2013 has been a fruitful year as social media has continued its ‘conquest’ of the Internet realm. From the massive surge in viral videos on YouTube to the introduction of Vine and the ever growing popularity of Instagram, Line and Whatsapp; the industry’s veterans Facebook and Twitter are still staying on track, notably with Twitter’s IPO in November.
You might wonder how all of this will affect social media marketing next year. As 2014 will see new social networks, ever more creative marketing concepts and innovative formats popping up everyday, we asked some social media experts about their views of the top trends in social media marketing next year.
See what they have to say so you can prepare ahead!
Let’s go into more detail:
Content marketing management at the heart of social media
You shouldn’t consider social media marketing trends without evaluating broader trends in digital marketing and content marketing in particular. Content marketing fuels success in social media marketing and is crucial to many other digital marketing techniques like SEO, SEM, Email marketing and CRO.
A move to a more integrated, managed approach is the main trend I see with content marketing management at the heart. Research from the Content Marketing Institute shows that increasingly companies are creating a defined content marketing strategy and there is specific ownership for content marketing and these plans should also define how social media are used linking to separate resources depending on the size of the organisation.
This is how I see the strategic approach to create branded content as part of an overall communications strategy based on user personas and business objectives:
At a more practical level, I think companies will realise the potential of networks like Google+ and Pinterest to fuel sharing and interaction and there will be more attention on those. Across the social networks I think there will be more use of paid media to gain visibility and use of remarketing when social network users have already used a site, for example through Google Doubleclick and Facebook Exchange.
Dr Dave Chaffey is CEO and co-founder of marketing advice site Smart Insights. He is author of 5 bestselling books on Ecommerce including Digital Marketing: Strategy, Implementation and Practice and has been recognised as one of 50 marketing ‘gurus’ worldwide who have shaped the future of marketing. @DaveChaffey
Mobile, micro videos, employee advocacy and visual web for social selling
Mobile will continue to play an increasingly important role with mobile being the main device for accessing social content. Podcasting will also grow substantially in line with growth of smartphone technology.
Micro Video content will become increasingly popular. We have seen the recent introduction of Instagram 15 second videos following Vine and I expect more to follow suit.
Employee advocacy (e.g. Addvocate) software will become more widespread as organizations realize that requirement of involving all their staff in promoting their content through social media channels.
Social Selling – As the whole web becomes social, it will not be a case of not being able to sell through social media. Selling through social channels will become the normal as organizations adapt to how this new social selling model works.
Visual Web – Organizations will invest heavily in visual content which attracts more attention and engagement. The social media platforms will look for ways to develop their platforms in a more visual way.
Ian Cleary is a mediapreneur, speaker and technology expert who specialises in sharing unbiased information about social media tools through his award-winning website, RazorSocial. A well-respected thought leader in his field, Ian speaks at leading social media conferences around the world and is publishing a book on social media tools and technology in March 2014. @IanCleary
Evolving customer service
In the past year lots of large organisations have launched multi-channel digital strategies that aim to bring marketing, PR, sales and customer service together under a single banner. This makes a lot of sense – since customer-facing teams should all be focused on the same ultimate goal.
The problem is, this only works if your ultimate goal is customer satisfaction. Since most of these strategies are being driven by Marketing Departments with sales as the end point, I see real challenges ahead. Nobody likes a sales-driven customer service team, and on social media, we have the ability to speak up – loudly. I expect the fall-out from these well-meaning but flawed strategies to become widely visible in 2014.
Luke Brynley-Jones is the Founder of Our Social Times. He is a regular speaker at conferences around the world. Luke writes for several industry publications and has a Sunday slot on BBC Radio Cambridgeshire. @lbrynleyjones
Focusing on social good
Social media for social good is going to be massive in 2014. If you’re a marketer or business owner you need to start thinking about what your brand is doing in terms of giving back (to all stakeholders – not just customers but employees, suppliers and local communities) – and how to amplify that message to the max using social channels.
2013 has seen huge steps in terms of meaningful business in the UK with a leading brand like Innocent switching its message (now focusing on social good rather than product lines) and big-thinking, eco-friendly projects from high street names like Wahaca (the Pig Idea) and Top Shop (Reclaim To Wear).
If your brand isn’t already doing good or even worse – causing harm – you need to think about how to change this – the great thing is, if you do find a way to create a genuine positive change to your business in 2014, social media will be the perfect platform to talk about it.
Jemima Gibbons is a social media consultant, author and blogger based in London. @JemimaG
We may see 2014 as the start of the ‘swinging back of the pendulum’ (Randi Zuckerberg 2013) and the beginning of a ‘Digital Rebellion’. This is being created by not only consumers reaching saturation point with digital technology but more importantly a response to a concern regarding the digital footprint we are all creating. With a recent report called ‘The Social Habit” showing that 56% of Americans with a Facebook profile commenting that they are concerned about the privacy of their information stored on Facebook, people are starting to consider the impact of their online activity. An article in a recent Stanford Law Review summarises the issue and calls for “a model where the benefits of data for businesses and researchers are balanced against individual privacy rights.”
