6 Social Media Predictions for 2014
It's estimated that over 15 million brands use Facebook to reach clients and advertise their products and services. From charitable organizations to businesses to family restaurants, Facebook has become a gateway to engaging consumers, gaining meaningful insights on new products and trends, and building relationships with current and future buyers. It's a booming industry that shouldn't be overlooked, as not having a Facebook page or social media presence can actually have an adverse effect on a brand or business.
However, Facebook isn't the only social platform that requires a company's attention. There are new social media platforms and trends afoot that will play an even bigger role in 2014 and beyond. As the year progresses, many social media features will evolve to meet the needs of both companies and consumers, and it will be crucial for people to stay on top of these latest changes.
Here are six social media trends that will color the way companies do business online in 2014:
1. Social pay to play: Brand social media will continue evolving to look more like media. This will force brands to upgrade their content, make tough decisions on pay to play, and be selectively opportunistic on what remains truly social.
2. Google gets serious: Google will get serious with YouTube and Google+, with the former being the first to see some major changes.
3. Social TV: Social TV is on the rise. Twitter and TV go hand-in-hand. Television continues to grow as a social experience, with consumers watching, engaging, sharing, buying and commenting in real time. Look no further than last week's Grammy's and the upcoming Super Bowl. When Lorde performed Royals, she received 146,000 tweets per minute, and when she won her award, she received 152,000 tweets per minute. TV provides social with a new found scale and audience which opens up opportunities for businesses.
4. Facebook monetizing Graph Search: A monetization scheme for Facebook Graph Search will begin to materialize. With Facebook Graph Search, users can now search Facebook for topics that interest them, whether that's posts about last night's awards shows or places for good Mexican food in their city. Companies will soon be able to use this information to help them better understand their clientele and organically fit into conversations that people are already having on Facebook.
5. Instagram: The image-sharing site will have a huge year in terms of growth (and more ad dollars will follow). As a result, more companies are going to join this newer form of social media. From hairstylists and fashion designers posting photos of their work to restaurants tempting diners with images of their latest dishes, Instagram will play an important role in how companies engage consumers.
6. Channel diversification: There will be greater brand diversification with a presence across all social channels as well as new ad offerings and options. Companies now realize that having a Facebook page isn't enough when so many consumers also use Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.
Social media will continue to grow and evolve as technology progresses and improves, and it will behoove consumers and companies alike to stay on top of these current trends to ensure they're getting the most out of their time online. The possibilities are endless!
Stephanie Moritz is the head of PR and social media at ConAgra Foods.