As 2014 draws to a close, business owners and content marketing professionals worldwide are about to examine their social media strategies and how well they worked over the past year. It’s also an opportunity to look toward the year ahead and attempt to predict what could be in store on the social media marketing frontier as we move into 2015.
The following are some of the trends that have dominated this year and what many social media marketers think will emerge in the months ahead.
What worked in 2014?
The enormous popularity of social media. If your business didn’t engage social media in 2014, it’s more than likely you’ll need to start very soon. More than 92 percent of businesses are investing in social media content marketing and recognize its importance toward overall brand awareness and customer satisfaction.
Image-centric engagement. With the rise in popularity of social media platforms like Pinterest and Instagram, an increasing number of businesses are understanding the need to operate within these sites. This is particularly true for B2C companies and those that need to reach a broad consumer market.
Micro-videos. Blame it on our short attention spans, but this year was dominated by seconds-long, direct-to-the-point online videos that people can click on for either fast information or a good laugh. Platforms like Vine and Instagram have thus far monopolized the market, but they likely won’t be alone at the top for long.
What’s trending for 2015?
Visual content. In the year ahead, it will be more important than ever to incorporate engaging images within your content. Users are much more likely to click when there is an accompanying photo or video to go along with text. A mix of compelling headlines and attention-grabbing images will help draw more readers and visitors.
LinkedIn will dominate the business social media scene. Most employers are using LinkedIn as a major source of worker recruitment, and freelancers and contractors are using it as a way to network in their industry circles. This will continue to be important, with more employers focusing solely on LinkedIn to find talent rather than more traditional means.
Even more mobile-friendly searching, posting and buying. By 2018, more than 90 percent of people will access social media through a mobile device (we’re at around 80 percent now). Social media platforms will continue to look for ways to make using on the go easier and user-friendlier in the year to come.
Buy buttons on Facebook and Twitter. You’ll probably see more of those “buy” buttons pop up on certain posts on Facebook and Twitter, allowing you to make purchases without actually leaving the page. Brands will need to figure out how to best leverage this option without being too pushy—which can turn users off.
Although no one can predict the future, one thing is certain: social media is here to stay. It’s up to business owners and marketers to leverage this power to engage both new and existing customers in truly interactive ways.