Social Media Trends 2014: #14for14 SlideShare Summary

Social Media Trends 2014: #14for14 SlideShare Summary

Social Media Trends 2014: #14for14 SlideShare Summary

Over the course of the last month we’ve featured 14 blogs posts outlining our predictions for 2014’s big social media trends.

Now that each trend has been explained in full, we’ve compiled them all together in one easy-to-digest SlideShare presentation.

In our opinion, the importance of content in the constantly evolving era of social media will be the over-arching trend of 2014.

This presentation captures the 14 sub-trends resulting from this bigger movement.

We’d love to hear your thoughts and predictions for 2014.

Simply add them to the comments section below.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 14): The one constant will continue to be…

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 14): The one constant will continue to be…

View the full Social Media Trends 2014 SlideShare summary here.

…change, faster and faster change.

Welcome to the final instalment of our 14-part Social Media Trends 2014 series.

We’re actually going to follow up with one more post summarising all 14 projected trends in one, easy-to-digest, SlideShare presentation.

Check back for that post soon.

Trend 14: The one constant will continue to be…change, faster and faster change.

This last trend is one that should probably be present in any 2014 trends preview given the nature the constantly changing digital marketing space.

So is ‘change’ a trend?

It is, but more specifically it is the frequency and increasing speed of change which is the thing to look out for next year.

Change comes from so many directions too.

Technological changes.

Platform changes.

Behaviour changes.

Let’s examine this prediction in a bit more detail and why staying on top of all this action will be one of the keys to digital marketing success in 2014.

The recent history of social media changes

Last year, as part of my 2013 prediction series, I ‘guaranteed’ that Facebook would undergo a huge functionality change in 2013.

It made a lot of changes in 2013, but the most significant one was the new look, feel and experience associated with the news feed.

This wasn’t a ground-breaking prediction as Facebook makes major changes every year, and smaller ones every second week.

But it is the increased regularity of these changes which is the thing to take note of.

Facebook is not given enough credit for adapting to the feedback of its users which is what has continued to make it relevant at a time when a new social media toy surfaces every week.

You can take a look at the 11 most significant changes made by Facebook in 2013 here.

In part 11 of this Social Media Trends 2014 series we looked at the major changes made by Google that has started to transform the search engine experience.

Twitter continues to tweak its user experience.

Google+ continues to be integrated into the broader Google product suite.

And, YouTube has instituted just as many changes as any of the other major platforms, including the evolution of YouTube channels to become more like Facebook pages.

Can this rate and frequency of social media changes rapidly increase in 2014?

It can and it will.

What can you expect to see in 2014

Overall, expect each of the major social media platforms to evolve at a faster pace next year, including a (another) probable major overhaul of Facebook.

The rising platforms and apps like SnapChat began making changes towards the end of 2013, but expect even more in 2014.

Instagram introduced 15-second videos in 2013 which was a response (in part) to the arrival and popularity of Vine.

And, Instagram, is likely to serve up the most significant and frequent changes in 2014.

Why?

Apart from the introduction of video, and the recent addition of sponsored posts, the Instagram product is still the same as it was when it launched a few years back.

There is so much room for growth and adjustments for Instagram next year.

What can you do about it?

The most successful social media and content marketing programs are ones that are channel agnostic.

While some tweaking is always required to bring your content strategy to life, getting the foundations right will be the key to success.

But in order to tweak the content you produce to get the best results across the key social media channels, you need people within your organisation that are passionate about the space.

You need these people spend at least 30 minutes a day reading industry blogs and monitoring active platforms to be across these constant social media changes.

This is one of the reasons digital agencies exist, they provide advice and solutions that suit the rapidly evolving space, ensuring that on-going activity and campaigns can work.

With the rate of change expected to escalate substantially in 2014, it may well be the most challenging trend to adjust to next year and beyond.