If the social media giants dominating the world of online networking cannot achieve such a model quickly and easily we may start to see the beginning of a global digital rebellion in 2014.
Clare Facey, of Social Green, provides expertise in corporate and social communications. @meetonthegreen
Social laws, anonymity and business maturity as next steps in social media marketing
Each year, Hotwire puts out its Digital Trends Report, a look into the year ahead for what the big trends will be for the year ahead. You’ll have to wait until the New Year for this report, but here is a sneak peak at three of the trends we expect in social media marketing for 2014:
Social laws. The existing legal system is unevenly applied at present across the internet and our social networks. Disparate sentences are given out depending on the different crimes. This is beginning to change, but the really big change will happen next year.
Anonymity. In a post-Snowden world, we are becoming more cautious about what is online. The increase in usage of services like Tor and DuckDuckGo shows that this is not just a small trend but something that will develop greatly in coming months.
Business maturity. The number of big corporations ‘doing social right’ is already much, much higher than it’s ever been before. 2014 will be the year that success becomes universal across the board – and if you still aren’t getting it right, you’re going to be in trouble.
Brendon Craigie is Group CEO of Hotwire, the global integrated PR and communications consultancy. He was quoted in a PRWeek profile as “a young man in a hurry” and the same publication has named him a member of the PRWeek PowerBook for several years running. @brendoncraigie
Interest-Based (Social) Networks Rise in Prominence in 2014
We will see users spending more time engaging in more ‘passion-based ‘social networks and content. There has been some noted mainstream social media fatigue in 2013 and more users will crave a more personalized experience than the broad brush-strokes Facebook provides. Social Search will play a part in this paradigm shift as users begin to seek out passion-based content.
Companies such as Say Media own and operate many of these sites, as does Federated Media, AOL/Huff Post.
Claude Silver is the Digital Strategy Director at Publicis. She is passionate about consumer experience, social & building exceptional teams. @claudesilver
Don’t be a Goat: Build Your Author-ity
When I think about social media, I think about the plethora of platforms and channels that empower and enable us to tell our stories. And to tell a good story, whether you are a brand or a company or an individual, you need content that people like/favourite and want to share/retweet. The challenge for a content writer or author is to cut through the clutter and get your voice heard.
Which is why I am intrigued by Google’s much-hyped concept of Author Rank on its Google+ platform. It has long been a knotty problem for marketers to be able to identify and hone in on those influential bloggers, writers and content creators whose reputation can be trusted. It remains to be seen whether Author Ranking will indeed be able to separate the sheep from the goats but it will certainly be interesting to watch this story unfold in 2014. Even if it doesn’t come to pass, the lessons to be learned from this are to keep creating content on your chosen areas of expertise, link, connect, disseminate, engage and keep all those cogs constantly whirring.
Great infographic here.
Elaine Cameron is Burson-Marsteller’s Futurist & Director of Strategic Research. Elaine writes, presents and tweets on a wide range of topics such as consumer, technology, healthcare and communications. Specialist subjects include The Future of Death, Leadership & Feminomics and The Future of Storytelling for Business. @FUTUREPersp
Yes for Content Marketing, but how?
As I see it, 2014 will be a year where everybody whether you are an individual or a brand has to focus on Content Marketing. On Social Media, content is the King but if it’s not marketed and distributed properly all your efforts in building that content is waste. You need to follow 80-20 rule, 80% efforts in content marketing, 20% in curation. There are tons of platforms where your customers can get information from, but it’s most important that they get it first from you. Thus it is very important to stay abreast with all the information in your industry.
Analytics and Impact is the second most important thing and I am not only talking about the numbers. It shows you relevant data whether your current marketing strategies are working for you or not. And that is where you do alterations, modifications and clear understanding of the way forward.”
Harsh Ajmera, Owner at Digital Insights, is a social media and web tech enthusiast. He keeps himself busy with building social media strategies, tactics, exploring new platforms and sharing the best of his knowledge online. @ajmeraharsh
Have a long term vision
In 2014, people will start to take content a lot more seriously and view it as a fundamental first step towards launching a successful social media presence. There will be far fewer rookie errors of signing up to a social media channel without knowing what you’ll be saying in that space. As a result, content budgets will grow and more brands will start to work as publishers: hiring editors, copywriters and ex-journalists in the process. It’s not just about quick wins on YouTube, anymore. It’s about implementing a long-term plan on how you plan to inspire/educate/entertain your community with content that best represents your brand’s personality.
