predictionHere we are again (already!) at the start of a new year.

You’re feeling refreshed and revived (unless you spent the holidays with your in-laws), and you’re ready to achieve your business and marketing goals for 2014.

But what SHOULD you be looking out for in social media this year to ensure your business gets more leads, more website traffic and more sales.

Here are our top 5 Social Media Marketing trends to watch in 2014;

1. Google+ becomes a must

g+Google recently stated that their social media platform, Google+, now has 300 million monthly active users. To put this in perspective, Facebook and Twitter have about 1.2 billion and 232 million monthly active users respectively.

While Facebook continues to lead the pack in terms of the number of active monthly users, Google+ (only 2 years old compared to 10 year old Facebook) is quickly gaining steam and is often referred to as the fastest growing social media network in history.

So not only has Google+ become popular, its integration with Google search results, YouTube and Google Authorship makes it a no-brainer for your business in 2014.

By actively posting on Google+, you will improve the search engine optimisation for your business, bringing more visibility to your brand and products.

To see how our CEO Anthony Rawlins has grown his G+ profile in 4 months why not follow him here

2. Facebook encourages quality, not quantity

Until recently, many marketers used the ‘People Talking About This’ metric to determine how engaged their community was. But it was very unsubtle, dictated primarily by advertising spend.

Facebook marketing expert Dennis Yu, last year told Inside Facebook that “PTAT was an all-in-one metric that skewed for new fan growth and advertising”.

And it would seem that even Facebook agreed!

Just late last year, they introduced some new Page Insights and instead of People Talking About This, you’ll now see two new insights:

People Engaged (in the People tab) – which is the number of unique people who’ve clicked, liked, commented on or shared your posts in the past 28 days, and

Other Page Activity (in the Visits tab) – which includes Page mentions, check-ins and posts by other people on your Page.

So what does all this mean? Basically, it’s more important now than ever before to create QUALITY content to engage your community. Posting that funny cat picture we’ve all seen a thousand times before just won’t cut the mustard anymore.

3. New social media engagement apps will be released

myCovrFacebook’s move to drive deeper interactions will bring a whole range of exciting new apps to take fan engagement to a whole new level.

Understanding this, the team here are Digital Visitor are been working on a number of unique Facebook Applications for 2014.

First out of the gate is myCovr – designed to drive engagement, while also turning your fans into brand ambassadors.

In just a few simple steps, your fans can create personalised banners for their Facebook profile, exposing your brand to their like-minded friends and connections – marketing gold!

To find out more about myCovr, speak to our team today!

4. VISUAL content is king

VineWhile over the past few years we’ve seen a constant growing trend on social toward sharing through image and video rather than text-based content, visual content will increasingly become a critical part of your social media content strategy in 2014.

To this end, you should ensure that at least 4 in 5 of your posts contain an image and it’s also worth trying to post short text snippets within imagery to keep the posts as succinct and visual as possible.

We’ll also see even more movement toward real-time video sharing due to the recent emergence of micro video apps like Twitter’s Vine and Instagram’s video sharing feature.

These short, concise videos enable us to tell a deeper story than pictures – making it easier than ever before for consumers and brands to connect.

5. Shut down your customer service hotline

Well it’s probably not the best idea just yet, but social media will continue to grow as a preferred channel for customers to contact companies.

According to Nielsen’s 2012 Social Media Report, over half of consumers now use social media to directly reach out to companies to report satisfaction, lodge complaints, and ask questions. And one in three social media users now actually prefer social care to contacting a company by phone.

So to get ahead of the curve, find ways to use social media to increase customer satisfaction and loyalty in 2014.

If you weren’t already serious about social media, get in touch with our team today to discuss how we can help your business to succeed in 2014.