Social media has grown in leaps and bounds in the last half-decade and 2013, undoubtedly, was a big year for this newest branch of media with Facebook and LinkedIn becoming significant tools of marketing, Twitter going public adding video to its repertoire by adding Vine, the mobile-video app, Instagram the following suit by adding video and launching video into user’s newsfeeds, GIFs becoming a hype, etc.
This is a branch of media which keeps evolving and unless, learnt how to adapt, can mean loss of business. The trends which are likely to shape the social media marketing scenario in the current year has been listed below.
The term SoLoMo stands for Social, Local, Mobile and this, according to experts, will be the most prominent trend in the digital market this year. The idea is how to share the best content, keeping in mind, proximity, relevance, and location. The universal acceptance of mobiles and tablets as the devices to access social media has been implied by the fact that over 11.05million people used tablets to access these networks in 2013. This figure is expected to increase upto 14million by the end of 2014 and hence brands need to prioritize interaction with their existent and prospective customer base via mobile devices and optimize their websites and social media content accordingly.
Integrated marketing or fusion marketing, which became an important trend in 2013, is expected to become a catchphrase in 2014. The necessity of integrating years of traditional marketing with the new-age marketing tools of the internet, particularly social media, is going to have significant growth.
Twitter has become a revenue-driven public company, Facebook has revamped its organic search and Google+ has introduced ads. All of these will affect the way the companies formulate social media strategies. With the analytics of social media improving and the free reach diminishing, investment in social media marketing becomes almost mandatory for the brands in 2014. This will take a toll on the smaller businesses, which obviously have lesser resources than the big guns.
Sharing visual content more than text-based content had been a prominent and consistent trend in 2013 and it is increasingly becoming a critical element of any social media strategy. Although there are sites like Instagram and Pinterest which are solely based on image-centric content-sharing, other sites like Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ have also been witnesses to the rise of this trend. According to statistics, image-based updates have 600 times higher engagement rates than posts that contain only text and video content is not too far behind. The introduction of micro videos on Twitter and Instagram where the length of the videos will not be more than 15seconds clearly signify the increase of video consumption on social media. Tailoring the visual content and personalizing them will also become vital elements of social media marketing strategies.
The growth of Google+ has been quiet and steady through 2013 and at present, this site has the second largest monthly user-base (with 343 million) after Facebook (with 1.15billion). As this is the platform from where Google collects its information and data, it is increasingly becoming a pivotal part of SEO strategies and marketing plans. Added to this, the launch of ads by the network and the ability to share specific content with targeted groups will prove to be instrumental in the substantial growth of this platform in 2014.
The necessity of including social media while formulating marketing plans has already been understood by many companies, irrespective of scale. As the existing social media giants like Facebook and Twitter keep re-inventing and evolving themselves and the comparatively recent networks like Google+ start impacting the bigger picture, 2014, in short, will be an exciting and unpredictable year where the majority will realize the necessity of investing time and resources to this branch of media.