The summary presentation

Swing by tomorrow to view and download the summary SlideShare presentation which will capture all 14 trends that are set to shape social media marketing, content marketing and digital marketing in 2014.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 13): The (Unavoidable) Social Media Backlash

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 13): The (Unavoidable) Social Media Backlash

View the full Social Media Trends 2014 SlideShare summary here.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 13): The (Unavoidable) Social Media Backlash

Welcome to the send last instalment of the Kamber Social Media Trends 2014 series.

Being an agency that specialises in social media you might think that this one was a tough one to include in our predictions for 2014.

It was, and it wasn’t.

In 2014, you can expect to see social media’s role recalibrated to play a support role for the ongoing content produced by brands and organisations.

This is a good thing.

The backlash we’re more likely to see comes in the form of particular age groups and niche audiences who will increasingly avoid the mainstream networks in 2014.

The mainstream media will also continue to find stories about the negative impact social media is having on society while glossing over the positive impact it can bring.

Privacy will also be even more of a pressing issue.

Our general technology obsession will be increasingly called into question too.

Why will this happen? Let’s find out.

Trend 13: Social Media has enjoyed a period of being the flavour of the month, but some big questions will be asked in 2014

social media trends part two diffusion modelIn part two of this series, we touched on the diffusion of innovations model (see right).

This theory lays out the role early-adopters play in the adoption of new ideas and technology, which then spawns more mainstream use.

The by-product of this process is that many early adopters move away from these ideas and technologies once they are adopted by the masses.

We’ve seen teenagers exhibit this behaviour in 2013 with many ‘fleeing’ Facebook and turning to new school messenger apps.

It is important to note they aren’t giving up on social media completely, they are just being social in a more direct way.

But, in the eyes of many people, Facebook is social media.

The more that this audience moves away from traditional platforms like Facebook, the more you’ll see stories appear about the ‘death of social media’ which will only fuel the broader backlash movement.

This article from Yahoo.com back up that argument.

The industry backlash

The marketing industry, particularly industry publications, will be where the backlash is likely to gather the most momentum.

Serious questions about the value of social media will be asked.

Serious questions about the money spent on social media in the last few years will be asked.

Serious questions about the commercial impact of social media will be asked.

As touched on in the introduction, as long as the industry recognises that a recalibration is taking place, then most of these questions will be able to be answered adequately.

But, as we know, little things become big issues at great speed in the modern media environment.

And, ironically, it is social media participants who will the fuel this fire.

Traditional media’s role in the backlash movement

If the rumblings start in industry media, mainstream media is likely to pick up on it and extend the conversation.

This will only encourage more people to voice their displeasure at the tech-shaped world we now live in.

It’s true, we’ve got completely drunk on social media and general technological advancements and it is a point of contention for many members of the public.

Watch out for this to be amplified in 2014.

The public’s relationship with brands

In 2013, we saw a number of examples of the public reacting negatively toward social media ‘campaigns.’

This isn’t anything new, but it is happening with more and more regularity.

A good example was Domino’s who promised a ‘game changing’ announcement via social media for it only to be a new range of pizzas.

In the defence of Domino’s, they did a terrific job of reaching out to people that had voiced their displeasure towards the brand and offered them the chance to try one of the new pizzas for free.

It is a good reminder that adding value to the lives of your online communities, as opposed to pushing commercial messages, is the best way to achieve social media success.

Will the backlash really be worse in 2014?

All signs point to yes even though there has been no shortage of detractors over the last five years.

As outlined, the primary factors will be platform fragmentation, several (fair) questions from the industry, and the increasing apprehension of the public in response to overly commercial social media tactics.

It will be interesting to see how far the expected backlash goes and what impact it will have.

We only have one more instalment left in the Social Media Trends 2014 series.

Once that is posted, look out for our summary SlideShare presentation which will bring all of our predictions together in one easy-to-digest pack.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 12): The (big time) return of the blog

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 12): The (big time) return of the blog

View the full Social Media Trends 2014 SlideShare summary here.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 12): The return of the blog

It’s time for the third last post in our Social Media Trends 2014 series.

