1. Adverts, Adverts, Adverts
With Instagram and Snapchat both introducing irritating adverts on their apps last year, the advertising cash cow shows no sign of slowing down on its rampage any time soon. I think that 2014 is going to be the year of the advert on social media.
2. Brand Building
This one isn’t really a prediction, more or a deep-seeded hope of mine. It would be my dream for brands to embrace social media properly in 2014, and not just use it as some sort of spammy sales tool.
Look at what popular brands are doing. Are they begging for likes and shares? No. They’re creating interesting, engaging content that people want to read and share. It really is that simple.
So, please can you guys just crack on and do this. For me?
3. Increase in Paid Activity
As you very much aware, the use of social media is free. However, as you also know, due to people banging on about it all the time, they need (want) to make money. They’re already tackling that through advertorial, but that won’t be enough. I think 2014 will see the start of paid features for social networks, so the benefits of organic activity will decrease and the only way to get the latest updates and features will be to pay for them.
I’m secretly hoping that this won’t be the case, but it will be interesting to see how it will pan out.
4. Make it Mobile
If your website isn’t optimised for mobile yet, then you should just turn your horse-drawn chariot around and head back to THE PAST.
With 71% of people using mobile to access social media (according to Adobe), mobile is where it’s at. Make sure your site is responsive to all types of mobile pronto.
5. Keep an Eye on Google+
It’s been lurking around in the background for a while, but 2014 could see Google+ dominating the social media market. It’s an eventuality that we have been expecting for a while, and Google+ has been growing, but it will be interesting to see whether it starts to present a big threat to the top players.
The search benefits from Google and the increased user database means that people are flocking to G+, and it could even usurp the likes of Facebook which is, like, so 2011.
6. All About Images…
Images are the most popular content shared on social media which, now that you think about it, is fairly obvious. I am forever seeing ‘funny’ pictures that people share in my Facebook newsfeed under the impression that I will enjoy them (NEWSFLASH: I don’t, they are annoying and I’ve probably already seen them on Twitter).
Anyhoo, according to jeffbullas.com, uploading and sharing photos was the top activity on desktop, mobile (there it is again) and tablet in Q2 2013. That will only continue through 2014, you mark my words.
7. … And Video
Whilst video doesn’t get as much of the sharing pie as images do, services such as Vine and Instagram video (both of which we introduced last year) mean that video is becoming more accessible for social media users. You don’t have to go through the rigmarole of uploading a short clip to YouTube if you want to share it with your friends – you can just record whichever hilarious incident you happen to be witnessing at the time and share it across multiple social platforms.
A number of video enquiries that we get for social media are from people looking to have video on their website, and the number of enquiries have been growing over the last year. I think businesses are starting to realise that having online video on their websites is another way of increasing their presence online.
8. Share and Share Alike
I’m not even sure if this is possible, but I think sharing will increase in 2014. People are being encouraged to share content more and more, from music to images to videos, and it seems that they’re obliging.
Whilst this is great news as it presents more and more opportunity for content to be shared, it also makes it more difficult to be discovered.
9. Be Nice to Bloggers
A lot of marketing and PR campaigns are now turning to bloggers for coverage, particularly those who have a nice, big, juicy follower base.
ASA changes mean that bloggers now have to disclose any comped or paid for products, but having their own blog does give them the freedom to say what they really think about a product, so don’t send them anything unless is either really good or really useful. Ideally, both.
10. Internet Users Will Stay the Same
Life on the internet is a vicious cycle of people you hate, and people you love. Over-sharers vs. the people that discover and create funny content first. I think we all need to accept that this will always be the case. There will always be the humble bragger, the #justsayin hashtag user and the uploaders of #foodporn. We (I) just need to learn to ignore them and get on with life.
EMBRACE 2014, SOCIAL MEDIA FANS!