The State of Social Media in 2014

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The State of Social Media in 2014
By Klarity In Social Media

The world of social media and social media marketing is one of constant flux. It is endlessly changing. What might be hot today might be long gone tomorrow.

Naturally, staying up to date with the latest social media trends is of utmost importance and effectively utilizing social media markets rests on a solid overall understanding of the current state of social media.

And 2014 is set to be quite a bit different than 2013 for social media and social media marketing. While it is impossible to predict every single change, there are a few key trends that will no doubt greatly influence the entire space in 2014.

Four of these trends are discussed at greater length below. But first – a brief overview of the major social networking changes we witnessed in 2013.

2013 – A Busy Year for Social Media

An increasing trend was the trend of teenagers that previously dominated Facebook seeking out newer platforms that better capture their attention. They also left to find sites that are not yet on the radar of parents and other older family members.

Twitter also made some big changes in 2013. By purchasing Vine (a mobile video app), they better enabled users to create and share videos. Twitter also announced and went public in 2013.

Instagram, now owned by Facebook, followed suit by adding a video feature to their repertoire. They additionally added sponsored image posts to user’s newsfeeds in a bid to monetize the platform without annoying the existing extensive user base.

Another big social media trend in 2013 occurred across the entire breadth of the web. Though GIFs have always been popular, there was a huge boom in their abundance last year, effectively bringing them into the mainstream. Animated GIFs power the web meme, although only Google Plus allows them to be seen animated within the social space.

Rise of Social Paid Advertising

Every one of the major social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn) as well as several smaller platforms currently offer paid social advertising.

A few interesting statistics related to paid advertising within social include:

  • Companies using retargeted ads on Facebook receive an average of 49 times more clicks than right-hand sidebar advertisements.
  • Three types of paid advertising are available on Twitter: promoted accounts, tweets, and trends.
  • Companies using LinkedIn Sponsored Updates report a 45% higher engagement rate than similar efforts on Facebook and Twitter.

Necessity of Visual Content

Visual content is essential to your social media marketing efforts. Case in point: image-based and video-based updates have 600 times higher the engagement rates than text-only posts.

And that was in 2013. The gap is only going to get bigger through 2014 and beyond. Still images, infographics, GIFs, and videos are all examples of visual content that is sure to drive more interaction than text based posts on your company’s social networking accounts.

This isn’t to say that there is no place for text-based posts, of course – just that the majority of your content sharing should be visually appealing. Or at the very least include a photo or video alongside text.

Think about it like a blog post. How much more likely are you to read – and really retain the information in – a blog post that has plenty of high-quality images than one without?

Google+ Make or Break?

In 2014 Google+ will become even more important or it could be abandoned, it really is hard to say at this point what will happen to Google’s social aspirations. Currently it is still greatly underrated and ignored by the majority of corporations.

The slow adoption of Google+ by mainstream audiences makes sense. It has a bit more of a “tech” feel and promotes conversations more than simple sharing. However, there is absolutely no reason businesses shouldn’t be using the platform for their social marketing efforts, especially considering its search integration benefits.

Google+ also offers a number of other functions and features that no other social network has. Communities and Hangouts are examples of these. The ability to share specific content with specifically targeted groups is another unique feature as well as the benefits of Google Authorship.

If your business has not yet to implement a Google+ profile, there is no better time to start than now.

Social Listening and Social Customer Care More Important Than Ever

Do you remember the days when acquiring new “likes” and “followers” was the primary goal of social media marketing? Well those days are long gone.

One of the biggest changes to social media in 2014 is the importance of social listening and social customer care. This means actually reading and responding to customer comments and feedback on your social networking accounts rather than simply posting, posting, posting.

But don’t just respond blindly. You need to listen and respond strategically for the best results. Here are a few tips:

  • Understand comments before responding. Is only one person saying something or are several people saying the same thing about your company? Is positive feedback due to a specific awesome product/service or is it related to a solid advertising campaign?
  • Take a look at the context. Many social sites cue you in to a conversation as soon as your company’s name is mentioned. But is the customer reaching out to you directly or simply talking to a friend about your services? The way that you respond should take their context into account.
  • Respond with the intention of mutual value. Don’t respond simply to respond or to benefit your company. Respond with something of value to the customer.

What You Can Do

So what does all of this mean for you? It means that you need to buckle up, take special note of the state of social media in 2014, and create your social marketing plan of attack around it. Get going on Google+, focus on visual content on all of your social accounts, consider paid advertising, and don’t just post – actually respond to customers when they mention your company or comment on your page.

And more importantly still, have a way to track your social media efforts. Though nearly 86% of companies consider social media marketing important, not even 1/3 use paid social media analytics to track progress, monitor their brand, and track competitors. Klarity enables you to do all of these things. Why spend time and money on social media marketing without knowing where that time and money is going?

Get the most comprehensive source of social intelligence for your business – get access to Klarity Analytics.

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