Here are a few of my predictions.
Facebook will continue to be the dominant social platform
After all the complaining, businesses will continue to leverage Facebook’s huge traffic flow. Soft sell and creativity as well as website and Instagram integration will be more and more critical. Businesses are learning that consumers are not on Facebook to buy anything but a creative, engaging Facebook presence can bring huge results.
Hashtags will become the dominant call to action
Since almost all of the major players in social media are using hashtags to aggregate content, with Facebook adding the functionality in June of 2013, I’m predicting more campaigns based around them rather than individual platforms. As recent as a year ago it was typical for marketers to add their web address and social buttons for Facebook, Twitter, YouTube etc to most of their advertising collateral. Increasingly it makes more sense to develop a unique hashtag for a campaign or brand conversations and use the tag instead of social connections, scooping up conversations wherever they take place.
Twitter will provide better analytics
If you don’t have an enterprise social media analytics tool it’s difficult to measure the impact of your efforts. That doesn’t mean there is no way to measure social media ROI, it just means it’s been a convoluted process. With Twitter going public in 2013, it makes sense for them to offer a tool for marketers to prove ROI, even for those not using their advertising platform. I also believe that 2014 will be a fallout year for all those businesses who have created a Twitter presence, only to let it languish.
Pinterest Place Pins bring even more attention to location data
With Pinterest’s addition of place pins with Foursquare mapping, I’m predicting more brands will claim their Foursquare page and keep the data updated. Even though Foursquare had been predicted to fail in 2013, instead its location data has been popping in applications like Instagram and Pinterest. Rather than fail, I’m predicting platforms will begin integrating Foursquare’s location data and the ability to push notifications to users based on their location. “How was your visit to Fairport?” Foursquare asked me immediately after I returned to Ohio from a trip to New York recently. That’s powerful stuff.
Social Media and Content Marketing budgets increase
Just as it used to be a luxury to have a website (think early to mid nineties) social media and content marketing budgets will continue to increase in 2014. Putting paid resources behind content will be a necessity as companies realize the value of managing their online reputations and providing useful content to users that have been trained to expect it. Consumers now do most of their purchasing research on their own BEFORE contacting sales. Saavy companies will provide that information at the top of the funnel if they want to stay competitive. Google’s continual changes to its algorithm to focus on useful content from a trusted author and its elimination of keyword data in Google analytics will steer marketers toward creating content that is helpful and useful.
What do you predict is in store for us in 2014? Leave me your thoughts in the comments.