The energy was sky high at Social Media Marketing World this year.
Marketers, brands, consultants and business owners from over 40 different countries gathered together to learn about the latest innovations in social media marketing, rub shoulders with social media rockstars, and enjoy unprecedented networking opportunities. Having the event in beautiful San Diego CA didn’t hurt either.
I had the pleasure of sitting in the opening keynote speech from the conference organizer Michael Stelzner, and he did not disappoint. Setting the tone for the days to come, Michael discussed the trends that he thinks will be making the biggest impact in social media marketing in 2014. Smart marketers should take note, because his presentation was chock full of excellent opportunities for businesses to increase the value they are getting from social throughout the coming year and beyond. Below are four key takeaways:
Visual Content will be a HUGE focus in Social in 2014
From memes to infographics to in-the-moment instagram images, brands big and small are already getting huge engagement from visual content, and 2014 will be the year that visual content truly takes over in social.
A common misconception is that visual content requires significant resources to create, which is simply not true. In fact simple, easy to digest content often receives the highest volume of engagement. For example, the image below from Social Media Examiner was one of the most popular posts ever to grace their Facebook page.
According to research from Social Media Examiner, 70% of marketers plan to increase their use of visual assets in 2014; will you be one of them?
Blogging will Continue to Rule
Business blogging has seen a meteoric rise in the last few years, and all signs point to the trend continuing in force in 2014. Unlike your social brand pages, a successful business blog is a platform you own, and thus should serve as the hub of your social presence.
While curated content is a key piece of a successful content strategy, 58% of marketers say that original content is still the most important content asset for their business. Blogging is a great way to speak your brands unique voice.
Google Plus will Graduate from Ghost Town to Metropolis
Google Plus had a somewhat rocky start, with many calling it a ghost town or complaining that it was being forced upon YouTube users, but it’s come a long way since. According to recent research from Social Media Examiner, Google+ tops the list of social networks that marketers want to learn and master in 2014.
Particularly with the recent changes to Facebook’s Newsfeed Algorithm and their statements about marketers needing to pay for traffic, the ad free environment of Google+ is a breath of fresh air. Similar to search, this means that Google+ is a truly organic platform where brands who create and promote the best quality content will be the winners. Also, unlike Facebook, where currently only 6% of brand posts ever make it into your audience’s newsfeed without paid promotion, every Google+ update makes it into your follower feeds. Need I even mention the search benefits from Google+?
Major brands such as Dell, Experian, and The Huffington Post are investing in Google+ in a big way, and all businesses should be taking action.
Podcasting will Dramatically Increase in Popularity and Reach
Starting out primarily as a means to increase registrations to SMMW, Michael explained how the Social Media Marketing Podcast has turned into much more, and today is one of his company’s most important marketing assets.
In Michaels words, ‘podcast listeners are super fans’, which he backed up with some very impressive stats, including that 75% of SMM podcast listeners are also blog subscribers and 26% of them were #SMMW14 attendees. Being a regular listener myself, I can certainly understand why.
One of the biggest advantages of podcasts is that the format lends itself to reaching your audience at a time when few other digital channels can, in the car. What other channel can you routinely expect to engage with your audience in an intimate environment for such an extended period of time (the avg podcast episode is 45 minutes)?
Michael predicts that soon all vehicles will have podcast support built in, making this a golden opportunity for marketers and businesses to get in the podcasting game.
With social media evolving at an incredible speed, it’s vitally important for businesses to stay on top of the changes in order to get the most value from their social marketing investment. How will you be taking advantage of these trends in your social media marketing strategy in 2014?