What’s Next? Social Media Trends in 2014: Part II

Continuing on from where we left off last week…

3)    Mobile Is King:         Recent studies demonstrate that at least half of all online searches are conducted using a mobile device.  Even if you don’t perform random searches using your mobile device, the important message here is that a large number of consumers – your customers and members – do.  Now is also the time to consider a mobile app for your organization and your events.  Depending on how your customers utilize your website, it may be worthwhile to investigate a mobile website as well.

How can organizations determine which route – a mobile app or a mobile website – will deliver the greatest ROI to the company and the greatest value to the customer?  Survey your members and followers using social media to determine how they access the data you provide.  Your website administrator can also provide you with these analytics.  Whether you choose a mobile app or a mobile website, both require an investment of resources:        money and staff time.

4)    Broader Use of Gamification:           Gamification employs game-style thinking and tactics and is used by some social media marketers to improve follower engagement.  The concept of gamification relies on peoples’ desire to compete and to win.  Participants compete to earn points by sharing links or responding to questions socially via sites like Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare.  Gamification is also used to build enthusiasm amongst meeting participants.

5)    Social Media-Specific Legislation:             Some states have enacted legislation to help protect minors from potentially damaging images and references that appear on social networking sites.  A new California State law, which takes effect in 2015, will require website owners to remove postings at a minor’s request.  The postings must have originally been made by the minor who has since had second thoughts – and not by a third party.  Facebook’s “Image Privacy Rights” policy already enables users in the U.S. under the age of 18 to petition Facebook to remove photos that may violate his/her rights.

The State of Illinois also recently enacted the “The Right to Privacy in the Workplace Act,” which bars employers from requesting its employees’ social networking site login credentials.  An amendment to the law, which goes into effect in January 2014, adds greater specificity to the legislation:            the ban applies to personal and not to professional social networking accounts.  Look for other states to enact similar legislation regulating social media activities and access.

The Year 2014 promises to be the brightest year yet for social media sites.  Frontrunner social networking sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter will continue to grow in terms of membership and the services they offer.  Privacy policies and laws will evolve as the social media landscape changes and new uses – and abuses – surface.  Google will continue to invest in its growing Google+ online community by adding new features.  Brands will need to embrace mobile marketing mechanisms in order to compete and remain relevant to their audiences.  Evaluate your current social media activities – for your organization and your meetings – to determine which of these trends best align with your goals!

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