We might already be halfway through the first quarter of the New Year but that doesn’t stop us from looking at rising trends and casting predictions for whatever fate is set to befall social media marketing for the rest of 2014.
1. The Rise of the Infographic
Up until last year, the infographic wasn’t at all popular. Sure, there were infographics, interesting ones, funny ones, and overall brilliant ones making the rounds online. That was until last year, when a marked surge in the demand for infographic content online and in print made the infographic the new content media darling. And the demand isn’t showing any signs of abating any time soon.
We’re probably going to see more content that’s image-driven. However, this doesn’t mean that long content is obsolete or that the infographics is going to beat the written word out of social channels and content marketing. There’s always going to be a market for written content, for social messages rendered in strong and evocative words.
2. Employees are More Social
Gone are the days when companies had to hide behind a company account that spouted marketing messages that were formal, long, and ineffective. Now, it’s all about using the social influence your employees have too.
So if you have twenty people and you posted a status or photo, you could expect the company account and twenty more people to like and share that status or photo to their respective circles.
This ensured that companies are now able to reach a broader audience in terms of online marketing and social media coverage. This also meant a move towards a more personalized content in terms of voice and branding. It’s no longer a company talking to consumers—it’s a company with a human face and voice, listening and addressing consumer needs.
That move was designed to eliminate the distance between consumers and companies, making for a closer and deeper engagement with customers. We see this trend now in many local marketing campaigns. Globe, whose rebranding efforts last year were done along the same lines, is an obvious example.
3. Paid Social Media
Social channels like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are going to start integrating more paid features and services into their platforms. While these sites surely won’t do away with organic activity, the addition of paid features is expected to curtail the organic activity to an extent and at best, encourage more customers to whip out their credit cards more often in the middle of the gameplay. It’s the ‘pay before you play’ policy.
Of course, we’re already seeing this in how more and more online games on Facebook are requiring players to pay just so they could take advantage of special offers and gameplay features.
Recent research, however, suggests that the teen demographic is starting to abandon Facebook. This trend of ‘pay before you play’ could be one factor, with more consumers refusing to pay extra just so they could advance to higher levels of the game.
It remains to be seen though if the teen exodus would generate a huge loss for Facebook. After all, while it’s a shame to lose this demographic, they don’t actually comprise the greater portion of Facebook’s paying market.
4. Fusion of Social and Traditional Marketing
Companies are starting to find ways to fuse together their social and traditional marketing efforts. Email campaigns are now connected to LinkedIn profiles, Facebook, Twitter. The platforms they use are more interactive, encouraging real-time responses and changes. We’ll probably see more features and services that promote better content marketing—all at less effort.
Crowdsourcing is the newest favorite online buzzword and sites like Kickstarter are only going to grow and multiply in the blogosphere. Job titles in the industry are also adjusting: email specialist are now being called social media specialists.
It’s a paradigm shift, in terms of how marketers connect with the consumer market. There’s less twaddle tossed around and more concrete, solid targeted marketing done.
Where general one-size-fits-all email campaigns used to work, we now have content specialized and customized to answer specific needs and demands. Prime examples of this type of content—targeted, up-to-date and spot-on—are those provided by the growing number of online comparison portals.
5. Interactive Video
Imagine when one of your friends on Facebook posts something: you could comment on it, share it, like it. Now, with technologies moving towards collaborative and interactive platforms, it’s not difficult to imagine that interactive videos wouldn’t be far behind.
Imagine a video you could watch, put comments in—yes, inside the video itself and not in the comments sections—or video snippets that pop up when you search on a particular topic or subject. That sort of accuracy, that kind specificity—imagine that. Maybe 2014 might just change the way we think about our videos along with how we design and use our video content.
These are simply a few of the predictions we have for social media and content marketing this year. It’s a sure thing though that 2014 will offer bigger surprises to IT sector. So we’ll all just sit back and wait. The best, after all, is still yet to come.