Social Media Marketing Trends to Watch for in 2014
With 2013 coming to an end, it's an opportune time to revisit what worked and what didn't in social media over the past year, and take a look at trends that will dominate in 2014. There's no doubt that 2013 was a huge year for social media — Twitter IPO'd, Snapchat turned down a $3 billion dollar offer from Facebook and more organizations than ever turned to social platforms to spread their message and reach customers. No matter what happens in 2014, there will be changes and social media will continue to evolve at a rapid pace.
To help brands and marketers prepare for the new year and connect with their customers in an effective way, here are two major trends social marketers should keep in mind for 2014:
1. The rise of social intelligence and social location data: In 2014, social data will guide customer relationship intelligence for marketers better than ever before, as it's a potential gold mine for learning about your audience and shaping plans. In fact, there are millions of actions taking place on social networks every minute, presenting both a challenge and an opportunity. While a successful analysis of this data can lead to greater insights and stronger customer relationships, the challenge lies in actually extracting meaning from it.
Information from social sites, campaigns and other customer interactions can provide brands with the necessary insights to accomplish their goals, and we'll see even more organizations turning to social data to achieve great things. Also, because community managers cannot conquer the job of monitoring all of a company's social platforms alone, it's important to invest in tools like a social analytics platform to listen to sentiment and track emotions.
Additionally, as mobile usage skyrockets, marketers have begun and will continue to cater to a mobile audience with location-based and real-time marketing opportunities. Location-driven platforms like foursquare and Yelp are rapidly pulling in consumer tips and preferences, providing a wealth of data on consumer behaviors. Brands that successfully analyze this type of data will uncover greater opportunities to turn fans from browsers into buyers, ultimately building long-term brand loyalty.
2. Real-time content marketing is about quality, not quantity: As we move into 2014, it's important to remember that to effectively engage consumers it's aboutrelevant content, not bombarding them with an abundance of content that's simply not of interest to them. This can be achieved by focusing on three sets of real-time content marketing: waiting for the moment, acting in the moment and anticipating the moment. By focusing on these real-time content marketing strategies, brands and marketers can drive traffic, engagement and high-quality leads. Smart brands already have a handle on acting in the moment — e.g., Oreo's Dunk in the Dark Superbowl tweet. We'll only continue to see more of this real-time engagement in 2014.
We're still in the early stages of being able to anticipate the moment, but imagine the possibilities that would arise if your team could anticipate the topics your customers would be talking about and have content ready for them when they needed it? This is predictive analytics, and it's likely where we're headed in 2014. With this type of intelligence, brands could stay ahead of topical trends and determine which devices to optimize campaigns for, which products users would likely enjoy next, and which calls to action would be most effective.
Aaron Everson is the president and chief strategy officer of Shoutlet, a provider of a SaaS, enterprise-level social media marketing platform.