Social Media & 2014: Early Indicators of Coming Trends

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What's trending?

It’s not even Halloween yet and speculation about social media in 2014 is already starting. While it may seem early, it’s actually rather beneficial before the busy holiday season ascends on us. Thinking about these issues now will actually help you better prepare your strategy for the upcoming year.

Where will social media go in 2014?

It’s the million-dollar question, isn’t it? Although we’re not going to delve into it completely, thinking about the new year and what trends it will bring naturally leads us to look at 2013. This year has been an exciting year for social media as it has brought many new developments and trends.

One such trend relates to images and photo-sharing applications. This area has absolutely exploded throughout 2013. In fact, a recent study from Socialbakers found that photos make up 93 percent of the most engaging posts on Facebook:

Photos Most Shared

No doubt as a result of this trend, Facebook also began allowing users to embed photos into comments. Another likely result of the rise in images is the dramatic growth surge in applications such as Instagram, Snapchat, and, of course, Pinterest. The most popular pinning board also just made an announcement regarding “promoted pins” that shows it is serious about becoming profitable.

Another trend that has occurred this year has been the decline of daily deal sites. A few years ago, these were all the rave, but the fad has steadily weakened as market leaders Groupon and Living Social continue to struggle from a financial standpoint.

On the positive side, LinkedIn has had an exceptional year after making several announcements that puts it at an even better position among social networks.

We can’t talk about social media without talking about Facebook and Twitter, both of which have rolled out new features and thus setting themselves up to see even more growth. Twitter, in particular, recently tweeted out news that it had filed its S-1 to the SEC for its initial public offering, which means there will be a lot more to come in this regard.

While these events in no way cover all that has happened in 2013, they do help to lead us into thinking about what 2014 may bring.

For starters, we’ll have to watch Google+ closely. The search and advertising giant’s social network has experienced significant growth over the last year. Granted, Google is essentially automatically opting any user with a Google account into its social effort. Still, because it’s Google and the fact that the company is linking it to virtually all its properties, we sort of have to take it seriously. The fact that Google just linked YouTube’s new commenting system to Google+ only reinforces this idea.

Secondly, it appears that check-in services such as Foursquare may be on the decline. While these services may not completely go away, they do not seem as relevant as they once did. What’s more, they don’t offer much to marketers.

Thirdly, it appears that the image trend will continue throughout 2014. Consumers today are so visual that they essentially expect images when they’re searching, to read a story, etc. Going right along with this, the short video services such as Vine and Instagram’s video offering will likely grow too. Users today are busy and therefore want to gather information as quickly as possible. In 2014, I think we’ll see more marketers using these tools to reach their audience.

Furthermore, we will likely see Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn grow and develop toward a new level of maturity. With all three companies being public in 2014, they have no choice but to appease stockholders with valuable products, which in turn, works greatly in the favor of marketers.

As these changes and trends begin to unfold, the importance of social media will drastically increase. If companies fail to get on board, their marketing efforts will fall noticeably short. Social media is simply becoming more engrained into society both on a personal and business level making it a must-have for any business that wants to be successful.

Images courtesy of Thinkhandy and Socialbakers respectively.

Abby Johnson

Abby brings a unique perspective to the mix because her background consists of both traditional broadcast and public relations to now the world of online. She is very skilled at looking at the big picture and understanding how to get the message across to a particular audience.

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