It’s clear that social media is here to stay, but many businesses are still slow to adopt a strategy on how to best utilize it for marketing. New social networking platforms continue to appear and the existing ones, like Facebook and Twitter, continue to evolve to keep up with the changing market. We have analyzed the current trends in social media and have made some predictions for next year so that you can be ahead of the curve.
1. Investment in Social Media is a Necessity
It’s already been clear that your business should have a presence on social media, but in the coming year it’s absolutely necessary. Integrating social media into your marketing plan is key for generating leads, referrals and brand recognition which in turn leads to higher revenue. Brand awareness, word-of-mouth advertising, improved search rankings, and direct customer interaction are just a few of the key benefits from having engaging social media pages.
Google+ already has the second highest number of monthly users behind Facebook, and that user base continues to rise. It’s proving itself to be more than just another social network, with the integration of higher SEO rankings for Google+ pages, improved social signals and a more personalized search experience for users. Also, with the new Google Authorship, You can link content you publish on a specific domain to your Google+ profile. Businesses that are having trouble keeping up with multiple social networks at once could turn to Google+ as their main outlet because of all the benefits associated with content search optimization.
3. Image is Everything
We cannot emphasize this enough, but image centric content is key in generating engagement on social media platforms. Many studies show that users are much more likely to click on posts with images or videos than just text-based content. Coupling important information with eye-catching images or graphics is a great way to stand out in the news feed, so do it.
Vine and Instagram have revolutionized real-time video sharing in social media. With a max of 15 seconds for Instagram and 6 seconds for Vine, users can create short pieces on their smartphones to share instantly with their fans. We’ve already talked about the many benefits of using these services for small business marketing, so it’s only fair that more and more companies will be jumping on the video bandwagon.
5. LinkedIn Will Become a Major Player
LinkedIn has always been the #1 social networking site for business professionals, boasting nearly 240 million users, but now with the launch of its Influencers program, it will become a source for content creation and curation. This program allows for selected “thought leaders” to share original content directly with LinkedIn users. Where LinkedIn was already a great source of information, now it will provide insight from some of the best minds in business.
Looking ahead to the future is not easy, but if you keep these trends in mind going forward with your social media plan, you should be ahead of the curve.