This trend focuses on the humble blog, which contrary to many reports, isn’t dead and buried.

In fact, blogs the blogging mentality will regain its rightful spot as content marketing’s most valuable asset.

Trend 12: Blogs aren’t dead, they’re more important than ever before

In recent posts in this series we’ve touched on the many changes that indicate content will be the main focus for marketers in 2014.

The changes made to Google’s algorithm and general approach to rewarding quality content is one reason.

Another reason is that the popular art of curating 3rd party content is slowly becoming a less fruitful social media tactic.

Connected to this reason is that original content is what makes you stand out from the crowd.

Here are eight more reasons why blogs are alive and well, and more important than ever before.

Eight reasons why blogs aren’t dead

social media trends 2014 the return of the blog1. Google loves the fresh and consistent content blogs provide

2. ‘Blogs’ can be featured anywhere and in any format

3. Blogs are an investment in something you truly own

4. Static websites don’t bring people back or attract new visitors

5. The blogging mentality helps you create content that works elsewhere

6. Blogs encourage collaboration (which extends the reach of your content)

7. Blogs can increase influence in your niche

8. Loyal and vocal communities can be built around blogs

For more commentary around each of these reasons, refer to this blog post.

Where to from here?

For some individuals and organisations, blogging can seem like a daunting thing to implement. And, in some cases, they’re just not practical.

However, the ‘blogging mentality’ is something that can make an impact in businesses of all shapes and sizes. Even just having someone within your marketing and communications team who has some experience in the blogging space, can help develop content solutions that can cut through the noise.

The blog is well and truly back and will play a huge role in the success of content marketing strategies in 2014.

Look out for part 14 of our Social Media Trends 2014 series which examines the one constant trend in the digital marketing space and why it will only escalate next year.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 11): It’s Google search, but not as you know it

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 11): It’s Google search, but not as you know it

View the full Social Media Trends 2014 SlideShare summary here.

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part 11): It’s Google search, but not as you know it

We’re back with part 11 of our Social Media Trends 2014 series and this one is all about the rapidly changing nature of Google search.

While the recent changes to Google have been well documented, all signs point toward even more in 2014.

With this in mind, we’re going to take a look back at the changes Google has made in 2013 and make some predictions for what we might see in 2014.

Most importantly, want to provide some insights around the continuing impact of Google’s changes from a search engine to a recommendations engine.

Is search engine optimization dead? Let’s find out.

Trend 11: SEO isn’t dead, it has just been redefined thanks to a refocused Google

Search engine optimization has traditionally been one of the world’s most relied upon digital marketing tactics.

One of the main reasons why is because the majority of desktop web sessions begin with a specific need in mind.

Sure, social media has become another default port of call, but Google still rules the roost for most.

Let me bring this to life on a basic level based on my own internet behaviour.

Of my last 2,000 web sessions (anytime I’ve opened my web browser) this is the breakdown of my site visits:

  • Google: 1416
  • Facebook: 210
  • Twitter: 67 (although I use TweetDeck more than the web-based version)
  • LinkedIn: 44
  • YouTube: 23

70% of my desktop internet sessions have started with a Google search.

While this may not be the most robust sample ever, a study conducted earlier this year by PEW found that 77% on online health seekers start at search engines.

So there is evidence to suggest that we’re as reliant on Google search as we’ve ever been.

social media trends 2014 googl search engine optimization your vote countsBut, the information we’ve been provided with has traditionally been ranked by the results that Google’s algorithm ‘liked’ the most.

For the most part, we’ve trusted these results because Google has consistently helped us discover the information we’ve needed in an incredibly efficient manner.

The advent of social media has changed things…a lot.

We now operate in an online world where we our content consumption is heavily influenced by the recommendations our networks make.

Google, known for adjusting their product to suit consumer trends, has recognised that in order to maintain trust, they need to integrate human recommendations into their search product.

