5 social media predictions for 2014
Ready or not, 2013 is rolling to a close. As is traditional, it’s time to strike a balance between reflection and projection. Last week we looked at some of the biggest moments in social media during the year. Now, with the new year right around the corner, it’s time to look ahead to 2014. Following this year’s trends, these are our top five predictions for social media in 2014:
1) Content marketing and blogging will prove key
It’s like this: in order for people to visit your website, you need to have content that interests them. Simply having a website which explains what your company does isn’t enough – it’s too narrow, and won’t bring you much in the way of traffic. Instead, you need to invest in quality content that appeals to your target market, with a well written blog that isn’t just keyword spam in disguise being the most common example. It won’t happen overnight, but this way you’ll start building an imprint on the web. Some businesses are privy to this already, but expect to see it take serious hold in 2014. If your company doesn’t have a blog producing quality content in your niche, you may start to find yourself left behind among your competitors.
2) Google+ will become essential for businesses
With more than 540 million active users at the end of this year – just two years after the social network’s launch – there’s no more denying the importance of having a Google+ profile for your business. Sure, that’s still about half of Facebook’s 1.19 billion users, but considering Facebook is nine years old, that’s some serious growth. And let’s not forget whose baby this is: Google, the emperor of search results. This year we saw Google take huge steps forward in integration, merging Google’s separate services under a single account, and putting Google+ at the forefront. There’s also Google+ Local, which has made it essentially mandatory for businesses to sign up for a Google+ account. Since the listing that appears on Google Maps for a business is now configured from within Google+, you’ll need a Google+ account to play ball – and that’s an offer you can’t refuse.
3) Social networks will push paid advertising even harder
Facebook keeps tightening the noose for businesses, reducing the organic reach of posts, and essentially forcing a pay-to-play situation. Now that Twitter’s public, it needs to make money, so expect to see some major shifts in advertising this year. It doesn’t stop there, either – just about every social media platform at this point has some sort of monetized feature, and those that don’t soon will. This will be the hardest for small businesses, who are going to have to reach far deeper than big companies to fund content and social marketing.
4) Social signals will become the new SEO
“SEO” was the dominant buzzword for years, but as Google continues to change its algorithms, the term has seen its reputation and validity crumble. Keyword research and stuffing, link farms – these are all things of the past, and “Search Engine Optimization” is no longer a straight forward service. Instead, “social signals” is the phrase you’ll be hearing a lot more of. If you’re new to the term, it means that people are talking about your company and your website’s content, and posting it on the internet through social media or other means. It’s a more organic approach to search results, and Google is putting major emphasis on it after their latest algorithm update.
5) The web is going to get a lot more crowded
Thought there was a lot of content on the web before? Just wait till next year. As companies of every size recognize just how important content and social marketing is, prepare to see a major influx of content in social media and integrated content. This means more competition, and more effort to stand out. If you haven’t started a social imprint for your company, there’s no more time to wait. Building an online presence takes time and work, and the only way to make an impact is to roll up your sleeves and dive in.
Is your business prepared for the new year? Zbra Studios specializes in content and social marketing – click here to learn how we can help.