Image by: Jason Howie
By Michael Sterling
This year has brought a lot of lessons for online business owners. In 2013, nearly 93% of marketers used social media platforms for their businesses and that figure is only going to climb not just for returns, but because of demand. Most of the new features introduced on social media have been because the consumers demanded it. That’s the power of social networking.
Next year, we are sure to see even more surprises from the world’s most popular platforms. What one social media platform lacks, another will integrate. But what can we expect? Turns out, 2014 is going to be a big year for renovation both in business and in the networking experience.
88% of brands will use social media marketing in 2014, according to a poll by eMarketer, . The rise in usage has driven marketers and social media gurus back to the drawing board nearly every day, trying to one-up their competitors. There is so much money depending on their success that all of them try to keep their reinventions as secret as possible.
However, every company wants profit. Because social media is so highly dependent on its users, entrepreneurs are quickly trying to meet them where they’re at. Take a look at what some platforms might look like in 2014:
Everyone knows Facebook is continuing to lead the pack in regard to its number of active monthly users (1.15 billion,) but Google+ is gaining steam very quickly. In fact, at 343 million monthly users, it’s now second behind Facebook.
It’s more than just a social network, which is what Facebook and Twitter market itself as. Google+ is increasingly proving itself to be a major part of Google’s monopoly-like scheme to take over the world’s search experience. Just a couple weeks ago they redesigned YouTube’s comment section, requiring users to have a Google+ account or YouTube channel to comment.
Most business professionals have a Gmail account, and that in itself sets the bar high for them to also have a Google+. With Google’s other attributes in terms of SEO, social signals, and allowing users a more personalized search experience, the company has truly made Google+ to be a “one stop shop.”
It’s thought that businesses will increasingly turn to Google+ whenever they find other social media platforms too narrow. As it continues to move towards more integration with other aspects, i.e. Google Authorship which is projected to be one of the key components to Google’s search ranking algorithm be the end of 2014, it’s likely we will see the company grow both in business and personal use.
Investors continue to remain skeptical of the social media giant, especially after their infamous IPO flop last year. However, word on the streets is that it will all change in 2014.
Consumers are becoming comfortable sharing more information than they used to. They’ve created their own digital lives on their computers, which is excellent news for Facebook. There’s no question that it’s the most powerful digital platform out there, but it’s still incredibly undervalued by investors.
By next year, it’s predicted that Facebook will finally get the credit it deeply deserves by not only consumers, but investors. As we see them integrate new technology, involving sharing and marketing tools for businesses, it’s likely we will also see it’s revenue grow, along with it’s potential in the market.
It’s been discovered in a recent HubSpot study that all of the top 100 non-celebrity Twitter accounts use targeted content to build their audiences. Businesses are definitely going to be paying attention to the data. Experts predict that the social media giant is going to become less conversation and more education, prompting more sharing and becoming the leading marketing platform.
Being only limited to 150 characters, a part of Twitter’s charm is that it’s least likely to be passed on. Since it’s content is quick to read and takes minimal time, marketers are beginning to squeeze their advertisement in the space of a tweet, instead of inserting a link. In a way, Twitter is slowly becoming an easy way to distribute digital “flyers.” Next year, we will see a lot more of this strategy unfold.
LinkedIn is still the #1 social networking site for professionals of all industries with nearly 238 million users, but in 2014 we are likely to see it morph into not just employee-to-employer, but also business-to-business (B2B) transactions, especially with the launch of the company’s Influencers program.
As it continues to grow and attract more users, B2B marketers will likely see the tremendous advantages it has in reaching out to other businesses. With this kind of potential, LinkedIn is not going to be just another networking site in the next year, but one of the largest sources of content creation and curation for all professionals worldwide.