As we’ve seen in the past, social media is a constantly evolving thing that often goes in a sudden and unforeseen direction. We, as marketers or social media managers, need to monitor where social media is going so that our companies don’t get left behind. Keeping ahead of the curve makes adjustments and preparation easier while also not giving any online advantages to competitors.
After searching through several different tech and social media sources, there seem to be a few consistent trends that industry specialists agree on:
- The number of social media users will continue to trend upward. While there was moderate social networking use with Facebook, the addition of Twitter and other social media sites have continued to interest an increasingly mobile society. According to a recent report by eMarketer, about one in seven people worldwide use a social networking site at least once a month, amounting to about 1.61 billion people. However, this number is set to grow to more than 2 billion people by 2017. This year’s number of social network users grew by 14.2 percent, and the rate is expected to drop to 7.6 percent by 2017. (Jenkins, 2013)
- User-generated content will be more common. Expect to see more initiatives like the one from Urban Outfitters. The retailer encourages customers to take photos of themselves in its clothing and to post them to Instagram with a hashtag. The company moderates the content and picks some photos to include in a gallery that links to the pages where you can then buy those looks.”Not only is user-generated content free, but they’re interested in it because every business wants to measure the ROI of social. This is a really easy and effective way to do that.” said Apu Gupta, CEO of the social analytics company Curalate.
- Google+ finally joins the party. Google is already the fastest growing social media site ever, but it seems like a forgotten member of the social media club. In fact, in a recent eMarketer study, U.S. marketers ranked Google+ as the platform they feel is least important. (Maldonado, 2013)
Google redesigned YouTube’s comment section and now requires users to have a Google+ account or a YouTube channel to comment. And last month, it announced new details about its user base, confirming that it now has more than 300 million monthly active users. (Burnham, 2013) If you of your company don’t have a Google+ site, it’s time to sign up.
- B2B brands will integrate social media (and social analytics) with their overall marketing program. This year, 88 percent of brands are predicted to participate in social media. Predictions that claim “2014 will be the year social media is a necessity,” sound a lot like predictions of years past. Brands that are going to participate in social media did so in 2013. This recent study from eMarketer is only forecasting a one percent increase between 2013 and 2014.
According to social media author Lizzie Maldonado, “It is time, however, for B2B brands to integrate social media with the overall marketing function.”
Burnham, Kristin. November 18, 2013. 5 Top Social Media Trends for 2014. Retrieved on December 1, 2013 from http://www.informationweek.com/software/social/5-top-social-media-trends-for-2014/d/d-id/899805
Jenkins, Leslie. November 25, 2013. Three Emerging Social Media Trends Marketers Can Capitalize On. Retrieved on December 1, 2013 from http://www.business2community.com/social-media/three-emerging-social-media-trends-marketers-can-capitalize-0694581#cmYyVEQfhxLkoFP1.99
Maldonado, Lizzie. December 2, 2013. Four Trends and Predictions for B2b Social Media. Retrieved on December 2, 2013 from http://www.business2community.com/b2b-marketing/four-trends-predictions-b2b-social-media-2014-0700694#!oNWIJ