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

As we race towards another new year, it’s important to look back on the advances and milestones that occurred in social media in 2013.  Visual sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Vine became part of mainstream marketing conversations and peoples’ daily activities.  LinkedIn reformatted its personal profile and Group pages and soared to over 200 million members.  Facebook and Twitter continued to expand their services and membership followings as well.

What can you expect to see on the social media horizon in 2014?  More important, how will these new trends impact your meetings?  Here are some developments in social media to watch for in the coming months:

1)    Greater Use of Content Marketing:   Content marketing, where brands deliver messaging to their customers by sharing useful information instead of short, impactful statements or slogans, gained new footing this year.  Consumers expect and demand instantaneous access to information on the Internet; social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn have become “go-to” resources for consumers who are seeking product- or brand-specific information.  As more traditional marketing channels – like direct mail and email – continue to stagnate and even lose traction, brands will be forced to look to blogs and other content marketing vehicles as a means of connecting with customers.  If your company doesn’t have a blog, launch one for your next meeting now.

2)    Specialized Social Media Platforms Will Demand Attention:
Founded in 2009, Pinterest was first dismissed by many as an online scrapbooking fad that wouldn’t survive.  Four years later, this social media platform now has an estimated value in the billions of dollars and commands approximately 50 million unique monthly visitors.  Pinterest enables marketers to reach existing and prospective audiences through the clever use of imagery.  Meeting planners, hotels and Destination Marketing Organizations (DMOs) use Pinterest to build interest in and enthusiasm for their events and destinations.

Which new platforms will make their mark in 2014?  Look for continued growth amongst visual sites like Pinterest and others such as Tumblr and SlideShare.  Today’s busy consumers are seeking instantaneous access to and gratification from their online searches.  These sites tend to cut through clutter and deliver information and messaging efficiently and effectively when used properly.  Infographics – or visuals designed to present complex ideas in a direct and simplistic manner – will be a much more common form of conveying data, particularly when it comes to revealing survey results.

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