Investing time and resources into a social media strategy is most definitely a necessity in 2013, The tipping point in public sentiment from ‘should have’ to ‘must have’ is occurring in 2014.
Businesses are already coming to terms with the need to integrate their social media efforts with their content strategy, and are seeing the impact of social media in terms of lead generation, referral traffic, and revenue.
As businesses see these very real and measurable benefits, we’ll see a move away from assigning social media tasks to existing employees, and see even more companies hiring social media strategists or full-time social media managers.
The benefits of social media are many, but they include:
- Improved social signals (which are a factor in the search ranking algorithm).
- Company branding
- Improved brand awareness
- Word-of-mouth advertising
- Increased customer loyalty and trust
- Improved audience reach and influence
Social media is also one of the three pillars of SEO.
We’ve seen a consistent trend in 2013 toward sharing through image and video, rather than text-based content. Visual content will increasingly become a critical piece of any solid content strategy, and the 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.
LinkedIn Will Become a Major Player for B2B Business Growth
Still holding steady as the #1 social networking site for professionals with 238 million users, LinkedIn isn’t just sitting on its heels. With the launch of its Influencers program, LinkedIn is positioning itself as not only another networking site, but as one of the largest sources of content creation for professionals.
As it grows and attracts even more users, the advantages of being “linked in” will become enormous for B2B marketers.
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+ is quickly gaining steam, and in fact, 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. This is especially apparent with the importance of Google Authorship, which will be one of the key components to Google’s search ranking algorithm by the end of 2014.
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.