Top 10 Social Media Highlights of 2014 (Charts)

24 Social Media Tactics You Need To Get Ready For 2015

Top 10 social media highlights of 2014As a marketer you can’t avoid social media.

Using Mad Men logic, you have to be where your target audience spends their time.

In the US, adults spend over an hour a day consuming social media content according to eMarketer.Time Spent with Social Media per Day - eMarketer

Top 10 social media highlights of 2014

Here are the Top 10 social media highlights of 2014 and actionable marketing tactics to improve your use of these platforms. (BTW, here’s why your social media may be failing.)Top 10 social media highlights of 2014

1. Executives still aren’t convinced about the ability of social media to drive business results.

This should be a make it or break it issue but companies still continue to fund social media activities without seeing a direct return.

In part, this is attributable to the fact that social media interactions tend to have an impact during the middle of the purchase funnel.  Convertro_SocialMedia_report 2014-2

Marketing implications:

Marketers must find ways to make social media activities more trackable. As Hubspot found in their 2014 Inbound marketing research, just the act of trying to track ROI yields improved results. Measure COntent Marketing ROI-Hubspot state of inbound 2014

 

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Incorporate a call-to-action. Use a combination of stated and implied calls-to-action. At a minimum, encourage readers to share your content more broadly on social media.
  • Improve brand integration in social media placed content. Don’t underestimate the value of your 360° brand. Your target audience must be able to recognize your content even if your logo is missing.

2. Businesses extend social media use and participation beyond marketing.

Leverage the power of your entire employee base to maximize your social media reach. Don’t just rely on a few key corporate accounts. 

Marketing implications:

Your firm’s social media participation shouldn’t be limited to a few individuals in social media or marketing. Also, don’t just assume that you can hire a social media savvy college student because your company’s image and brand are at stake. 

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Re-examine your company’s social media guidelines. Determine what employees can say about your company. Don’t forget to keep your rules simple. Global pharma company, Roche, has 14 social media guidelines for employees.
  • Distribute your social media guidelines to everyone. Don’t assume that everyone reads your company handbook. Give out a copy at least once a year.
  • Train employees to participate on social media to support your goals. Give your employees the tools and help they need to spread your social media content and increase your reach. (BTW—We can help you with your training.)

3. Social media shares exceeded search for driving traffic to websites.

In 2014, social media shares became an important traffic factor, taking market share from search.

Maximize social sharing - Shareaholic chart

Marketing implications:

To maximize results, you must have an integrated social sharing plan to compliment your content distribution.

This doesn’t mean that you should abandon your search optimization efforts. Rather appreciate that, although they’ll continue to drive traffic, it’ll most likely be at a lower rate.

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Optimize every piece of content for social media sharing. Make sure every piece of information has the best possible opportunity. (Here are some social sharing insights and tips.)
  • Tailor your social media content by social media network. This will help you to reach the largest possible audience on each.
  • Enable social sharing on every piece of content. Don’t overlook less obvious options like “print this page” and “email this article”.

4. Facebook distributed videos exceed YouTube distributed videos.

While Facebook’s criteria for counting video views is more lenient than YouTube’s, this change is still worth noting, especially in terms of advertising opportunities and selling ability, where YouTube has held a lead. Also, don’t forget that YouTube is the second biggest search engine.

Facebook video vs YouTube Video 2014

Marketing implications:

Video is a critical element of every social media and content marketing plan for 2015 as a form of visual content. (BTW–Here are 10 tips to become a video content creator.)

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Incorporate video into your 2015 editorial calendar. Try out an on-going video show like Jay Baer or explain how to use your products.
  • Test the power of shorter videos like Instagram Video and Vines. This is particularly important if you have a sizable millennial audience.

5. Just say cheese to fill your social media content funnel.

In 2014, photos (and other visuals) grabbed attention on social media, especially via Instagram. 

Marketing implications:

Consider how your brand appears in photos that your audience is taking of other things. In other words, how do you look when your products are in the background of other people’s photos.

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Encourage your employees and customers to snap photographs of your product. Set up an area of your retail operation. Another option is get customers to share their photos on your website.
  • Use hashtag ready props where appropriate. This can be fun to do in your stores or at a tradeshow.

6. LinkedIn Publishing opens its platform to everyone.

LinkedIn provides an easy to use and distribute content platform for businesses and thought leaders across industries. (Here’s how to use LinkedIn Publishing.)

(BTW: Don’t forget that LinkedIn owns SlideShare a useful visual content platform that reaches 60 million professionals every month. In 2014, SlideShare served 4.4 billion views and had 4.2 million uploads according to their blog.)

Marketing implications:

Marketers and businesses in general need to be present and engaged on LinkedIn. Research by UMass Dartmouth revealed that Inc 500 businesses shows that businesses tend to get more power out of LinkedIn than other social media platforms.

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Create a platform specific editorial calendar to leverage LinkedIn Publishing in 2015. Don’t just publish when the spirit moves you. Integrate it into your editorial calendar.
  • Make your employees look like stars on LinkedIn. Don’t worry about loosing top talent. Instead make your company shine on this business-oriented platform.
  • Help your employees to put their best foot forward. While some marketers may worry that helping their employees may cause them to change jobs, the reality is they reflect on your business.

7. Pinterest continues to deliver sales.

Pinterest has been the leader of couch commerce. It’s where customers turn when they’re seeking help with styles, decorating and cooking. 

Marketing implications:

Research shows that Pinterest drives higher dollar value than other social media platforms.

Further, curating your own content on Pinterest drives traffic. BuzzFeed was the subject of a case study during the summer.

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Create boards for your major content areas. Give potential readers another entryway to your content by posting images or charts on Pinterest.
  • Leverage the power of pricing on Pinterest. It allows customers to learn of price changes even if they’re not on your email list!!!
  • Keep pages with expired products and styles alive. Use them to redirect potential Pinterest traffic to current products.

8. Facebook continues to be necessary despite changes to its algorithms.

Regardless of your business type, Facebook remains the 900 pound gorilla of social media. This isn’t a news flash but it’s worth repeating.

Marketing implications:

Organic reach on this key social media platform will continue to decline. As a result, advertising support will be required.

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Be present. This is important because of Facebook’s mass reach.
  • Align your content and engagement with users’ needs. But understand that the lifespan of a Facebook post is short.
  • Test targeted Facebook advertising. Don’t just boost your posts. Take advantage of its custom audiences.

9. Google+ is the understated social media platform.

Google+’s power is attributable to its place in the Google family. 

Marketing implications:

Learn how to harness the power of this often under utilized social network to support your business. 

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Give your business a human face. Use Google hangouts.

10. Twitter contributes to leads and sales but needs more than autopilot social sharing. 

Marketing implications:

Like other social networks Twitter requires a refined, targeted social media strategy to yield results. (Here are 27 Twitter 201 tips to guide your activity.)

Actionable Social Media Tactics:

  • Enhance your Twitter profile to attract attention. Use effective photographs and link to appropriate sites.
  • Include a photograph. This increases retweets by 35% according to Twitter. (BTW—Here are 16 other Twitter tips to increase retweets.)

 

The bottom line: Social media platforms will continue to evolve and provide new opportunities for marketers and businesses.

For 2015 and beyond, you need to use a mix of different networks and to tailor your content and interactions to each one’s specific qualities and audience.

What do you think that the social media highlights of 2014 were and why?

Want to get your marketing on track for 2015? Download the Ultimate 2015 Marketing Checklist.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen


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