The unofficial leader of social media news, Mashable, released "9 Ways Social Media Marketing Will Change in 2014" Monday. Mashable called upon nine successful entrepreneurs, who shared their insight as to how they plan on altering social media marketing strategies in the next six months, based on their predictions for the entire New Year.
Here’s our abbreviated top four picks of their predictions:
Number One: A picture’s worth 104% more words…in Facebook comments
Laura Pepper Wu, editor at The Write Life Magazine and co- founder of 30 Day Books, notes that posts on Facebook with photos get 53% more likes, 104% more comments and 84% more click-throughs than text-based posts, according to Kissmetrics.
Visual content has proven to be more sharable, and that trend will continue to rise. With the ever-increasing popularity of picture-based Pinterest and Tumblr , visual variety is sure to be seen, literally and figuratively, well into 2014. Wu predicts popular visual content will include “infographics, images with text overlay or pretty quote graphics.” Social media marketing professionals will have to work to transform written content into visual content, making it more shareable on social media.
Number Two: You can’t buy engagement, but you can pay for exposure
One of the most touted social media trends predicted for 2013 was an increase in budgets for public relations and social media communications.
The age-old idiom “it takes money to make money” won’t mean a simple increase in social budgets will directly stimulate an increase in sales. Engagement is now widely referred to as the most important aspect of social media; and the monetary exchange won’t be that simple. According to Charles Gaudet, founder of Predictable Profits, “people love to buy, but they hate to be sold. Customers and prospects will seek out companies offering value, entertainment, discounts, help and engagement.”
Purely promotional posts tend to be the least engaging. However, engagement without promotion has monetary value. Kristopher Jones of ReferLocal.com says, “I assume that the most effective social media campaigns in 2014 will be paid.” Jones also predicts successful campaigns on Facebook and Twitter will require usage of both site’s paid advertising and promotional options.
Number Three: LinkedIn set to become a leading industry news source
A surprising prediction: “LinkedIn will become the most popular publisher.” Professional networking on the original professional networking site will now expand past your own respective connections.
“Imagine a publication with more than 100 million captive readers and writers, such as Bill Gates and Richard Branson, all natively hooked into and targeted to a social network,” says Trevor Sumner, founder of LocalVox, “LinkedIn will become a premium destination for industry news, and you need to take part in that ecosystem early and often. Publish original content, network among peers in groups and raise your profile now.”
Brush up on your publishing skills and you might even get a few billionaire endorsements.
Number Four: Content is still King. And Queen. And the Kingdom.
Bigger, better, bolder, and brainier: the importance of content for the sake of content has evolved over the past few years as social media marketing matures. “Content,” one of the principal buzzwords of social media principles, is now preceded by “compelling, engaging, interactive, dynamic and shareable.” As Andrew Howlett of MediaRain.com puts it, “simple messages and simple questions aren't enough anymore.” Howlett suggests engaging with audiences on a “deeper, more intelligent level.”
Wade Foster of Zapeir, Inc. says originality and uniqueness is the way to play in 2014, “social media has really started to mature. Therefore, it will be a lot harder to stand out. To win big in social media, you'll have to think outside the box and find ways to get your content to stand out in all the noise.” Win big with standout style.
Chuck Cohn, founder and CEO of Varsity Tutors, challenges social media marketers to create interactive “software-like” content in 2014. “Creating static content is too easy.”
As social media marketers, let’s see if we’ll make these predictions come true. To see Mashable’s complete list, read the full story here.