Last week’s Social Media Marketing World conference was a dream for any social marketer. Not only were some of the biggest names in social marketing there to present (Jay Baer, Chris Brogan, Mari Smith, Mark Schaefer, to name a few), but there was content to cover pretty much any social related topic one could ask for.
Michael Stelzner, founder of Social Media Examiner, opened the conference with a keynote highlighting social media trends for 2014, and showed findings from their latest study 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report. The following are 6 key trends derived from the report.
1. Creating visual assets is a huge focus for content. A picture is worth 1,000 words, or in the case of a social media manager, double the engagement. Images on Facebook on average get 2X more “likes” than regular status updates, according to Klout. And with other social networks like Instagram soaring in popularity, it proves that pictures/ images really are the way of the future. According to the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, 70% of marketers plan on increasing their use of visual assets this year. If you don’t have one already, it might be time to start working on a visual strategy.
2. Blog, blog, and blog! Simply put, more content equals more traffic. In fact, Social Media Examiner found that by going from one blog post a day to publishing two blog posts a day, they anticipate doubling their traffic in 2014. Stelzner reported that 58% of marketers say that original written content is the most important form of content for their businesses, and that 68% of marketers plan on increasing their blogging activity in 2014.
3. Marketers are turning their focus to Google+. Optimizing Google+ is starting to top the list for social marketers, and in fact, 65% of marketers say they want to learn how to utilize Google+ better. As G+ serves as a social layer across all Google properties, there’s a greater potential of getting your content seen. The other advantage of Google+ is, unlike Facebook, you’re able to see every post from every person or brand that you follow. Google+ remains a free platform with no advertising allowed, making your content the star of the show, not the size of your ad budget.
4). Podcasts are gaining popularity. Only 6% of marketers podcast, but 33% plan on creating one. Of the 130 presenters at Social Media Marketing world, 30 of them have their own podcasts. As Stelzner puts it, podcast listeners are super fans. He noted that 26% of his listeners went on to purchase a ticket to SMMW after hearing him talk about it on his podcast.
One of the biggest advantages of podcasting, of course, is being able to reach your audience in their cars, a time when you capture more of your listener’s attention. Stelzner believes built-in podcast support will soon be available in all cars.
5. Facebook dominates the social ad world. When it comes to social advertising, Facebook still dominates the space with 90% of marketers claiming to regularly use Facebook ads versus 20% using LinkedIn ads, and 17% using Twitter ads. When targeted correctly, these ads can prove worthwhile, but like any other ad, you need to be strategic in it’s use.
6. Social Media ROI remains top priority and mystery. Proving the ROI of social media continues to be a struggle for many marketers, as so much of social media is about cultivating and nurturing relationships. But as the C-Suite continues to ask for numbers, social marketers continue to look for ways to show ROI. In the end it all comes back to being able to translate social media into your business’s core objectives.
Are you investing in your social media strategy? How are you evolving your strategy to keep up and take advantage of the latest trends in social media?