A recent study conducted by Adobe showed that social media marketing remains the most important marketing area of concern for the upcoming three years. So while social media now has reached a certain level of maturity beyond the phase of “the shiny new toy with bells and whistles”, where should marketers keep an eye for the upcoming year? Will Facebook still remain king of the social media hill or will there be (another) revolution that most aren’t seeing coming? Here are some major social media marketing trends to look out for in 2014:
Facebook Down, Twitter Up
With its 1.18 billion users, of which close to 58% are active daily, with an average of 20 minutes per day, Facebook is certainly not disappearing anytime soon. Outside emerging markets where growth is still happening, Facebook has reached a certain plateau, with even some decreases within the younger generations, in particular the 13-17 teens. For brands, in particular small & medium businesses (SMB), it’s getting increasingly difficult to master the platform and gain a vibrant community without spending some efforts and allocating substantial efforts, both in time and money. (Read: 4 Key Elements of Your Facebook Marketing)
One thing is for sure, though: 2014 should be the year of Twitter. There fact that it will become a public company will throw the 7 year-old platform into the limelight, and with it comes public scrutiny. Many bystanders will want to better understand the platform, which should in turn convert many latent users to come back and give the platform another try. A study by Pew Internet & American conducted earlier this year found that more and more teenagers were jumping ship from Facebook to Twitter and Instagram, in great part “because there is less drama”. It’s also easier to fly under parents’ radars and have a more secretive approach on Twitter. Many brands already use Twitter, in particular in the travel & hospitality vertical, i.e. airlines, hotels, destinations, etc. Having more users join this social media should consolidate Twitter as a great customer service platform, not to mention lead generation and R&D.
The words “Snapchat” and “Marketing” are usually not found in the same sentence, but this may very well change in the near future. If you are not familiar with Snapchat, it’s the hot and trendy mobile application that sends out messages (text, photo or short video), called “snaps”, that auto-destruct after a short moment of time, between 1 to 10 seconds depending on how the snap was set up. As of April 2013, its 5 million active users were uploading over 150 million photos per day! There mere fact that snaps get deleted from the server after their time limit explains why so many people are embracing this new app. Its ephemeral aspect contrasts with privacy issues that are plaguing other platforms, with a “spur of the moment” side that can become an opportunity for brands. Yoghurt company 16 Handles is thought to be the first brand that conducted a promotion using Snapchat, earlier in 2013, and a few others have experimented since. With the recent launch of Snapchat Stories, brand marketers now have an opportunity to ask customers to share their stories, or interact with them while in their store, hotel or destination, to increase engagement and share-of-wallet with in-store promotions. Snapchat marketing should be two words you’ll soon learn to combine!
Videos Are Hot, Hot Hot
Last but not least, videos should continue their upward ascent in the social media marketing toolbox hierarchy. In particular short videos. YouTube shows no sign of fatigue, all the contrary in fact with its 100 hours of video uploaded… every hour!! Yet for brands, the best promises come from the rise of applications such as Vine, with its 6-seconds video capabilities, and Instagram, with its 15-seconds video capabilities complete with filters and integration within Facebook. We are now seeing more and more companies embrace these short videos as quick, inexpensive and efficient ways to tell their brand story. Without a doubt, this is one trend we can expect to grow in 2014. If pictures tell a 1,000 words, videos can tell a million!