December is always a month of reflection, especially as the New Year approaches. The internet is exploding with Best-Of lists for 2013 and a look at what’s-to-come in 2014. We’re big believers in keeping up with industry news and being in-the-know for new insights, trends, and tools; it makes us better at our jobs and in turn, delivers better results for our clients.
So, we often take advantage of free learning opportunities, like the weekly webinar offered by Social Media Today. Recently, we participated in their webinar, “Social Media for 2014: What Do You Need to Watch?” We live-tweeted during the webinar to share our insights, opinions, and takeaways from a panel of experts. You can view the full webinar for yourself here.
Now, we want to pass our learnings onto you by quickly summing up what you need to know to improve your digital marketing strategy in 2014!
Major Insights & Predictions for Social Media in 2014:
1. For Millennials, and as an increasing trend in general, immediacy is becoming more of an expectation than simply a desire. It’s not enough to respond within 24 hours, or between 9 and 5 Monday to Friday – your customers want a response now! How will you live up to or manage that expectation? It might be time for your company to adapt its culture in order to provide the instant gratification your customers are seeking. Expect to see more big brands offering instant mobile coupons, and mobile marketing overall will continue to grow.
2. Addressing needs or responding to inquiries on social media is not enough; you need to be proactive and interesting in order to stand out. This isn’t news, but a reactive strategy is often implemented by businesses that don’t want to invest the resources required into social media. If you aren’t taking your social media efforts to the next level, how can your business grow?
3. Relationships are more important than ever. Where products and services are more or less undifferentiated, customers need to connect with your brand on a more personal level. This goes for B2B industries as well, because after all, there’s a human on each side. Be sure your customer knows that there is a person behind your logo, and think about marketing ‘with’ rather than marketing ‘to’.
We’re no longer selling products and services – customers are seeking experiences and outcomes #smtlive
— Newfound Marketing (@Newfound_MKTG) December 17, 2013
4. Wearable technology and learning how to market on wearable platforms will be a major trend in 2014. Smart watches are everywhere this Christmas, and we only expect this trend to continue to grow in 2014 – how will marketers take advantage of this platform?
5. Finding brand ambassadors and building brand advocacy should be a major focus for businesses in 2014. Similar to #3, brand advocates develop a personal relationship with your business and then spread the good word. It’s time to turn naysayers into fans, to convince executives not to fear negativity, and to empower employees to share their own version of the brand message.
Employees receive 8 times the engagement rate of content than when a brand shares the same content. #smtlive
— Kevin Thomas Tully (@kevinttully) December 17, 2013
6. Tweak your content to perform its best on each individual platform. When developing your content strategy for 2014, remember that each platform is different, and the way you post your content should differ on each platform. Using the same content in the same way is a recipe for disaster on social media. You can use the same content where appropriate, but treat each social network as an individual marketing channel and tailor your content as such. Best practices aside, your analytics will reveal which types of posts work best for your audience. So, check your Facebook Insights, your LinkedIn analytics, and third-party applications like Google Analytics and HootSuite Reports. 7. Visual content rules all and will become increasingly important. Consider newer social networks like Pinterest, Instagram, Vine and Snapchat. Also, you should factor in how visual content appears and performs on Facebook and Twitter. In fact, Twitter recently announced that it would be integrating more visual content into tweets and this change has already taken effect.
Human brain processes visual content 60x faster than text, so pay attention to visual social networks #smtlive — Newfound Marketing (@Newfound_MKTG) December 17, 2013
8. Will 2014 finally be the year of Google Plus? Regardless of whether it catches on in popularity for users, it is important for your business from a SEO perspective. In fact, if your business has 100 or more active followers on Google+, your search ranking position on Google can improve by 14 spots. If organic search brings in a high number of leads or customers for you, or you think your organic search could do better, than Google Plus should be high on the priority list for 2014.
2014 will (finally) be the year of @GooglePlusTweet. It’s simple, easy to use and SEO rich. I dare you NOT to use it! #SMTLive #SocialMedia
— Mike Miller (@mikethatmiller) December 17, 2013
What do you expect to see in social media in 2014? What do you think brands can improve on? What are some major challenges facing businesses online in the New Year? We would love to hear your social media insights for 2014! Share your thoughts in the comments below.