So, for Google, it has been a very busy 12 months.

Recapping the changes Google has made in 2013

This terrific article from Eric Enge over on Search Engine Watch captures the six major Google changes that reveal the likely future of search engine optimization.

The key outtakes from Eric’s post included:

  1. ‘(Not provided)’ – This year, Google essentially cut off all keyword data that explained how people discovered your site through search. It is part of a calculated provide better online privacy but also to put a premium on the insights linked to the paid Google AdWords product.
  2. PageRank goes missing – Google’s PageRank has traditionally been a way to measure the importance of websites in the eyes of Google. In 2013, PageRank scores were not updated as regularly as we’re used to which suggests that it may disappear completely soon.
  3. Hummingbird – Google names each of its algorithm updates which tend to be rolled out every few months or so. The Hummingbird update essentially made it easier for Google to process conversational enquiries e.g. “tell me where to find a search engine optimization provider in my city”
  4. Google+ – Google’s ‘social layer’ continues to evolve and have greater influence on Google’s search product. It is the engine that drives people-powered search results and has become a major page ranking factor in 2013.
  5. Authorship – Google’s ‘Author Rank’ is an attempt to make verified content producers more visible in search results. There are many reasons for the increased focus on authorship but mainly it aims to make anonymous content creators less relevant, while rewarding long-time and trusted sources.
  6. In-depth articles – This feature is a recent introduction from Google and it serves up a block of in-depth articles along with the standard results based on your search query.

What does it all mean and what can we expect in 2014

Put simply, Google is doing all it can to humanise search results.

People trust people more than they’ll ever trust an algorithm.

People-powered results are also more difficult to manipulate from an SEO perspective.

This is why people are regularly say that ‘SEO is dead’.

It isn’t dead, there is just a renewed amount of importance on creating quality content designed for humans, not algorithms.

The other factor, which people often forget, is that Google’s reason for being is to make money.

It makes a huge slice of it’s money from the AdWords product which delivers sponsored results alongside the organic ones.

Google is explicitly telling content creators to produce better quality content.

It is telling people that poor quality content, over-packed with keywords, will not be rewarded like it has been in the past.

This is why content marketing has become such a buzz phrase of late.

In 2014, we can expect more changes along the lines of the ones introduced in 2013.

Also expect Google+ to be even more widely integrated in Google search and other Google products next year.

And, expect an increase in the use of AdWords in 2014 as using ‘black hat’ search engine optimization techniques deliver even less of an impact than we saw this year.

Look out for part 12 in our Social Media Trends 2014 series in the next few days.

‘Your vote counts’ image via apcmag.com

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part Ten): Viral Video Marketing Obsession Won’t Vanish

Social Media Trends 2014 (Part Ten): Viral Video Marketing Obsession Won’t Vanish

Social Media Trends 2014: Viral Video Marketing Obsession Won’t Vanish

Still with us? Good.

Here is part eight of our 14-part Social Media Trends 2014 series and in this instalment we’re tackling an obsession which looks set to get worse in the next 12 months.

We’ll specifically look at the origins of this obsession, the problems associated with it, and why it won’t be disappearing anytime soon.

Lights, camera, action!

Trend Ten: The viral video marketing obsession will (annoyingly) continue in 2014

Viral video marketing has been a blessing and curse for the digital marketing industry.

On one hand, the viral video phenomenon has shown what can be done with good content that is published online.

On the other, it has become the end, instead of the means to an end.

Even as a ‘means’ it is fundamentally flawed and here’s why.

The origins of the viral video marketing obsession

Before tackling the viral video marketing obsession, we need to look at the origins of viral video marketing as a whole and provide a modern-day definition.

An interesting post from the Tishia Saves Time blog traces the birth of viral video marketing back to the introduction of hotmail, one of the world’s first major free email platforms.

In it, she referred to the sign off at the bottom of each email which read: “Want a free email account? Sign-up for Hotmail today!

