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Social media predictions for 2014 – What to expect?

Social media predictions for 2014 – What to expect?
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That Social media has immense power to connect you to millions has already been highlighted a billion times. What I feel needs focus on is, out of the ever growing number of social communities who engage online, and with the maximum population active on multiple platforms, the key is to figure out where you can allot your hours to make your social media marketing strategy work to its fullest potential. Again, it needs to be understood that social media demands that you socialize, it is an activity. It has got nothing to do with whether or not you personally like to reach out to people. Like any other job, this needs work, an honest effort, research and regular attention. There are two ways businesses use social media. Either, an established Brand uses the platform to further connect to its audience and build a positive and continuous rapport. Or a start up or locally restricted business aggressively uses the medium to reach out to its full potential by spreading the word. While the going is smoother for the first kind, I am going to throw some light on how the second group can make the optimum use of this incredible medium to grow exponentially over the next twelve months.

  1.  While you have noticed this already – Images play a dominant role in today’s marketing tactics. It is only going to get bigger. Marketing has shifted from black and white text literature and a logo to a brighter and more visual act of arresting attention. And how does this piece of information reflect on social media? It directly impacts communities on sites like Pinterest and Instagram.
  2. A step ahead is videos. Today Digital is the word. So what do you think tomorrow will be like? Why go around with boring CVs that only talk about your educational credits and little about your personality? From testimonials to presentations, SOPs to proposals, video streaming is slated to get really popular in the coming year. And so will YouTube and Vimeo. The former will have to come up with a killer strategy to reinvent itself.
  3. Google+, many believe, will get bigger. I beg to differ. In 2014, Google+ will either wither away like Orkut, or will be back with renewed vigor like Facebook. Google+ is one of a kind platform that allows very little in terms of socializing on its network. Even if corporate’s flock to it, they do so fearing that they might lose a chunk of Google attention if they fail to have an identity on its so called social networking site. People do not visit unwelcoming or dumb hosts. Similarly, if it is not fun, people will not use it. Plus, there are twenty other alternatives to better socialize where more number of friends join. That’s where businesses will get their audience’s attention. And with Google’s focus on natural links and natural votes, likes and shares, a business has carefully choose its social media marketing strategy.
  4. LinkedIn will grow from strength to strength. Not only is it a heady mix of head honchos and corporate professionals, even businesses have profiles here and they already make good use of the platform to advertise and hire. My gut feeling tells me that it will be a more prominent portfolio site than any other, and will introduce more compelling features in keeping with the evolving corporate world.
  5. Facebook that rules the social media platform today will grow. Yes, and it will have a far greater impact on marketing than any other among its rivals. From better management of advertisements to a more organized mobile display, it will get better and more popular. I am actually expecting some kind of merger or some form of innovation that will keep it fighting for the top slot.
  6. Finally, mobile is the word. Despite so many popular community sites on the web, new ones on the block manage to get their share of members and shoot up the ladder, if they have a concept worth sharing, and if they can customize the experience for the growing mobile crowd. Therefore, I am also expecting newer communities to come up with compelling ideas to connect people offering the most basic need of socializing.

How the above communities turn out to behave online will unfold in the coming months. One thing is guaranteed, one way or other, social media continues to grab attention. And when businesses want to capitalize this massive concoction of audiences, and are given further options to sort the customer demography they want to target, they need to appoint professionals to rightly behave on the platform. And to rightly redirect their attention to the Brand they are working for. A casual passing comment or sharing a contradictory idea in jest could cost heavily.

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