We have seen a lot of changes in the world of social media this year. From mobile video hitting the big-time to the new advertising options on every social networking platform imaginable, all those changes are taking the industry to a whole new level.
As the year draws to a close, what can we expect in the world of social media in 2014? I’m no Nostradamus, but I’d like to share some of what you might call fearless forecasts for social media in 2014.
Social media in 2014
1. Word-of-mouth marketing will blast off
2014 will be the year when word-of-mouth marketing finally gets the spotlight. Consumers will go farther and farther away from banner ads and sponsored messages, and marketers will have to bridge that gap by migrating to networks that connect people but have yet to establish a business model. For a year or two, marketers should be all over social media networks such as Path, Vine and Snapshot before ads take over them so that by the time consumers migrate again because of that, they will have maximised their marketing potential.
2. User-generated content in social media will be hot stuff
The fact that user-generated content creates loyalty should be more than enough reason for social media to embrace it more than ever in 2014. Any social media marketer worth his salt knows that apart from putting the fan or the customer in the driver’s seat, user-generated content also generates sales. Every fan who comes up with content is himself a marketer, and that should something that should be appreciated even more in the coming year.
3. Short form content will lord it over social media
With the increasingly shorter attention spans of the average social media user, it only makes sense to predict that short form sound, sight, and motion will be much more preferred in 2014. Long-form content will be relegated to the background, as it will get less viewership and lower engagement than short form content. It will then evolve into a competition among marketers as to who can deliver the shortest stories but create the biggest impact at the same time.
4. Visuals, visuals, visuals
Visual content has made a big splash in 2013, and that splash will only get bigger in 2014. Social media marketers acknowledge that pictures, infographics and video have gotten more engagements than simple text. The fact that Twitter made those recent changes will attest to the fact that visual content is the future of social media.
5. Brands have to invest in social media listening
Today, many businesses think of social media listening, which is the process of identifying and assessing everything that is being said about a company, individual, product or brand on the Internet, as an optional thing. I believe that in the coming year, it will already become a necessity. Social listening strategies, tactics and technologies, after all, are perhaps the best ways to truly understand, inspire and connect with audiences. Brands of any shape and size should invest in them.
6. Social media investment will be more of a necessity than a luxury
With all the buzz about social media up to 2013, it’s still a fact that many companies have not yet taken that big step into social media territory, treating it as some sort of luxury. That is going to change in 2014. Social media investment in 2014 will exponentially increase. Those who have already invested in it will invest some more, like hiring full-time social media managers instead of just assigning staff members who appear to be tech-savvy and passionate enough to care about social media duties.
So those are my predictions for social media in 2014. Do you have your own take on what social media in 2014 is going to be like? Share them with us by hitting the comments!