This very simple line spread from new user to new user around the world, and gave each recipient the feeling that they had discovered something worth shouting about.

This premise behind viral video marketing is the same.

Someone watches a video. If they like it, they share it with their immediate network. A portion of that network then shares it with their extended network. And so on and so on.

Ultimately, a tipping point is reached, and a  ‘sharer’ with a big and established audience passes it on and a simultaneous explosion takes place.

Here’s a visual representation of the viral video process (also called the ‘network effect’).

Viral video marketing network effect

Now, this is a very basic and ‘pure’ description of the process.

The majority of videos that ‘go viral’ nowadays are given a boost at the start of the campaign through the use of video seeding techniques.

These techniques normally involve taking out ads and sponsored links in places where people have the highest propensity to consume and share video content.

A great example is reddit, the popular social news and entertainment website where registered users submit content in the forms of links or text posts.

Many popular videos start with the support of promoted links on reddit in hope that a chord will be struck with enough reddit users to kick-start that network effect.

Ultimately, viral videos exploded in popularity because people’s ‘votes’ could deliver a global impact that could never be achieved or afforded through traditional advertising.

Attractive, right?

But, for the one campaign that achieves this cut through, 100,000 don’t.

And, even more disturbing is that ‘impact’ and ‘cut through’ are often determined by how many views or shares are recorded.

The problems associated with the ‘viral’ video obsession

Instead of view and shares, the real focus should be on the other actions that can be triggered from video content.

Did it drive people to a website where they found out more about the company that published the video?

Did it drive people to make a donation for the charity featured in the video?

At the very least, did it encourage the viewer to subscribe to the channel the video is hosted on to reduce promotion costs in the future?

It has been shown that if the focus is on frequency instead of ad hoc campaigns, subscriber numbers will increase, thus reducing the reliance of seeding costs over time.

Social media trends 2014 viral video marketing obsession

This has been the perennial problem with online video content and the concept of the ‘viral’ video: An immediate return is paramount and the call to action element isn’t considered until after the video has been produced or it hasn’t been considered at all.

So while the awareness box has been ticked, and maybe even the interest and desire boxes, the action one hasn’t.

Next time you watch a video on YouTube, see if there is a call to action at the end. In many cases, there won’t be.

Why won’t the viral obsession disappear in 2014?

Let’s get straight to the point:

– People want to win awards

– People want to show impressive view count numbers to their bosses

– People want to say they were behind a viral video hit

– People view ‘going viral’ as a result

– People think ‘viral’ videos are the only way to maximise a channel like YouTube

While this is a very broad and possibly unfair generalisation, there is an element of truth in each of these statements.

The biggest reason why this trend is set continue in 2014

There is one more reason.

Real content marketing success, on any channel, takes time.

This is the reason why most blogs die within the first month of being launched.

You’ve got your template set up, you start posting, you post some more and then you realise only seven people have visited your blog.

That can be very disheartening.

Still, you push on for a few more weeks as you feel like you’ve created some solid content.

However, outside your friends and colleagues, you’re not achieving much traction.

You ask a colleague or consult a ‘how to’ post to see if there is a quicker way of building an audience. There isn’t.

It takes time to be trusted by the people you are trying to reach.

YouTube channels are the same.

They require patience, an appropriate content strategy, engagement with viewers via the comments function and so many other factors.

The easiest way to think about it is via the chart below.

social media trends 2014 social media areas of focus content community conversations

If all of these things are considered in equal parts, your channel has the best chance of succeeding.

While some brands and businesses have recognised and embraced this approach, the majority haven’t and it will take a considerable amount of time until we bid  farewell to the viral video marketing obsession.

Thanks for reading part 10 of the Kamber Social Media Trends 2014 series.

We’ll be back with the next edition later this week before packaging up a SlideShare and audio commentary summary in early December.

If you liked this post, and the other posts in this series, share it with your networks to see what they think.

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