms will rise or fall in popularity. However, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, SnapChat, and Pinterest all seem to be on the lists for what will be successful in 2014. Yes, MySpace is apparently making a comeback with new music integrations and a smart phone app, though it won’t ever compete with Facebook as it once did. So how do you juggle the possibility of so many different social media platforms becoming the Next Big Thing? Put your fingers in all the pies and see which ones perform the best for your business. MySpace might make a sharp rise in popularity, but its rebranding efforts have focused on music – if your business has nothing to do with music, you probably won’t need a large presence there.
  6. Paid advertising will become a bigger deal. In 2013, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr all evolved to offer a paid advertising feature. Facebook has also made some changes to its algorithm that decreases the reach of organic posting for business pages, as well as streamlining their paid advertising abilities even further. Unfortunately, businesses will have to turn to paid advertising. Fortunately, paid advertising on social media can narrow in on a specific target audience, stretching your money further than traditional advertising ever could.
  7. Fans will carry more weight than ever before. This time, it won’t be just about the number of fans you have, but how they engage with your brand. Consumers now trust each other more than you. Social media marketing should focus on making your audience happy by engaging them. Consumers are also going online to voice complaints – make sure you respond to them adequately. So basically, get your audience to talk to you and listen to them when they do.

What are your online marketing and social media marketing predictions for 2014? We’d love to hear your thoughts! Share in the comments below.

Sources:

Mulready, Rick. “5 Social Media Predictions for 2014.” http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/230324. (18 Dec. 2013).

Moore, Pam. “Top 16 Social Media Predictions For 2014.” http://www.business2community.com/social-media/top-16-social-media-predictions-2014-0718341#!qbMMj. (18 Dec. 2013).

Sansevieri, Penny C.  “Twelve Social Media Predictions for 2014.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/penny-c-sansevieri/twelve-social-media-predi_b_4453324.html. (18 Dec. 2013).

DeMers, Jayson. “The Top Social Media Marketing Trends That Will Dominate 2014.” http://www.forbes.com/sites/jaysondemers/2013/09/24/the-top-7-social-media-marketing-trends-that-will-dominate-2014/. (18 Dec. 2013).

Holmes, Ryan. “5 predictions for social media in 2014.” http://tech.fortune.cnn.com/2013/12/10/social-media-2014/. (18 Dec. 2013).

Nakagawa, Ulara. “Top 5 Social Media Predictions for 2014.” http://blog.hootsuite.com/5-social-media-predictions-2014/. (18 Dec. 2013).