Small Business Social Media Trends for 2014


Small Business Social Media Trends for 2014

After reading a Forbes Magazine article on the trends of social media I realized that so much is geared toward the Big Box or heavily branded product (Nike, Coca Cola, Sony, etc.) so I am adapting its article to benefit the small to mid-sized business. With new social media outlets appearing everywhere, it can be hard to know exactly where to commit your resources.  We’ll breakdown what is out there and detail what will be important in 2014.

The following six items are predictions from Forbes Magazine as what will be in 2014.  Below each is my commentary on it affects the small business.

1. Social Media Will Become a Necessity, Not a Luxury

If you’re not currently utilizing at least two social media outlets then you are already behind the curve and whether you know it or not, your business is suffering.  The one element the small business had was it’s personal relationship with its customers.  Social Media is the new “personal relationship.”  In fact, it is quickly becoming the preferred way of communicating with brands and businesses.  The key is interaction and some of the biggest companies out there are doing it.  From personal experience I can say that Virgin America, K-mart, JCPenny, and a host of television networks and shows are masterful with their utilization of social media.  Social media is growing, it is another example of how businesses must grow with the times.

As businesses see measurable benefits, we’ll see a move away from assigning social media tasks to existing employees, and see more companies hiring social media strategists or full-time social media managers.

2. Google+ Will Become a Major Factor

While Facebook continues to lead the pack in terms of number of active monthly users (1.15 billion at last count), Google+ now has the second highest number of monthly users (343 million).

With Google using the platform to collect personal information (think demographics, location, etc.), Google+ should no longer be thought of as ‘just’ another social network. It’s increasingly proving itself to be an integral part of Google’s grand scheme in terms of SEO, social signals and providing a more personalized search experience.  I believe that businesses who are finding themselves spread thin with their social media efforts will increasingly turn to Google+ as the closest thing we have to a ‘one size fits all’ social network.

3. Image-Centric Networks Will See Huge Success (Pinterest, Instagram, etc.)

Visual content will increasingly become a critical piece of any solid content strategy, and social networking site Pinterest will continue to shed its reputation as a ‘women’s only’ network and become an integral part of retailers’ marketing strategies.  Pinterest is a social media outlet that I suggest all my clients be on if their product is a visual one.

For years we’ve been taught to protect the images on your websites to ensure they couldn’t be swiped or copied.  Now, we’re encouraging clients to make their web content sharable.  Other image-based social media sites like Slideshare, Tumblr, Path, and Mobli will continue to grow, and businesses must make content available for sharing.  The ability to make content sharable will derive significant benefit from their social media content marketing efforts.

4. We’ll Witness the Rise of Micro-Video

With the emergence of micro video apps like Twitter’s Vine and now Instagram’s video sharing feature, we’re seeing even more movement toward real-time video sharing. And not just any videos; with Instagram allowing 3-15 seconds per video, and Vine allowing precisely 6 seconds, users are even more likely to create and share videos from their smart phones.  Businesses should be doing the same thing.

It will be interesting to see if and how these bite-sized pieces of content will change the playing field when it comes to video-based social media.

5. Foursquare Will Decline Sharply

Did anyone know that Foursquare was still in operation?  With other more popular social media outlets allowing for “check-ins” Foursquare will continue to decline unless it can quickly come up with something new and dynamic.

6. MySpace, Love it or Hate it, Will Grow

MySpace is doing it’s best to make a comeback.  Doesn’t Justin Timberlake own a big chunk of it? It will not compete with Facebook, but don’t count out its innovations in 2014.  We may be reporting on it very favorably by 2015.

. . . Anyway,

Facebook and Twitter show no signs of decline in use, but it will be interesting to see how they innovate to keep up with the growth of Google+ as well as image and video-based networks.  Currently, I consider Facebook and Twitter the absolute MUST-HAVES for all of my clients.  In 2014, I am insisting that Google+ be added to that list.  While Google+ is the fastest growing, I still believe that Facebook and Twitter are more heavily used and seen.

While most business owners are aware of the necessity of having a social media strategy, I believe 2014 will be the year where a majority of businesses will finally understand the necessity to commit the necessary time and resources to their social media efforts.

Social Media is how big business is establishing personal relationships with their customers.  The personal relationships that were considered unique to small, local businesses.  Social Media Strategy is no longer a “fad” but instead a “fact of life.”