Top 4 Social Media Trends of 2014
In 2013 there were several trends that we saw take off at an exponential rate, one being ads on social media sites, another being second-long videos being recorded with a variety of topics. For 2014, we’re going to see a growth of existing trends that were established in 2013, including more emphasis on ads, short videos, and perhaps an addition to the trending “flat design” on apps and websites.
Social media in 2013 focused primarily on marketing and advertising, taking huge steps toward this direction. Businesses got creative and really started to utilize “free” advertising for what it was – free. It was a great way to promote new services, events, or even as a means to get the company name out there. But if you were someone who utilized Facebook Ads often, you may have noticed changes in the service towards the end of the year.
Facebook has really developed into a platform that allows businesses to not only target fans, but using Power Editor or Graph Search, businesses were now able to target specific demographics using a variety of information – where you live, your age, where you went to school, your interests or even your income (scared yet?). Thankfully, there’s been no report of anyone abusing this service, and it’s been utilized the way it should be so far, resulting in positive results for various businesses.
Facebook isn’t the only one utilizing their large audience effectively, from a business standpoint, that is. Ads are also starting to be seen more often on other social media sites such as Twitter, Foursquare, and even Yelp. Companies use that space to promote upcoming events, share discounts and deals, or even just to gain more exposure and followers.
2) Visuals Over Text
Visual social content is going to inevitably grow this year, particularly within Vine and Instagram. Vine emerged fresh on the scene last year and initially had several criticisms, but managed to take that and develop the app to become even better. They’ve managed to separate themselves from Instagram, making the focus on the users rather than the app. Video for Instagram emerged onto the scene in the summer of 2013, initially creating a stir between the two apps. Both apps have potential to grow separately without overshadowing the other, just like Twitter and Facebook, and you have to keep in mind that different audiences will inevitably be attracted to one app over the other.
Creating videos and micro-videos shows a different side to your company in a more creative, seemingly interactive way. Videos also create a more personal touch to existing company social presences where text content dominates – Facebook, Twitter, blogs, etc. – but with the help of “sharing” fans can now enjoy a behind the scenes aspect of the company they follow.
Another social network based around visuals is Pinterest, which has also become more popular in 2013. When utilized effectively, Pinterest can really show another side to a company that can attract a whole new type of audience. Based on observation and trends, image-centric sites are definitely going to continue to grow more popular in this upcoming year.
3) Google +
Google Plus has been involved with the social scene for a few years now, and it’s only now in 2014 that they are starting to kick off. With various changes going on within other social platforms, Google+ was able to sneak right in there, capturing the attention of various businesses, and now stands second next to Facebook.
So why the change all of a sudden? Well, that ties into how high SEO is being ranked in today’s marketing world. With Google being the leading search engine currently, they favor anything that is under Google when determining SEO rankings. This includes Youtube, Google Plus, Blogger, and others. Basically, Google favors themselves, and in my opinion, it is quite a smart move especially because Google Plus was struggling to survive as a social network before.
Even better news for businesses is that Google + is going to start rolling out “Promoted Posts” soon which will share your content to an even larger potential fan base, since well, Google is the largest search engine used today.
4) Spammy Content Will Cease To Exist
Google and other search engines have made it clear that they are over spam and “spammy” content in general. But, in addition to the search engines, even Facebook is taking a stand against that madness. When setting up ads on Facebook, they limit the amount of text you can add on a particular graphic or ad, forcing businesses to use significantly less text on an image. This was done in an attempt to prevent businesses from spamming their fans and followers for obvious reasons. That being said, it’s clear that the internet giants are through with that and looking for more quality in 2014. The best way to get around creating spammy content is simple – create valuable and engaging content.
Which trends do you think will flourish in 2014?
Kelsey Belgrave is a digital media coordinator at MSM DesignZ, Inc.. MSM DesignZ is a full service advertising and design firm based in Westchester County, New York.