In 2014 Social Media Gets Serious
The future continues to be bright for social media in 2014 as platforms diversify and new options enter the marketplace.
A staple of business and marketing plans, social media will continue to help companies extend their brands, attract new customers, support purchases, and engage fans in 2014.
Here are 12 social media predictions for 2014.
1. New teen site overtakes SnapChat, Tumblr and Facebook.
Since teens love the new, new thing there’s always space for a new social media site or app to gain traction with this demographic.
While Snapchat is the darling of the high school set, it’s ability to keep its hold on teens may be time-limited because it is attracting the attention of grownups and, in particular, marketers. This is definitely a turn-off for teens. Hey its founders were on The Colbert Report in 2013.
Tumblr has an adult minding the shop: Marissa Mayer and Yahoo.
Facebook‘s image is tarnished with this key demographic who sees it as kid stuff.
2. Opportunities exist for new business-oriented social media plays.
Despite LinkedIn’s growth as the business social media site (augmented by its ownership of Slideshare) there is still an opportunity for one or more smart players to enter the business arena of social media.
While there are a number of niche players like Spiceworks, ITtoolbox and Seeking Alpha, a new, business oriented, social media platform could still attract sufficient attention.
3. New niche social media player(s) enters the ring.
There are a number of niche players in the social media space such as TripAdvisor and Ravelry. Their success underlines the fact that there’s still a gold mine of untapped potential. There are a lot of categories lacking a true leader.
4. Social media action moves to mobile.
Social media is tailor made for on-the-go, content snacking, whether it’s checking in or posting your latest restaurant find.
The challenge for marketers will be to break through the never-ending stream of Me-Me-Me messages as selfies evolve to a higher, glossier level. Will we ever remember what we look like in real life?
5. Social media expands across devices to the Internet of Things.
Just as 2013 was the year of mobile for social media and other forms of content marketing, 2014 will witness the expansion of social media beyond conventional devices. The obvious extension is television which is increasing its real time audience with the help of social media. Beyond TV there’s a wide range of devices including cars, the home and your body to consider.
6. Images, both photographs and video, maintain their momentum.
The ability to snap a photo or create a video and share it with a few swipes of your finger translates to increased growth of selfies and other types of personal images. They’re easy-to-take and quick to consume.
7. Email continues to connect.
Often used as a login ID, email will continue to maintain its lead position as the way to collect information about prospects and the driver of social media activity.
Social media platforms leverage the power of email to alert us to activity. But more importantly, email is a core way of building corporate assets to stay in touch with prospects, customers and others interested in your business.
8. Native advertising across platforms keeps innovating.
Native advertising gained traction and legitimacy in 2013 as embodied by the IAB Native Advertising Playbook. (Note: This is an extension of 2013 social media highlights.)
Brands and businesses leverage native advertising to support their social media interactions and expand their audiences cost-effectively.
9. Social media platforms need multiple revenue streams
Social media platforms generally focus on building audience first and monetization second. Partially because of this, many social media platforms find themselves limited in the forms of advertising they can incorporate, which ultimately limits their financial potential.
Like mature media entities, social media platforms need 3 forms of income: advertising, subscriptions and one-off products. LinkedIn has demonstrated the importance of multiple revenue streams with its selling of human resource and job related products.
10. Social media support continues to need more resources.
As social media grows, it requires more supporting resources in terms of budget and people. For forward thinking businesses, this means bringing everyone in your organization into your social media marketing since they can bring insights into different aspects of your offering.
11. Social media integrates across corporate structures.
To support your engagement, make sure that you’ve got well defined social media guidelines and support from human resources to incorporate this work into people’s job descriptions.
12. Social media metrics break out of the walled gardens.
The traditional concepts of business finance still apply – you must bring in more money than you pay out. Therefore, metrics become more important because, as more employee time and budget are allocated to social media, the more metrics are needed to track your success.
During 2013 many social media entities provided and/or augmented their metrics. Unfortunately, each of these platforms is a walled garden supplying tracking related only to their own site. Marketers can’t get a holistic view of their social media activity without a lot of work.
To paraphrase President Reagan, “Tear down these walls!”
2014 will bring an extension of social media deeper into your business and marketing. The challenge will be to ensure that it supports your business objectives.
What other 2014 social media predictions would you add to this list and why?
Join me at Social Media Marketing World this coming Spring in sunny San Diego, California, where I'll be presenting a session on Blogging.
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