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Ty Scheiner | January 7th, 2014 | Brafton

social media marketingIt was a busy year for the social media industry. In 2013, we saw the teen demographic leave Facebook for other networks that better capture their attention and don’t yet have the entire family engaged. Twitter added video to its repertoire by purchasing Vine, the mobile video app, on top of the announcement that it’s going public. In response, Instagram added video, and more recently launched sponsored images in users’ newsfeeds. Finally, as a fellow coworker pointed out, 2013 is arguably the year when GIFs hit it mainstream, bringing humor and creativity to social activity.

With all of the changes, announcements, acquisitions; what can we expect next year in the digital world? Below are my three key trends to keep an eye on in the social media space for 2014.

1. Google+ Emerges as a Serious Player

G+ Community Sharing gives marketers new ways to deliver social media content.The platform is still not taken as seriously as it should be, but 2014 will be a year of substantial growth for this underrated platform. Aside from the SEO benefits, Google+ offers a lot of functions that other networks don’t have, such as Communities, Hangouts and the ability to share specific content with targeted groups – not to mention its obvious connection to the world’s number one search engine.

On both my personal account and the company pages I manage, I have witnessed an enormous increase in interaction on Google+. Engagement has risen, and with it, so has the ability to build circles as more people join the network. The speed at which you can gain followers on G+ still doesn’t compare to Twitter, but steady growth seen throughout the past year should only go up as people continue to incorporate Google+ in their daily dose of social.

2013 was also the year when G+ introduced us to Communities. These are very similar to the Groups feature that LinkedIn offers, but I have personally seen greater success participating within G+ communities than LinkedIn Groups. Before Communities began, it was hard to promote interaction on the platform, but engagement and follower growth has consistently increased since they were introduced.

2. The Evolution of SoLoMo & Rise of New Networks

Obviously, social is a key part of sharing and distributing content, but moving forward, location and mobility are going to be key to the formula. We always talk about how “Content is King,” but Tullman went further to say that context actually trumps content – an idea I agree with somewhat. The digital space is evolving rapidly, and to be successful, content must be proximate, relevant and in the right location.

Mobile is becoming an increasingly important platform for marketers, with over 133 million registered smartphones in the U.S. This statement might be met with some pushback, but watch for Snapchat to be the breakthrough social platform of 2014. I’m not saying that it’s worth $3 billion, but

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it does offer many possibilities and it could be a source of untapped consumers for your company.

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