With the focus firmly on crafting words/images/videos, I think our ideas behind measurement will also evolve. More sophisticated metrics will begin to emerge like trying to understand how we audit the output of our content so that it becomes a barometer on trust, authority and advocacy.
Lisa Talia Moretti has worked as a strategist, digital editor and researcher. She has executed digital initiatives for over 25 global brands and delivered social media workshops in six countries. Lisa is also the resident Digital Sociologist at Affect Lab, a research studio in Amsterdam. One word that describes her best: curious. @LisaTalia
Using social media for competitive intelligence
Social media marketing & intelligence continues to gain in relevance as businesses can no longer afford to tentatively treat social media as the weak division within their marketing channels. Nor can they allow themselves to fall behind the competition’s social media efforts.
As the adoption of mobile and tablet continues to grow, in turn this will drive how potential customers interact with digital channels. As the digital route to market will continue to grow through 2014 so will engagement via social media channels.
This presents digital marketers with many opportunities (and some threats!). Social media offers a rich source of marketing and competitive intelligence information. Beyond managing customer service and building marketing opportunities there is a wealth of competitor intelligence available. This information can find both routes to market from your competitor’s social media activities; and allow you to map the sources and rhythms of your competitor’s online releases.
With the right approach content and marketing can use these insights to gain market share and outmatch competitor releases and marketing activity in the social media domains.
At DSRM we monitor, measure and map the marketing and social media releases of competitors in the security industry. This allows us to adapt strategies and content in social media activity. It also allows us to market to the social media channels and online sources in the spaces where our competitors are operating. Mapping our competitor’s digital route to market enables us to focus our content and deliver our products and services to a relevant audience.
Mapping competitor activity
Paul Brelsford is an Intelligence and Counter-terrorism expert at Durham Specialist Risk Management. He is also a former Director of Competitive Intelligence in a strategic management company. @Agile_Edge
Governments will embrace social media
It has already started but in 2014 we will be seeing more European governments and politicians fully embracing social media – especially with the European Elections in May 2014. They will become more comfortable and open to this medium and will hopefully make the most of it, and use it in innovative ways.
Social media has undoubtedly allowed a shift in the power balance to happen – from sellers to buyers, from brands to customers and also from governments and politicians to the electorate and voters. Governments and politicians will need to understand how to make the most of social media to create the necessary awareness around politics in general. And then understand how to turn this awareness into actions – and I am talking about real tangible actions more than a retweet, a ‘like’ or a share.
There are two key elements necessary for the above to happen: hashtags and videos.
Firstly, hashtags will become increasingly important and central as more and more social media channels are incorporating them in order to aggregate content. Harnessing the power of hashtags will allow for increasing awareness to be created around specific campaigns.
Secondly, short and captivating videos will captivate and drive action. Youtube is still as strong as ever and 2013 saw the creation of numerous video and image based applications such as Instagram and Vine making the creation and dissemination of videos easier and more affordable than ever. Videos and images have already been identified as a strong social media marketing tool but I cannot wait for the political world to embrace this effective way to share and tell their ‘stories’.
Toni Cowan-Brown is client executive at Burson-Marsteller and Author & creator of TheFashionCloud. @Thefashioncloud
Mobile, social ads and videos becoming vital
Online social media sites have reached new levels of popularity. In fact, social networking has become an essential ingredient in the recipe for success in many business niches. Combine this with the fact that mobile devices are expected to exceed the human population at some point within the next year and you end up with an essential business tool!
In 2014, social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube and Instagram will no longer be optional; they’re going to be essential tools for your company’s success. A social media strategy has never been more essential. Consider the following facts.
1. Mobile usage will increase
Mobile technology is improving at an incredible rate. This means an increasing number of people are using mobile devices to can access the Internet. With each passing year, the number of people who access the web and social media platforms increases exponentially. Therefore, it’s essential to ensure that your company’s marketing approach is mobile-friendly!
2. Social ads are dominating online advertising
Social ads currently dominate the online advertising sphere and by 2014, you can expect to see these social media ads having an even greater influence. Social ads are very efficient – more so than banner ads – because they’re more targeted and more engaging. Social ads are also well-suited to the smartphone industry, since they’re smaller than traditional ads, so they work very well with the smaller screens that you typically find on mobile devices.
3. Film it, don’t tell it
Brief videos are becoming an increasingly important element in the social media marketing world. These videos are perfect for use on Vine, Instagram and fast-rising stars like Snapchat. This is one marketing trend that you can’t ignore! People want information quickly and they also want to be entertained. Videos can fulfill both of these needs!
Jolanta Friis is a Specialist of Facebook, LinkedIn marketing and social media. She blogs about online marketing on Social Hunter. @JoaFriis