Hector's the Connector’s Social Media Predictions for 2014 and Beyond


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By Hector Cisneros
Courtesy of blog.buzzoole.com

Social media has seen radical changes over the last three years. Their level of acceptance and use has Social networks now have the eyes and ears of billions of subscribers. The impact of organic search ranking is indisputable today. Also, its effect on product acceptance, adoption and loyalty has become so important that large companies are spending vast amounts of advertising money to create and measure its influence on their product sales and profitability. Cyber criminals are also taking advantage of this mass migration to social networks. My last two prediction articles have come in with a 95% accuracy rating and this year I am going out on a limb with a few of my prognostications. So read on and find out what I foresee the New Year will ring in for Social Networking in the year to come (including Facebook, Google+ LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Pintrest and Blogger).
exploded. Many of the top social networks are now monetized and have become publicly held companies.

The only constant in Social Media will be change!  The top five Social networks (Facebook, YouTube, Google+, Twitter, and LinkedIn) will continue to create new features and buy up small players to add more capabilities and gain an edge over their competitors.
Social Media Camp - NYC - 2011
Social Media Camp - NYC - 2011 (Photo credit: deanmeyersnet)

Social Equity will finally get respect.   Now that the industry has accepted the fact that content is king in the search market, pundits will begin to understand the value that a company can gain when it  builds a strong social following. It the past businesses considered their customer base as a sellable asset. Now business buyers will start to learn the value of a loyal social media following and how it can be turned into a marketing and communications machine for any business.

Small businesses will embrace Social media as a meaningful and measurable marketing medium.   
In the past, one of the biggest complaints about social media was that you could not measure its impact on your business. This is no longer the case. All of the major social networks have added at least some form of built-in analytics to measure activity. Google Analytics also has
added a plug-in for social networks and other vendors are busy creating or adding measurement tools to help business gauge their return on investment.

Google will continue to consolidate its services.   Google will continue to consolidate services into Google+ and expand its services for the mobile market! As Google continues to consolidate its prime properties into Google+, Google+ will continue to grow as it cannibalizes services from its competitors. Once Google gets their feature mix and ease of use in line, products like Event bright, Skype, Yelp and Yammer will be replaced with Google +'s competing features that include their Events Calendar, Hangouts, Google Local and Circles just to name a few. Also as Google continues to move search into all of its products, subscribers will begin their day with Google+ instead of having their home page opening with Google Search.

Blogging will become mainstream.   Businesses will finally recognize that blogging is an essential element of their online strategy. WordPress will continue to dominate the blogging market but  Blogger will continue to make headway as Google adds functionality and integration of its other products into its fold. Expect to see lots of new blogging productivity tools to help bloggers upgrade the
quality, look and feel of their posts along with tools to address the ever growing e-reader and mobile user markets. Blogger already comes with Google Analytics built in, but look to see further add-ons as businesses move from just using Blogger as a publishing platform to a website and e-commerce platform for integrated follower interaction.

YouTube jumps to the next level as it finally gets considered as a social network.  The addition of its news feed and timeline activity features will make this a reality. Also Google is actively working to make this medium business friendly so that it can further monetize this segment of their market. Look for Google to figure out a way to utilize YouTube to create video ads on Google Search. They already have the technology to create short animations from photos. The next step will be using this tech for video ads.

Facebook will continue to monetize the news feed and introduce new items including animated ads.
Facebook
Facebook (Photo credit: stoneysteiner)

They still haven't realized the importance of being business friendly. 
It never ceases to amaze me that such a large company can be so arrogant. They have no real high touch support mechanisms in place, rarely answer email inquiries and have little or no customer service. Facebook still doesn't have an adequate support mechanisms for business customers. They have no direct contact phone number and their ability to arbitrarily make changes by running features up the flag pole often infuriates its subscribers. They will remain vulnerable until they finally embrace customer service as their new mantra. 

LinkedIn will add new features including video resumes for employment candidates.   2014 will find LinkedIn concentrating on growing its pay per click and recruitment businesses. Last year they looked to growing their influence overseas and improving their mobile platforms. These will continue into this year and 2015. Also look to find LinkedIn searching to buy smaller social media companies as well as expanding its functionality and depth.

Pinterest gets purchased by one of the top five social media players.   Currently Pinterest is not showing a profit but it is a candidate to be swallowed by one of the big media companies. Google alread
y has its own photo platform and Facebook has Instagram so it might be Twitter or LinkedIn that makes the leap. My choice would be LinkedIn as they have the money and could benefit from a photo gallery platform. It's also possible that one of the large media networks (like Time Warner) or one of the other tech giants such as Apple or Microsoft will step-in.

Twitter will continue to lose money.   This trend will continue until they make their social network more business friendly. Right now they are concentrating on big businesses for income but they lag when it comes to enticing mid-sized and small business. Currently they like to throw speed bumps at business clients who are actively trying to grow their twitter following. Many of their rules are obscure, confusing and arbitrarily enforced. This causes many small businesses to get suspended even when they haven't received any complaints. Also their pay per click platform leaves a lot to be desired. They have added some analytics functionality but currently they are far from providing tools that compel small businesses to adopt them as a Pay Per Click platform.

Cyber criminals will become more sophisticated in their data mining techniques.   Social media is already one of the top ways for criminals to gather victims' personal data in order to hack their systems or assume their identity for financial gain. With the government’s nearly hands-off approach to cyber crime, expect to see lots of new black hat tools designed to explicitly attack the social media networks.

In this article I discussed my social media predictions for 2014. My prognosticating covers the span of the big five players (Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Twitter and LinkedIn). I also look at Pinterest, the effects of cyber criminals on social networks and potential global trends that could manifest in the year to come.
Whether Google moves to social network dominance, Facebook stumbles and falls or Twitter becomes profitable, my predictions will be tested by the maelstrom of change that 2014 will certainly ring in. If you liked this article share it with your friends and co-workers. If you have a comment related to this article enter it in the section below. I always enjoy researching and writing my social media prediction for the coming year. I hope this one was informative and enjoyable for you.  


Until next time, that's my opinion, I look forward to hearing yours.

May the coming year be enlightening and profitable for you and your family.

If you like this article, you can find more by typing “Predictions” in the search box at the top left of this blog. If you found this article useful, share it with your friends, families and co-works. If you have a comment related to this article, leave it in the comment sections below.  If you would like a free copy of our book, "Internet Marketing Tips for the 21st Century", fill out the form below. 



Hector Cisneros is COO and director of Social Media Marketing at Working the Web to Win, an award-winning Internet marketing company based in Jacksonville, Florida.  He is also co-host of the weekly Internet radio show, "Working the Web To Win" on BlogTalkRadio.com, which airs every Tuesday at 4 p.m. Eastern. Hector is a syndicated writer and published author of “60 Seconds to Success.”



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8 comments:

  1. One thing is constant with the internet... change.

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  2. The future of cyber criminal activity is a bit unsettling...

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    Replies
    1. It should be for everybody. If people would start to really pay attention to this, maybe the Government would start to make it more of a priority. It would also make it harder for criminals to victimize businesses and users.

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  3. Interesting - didn't realize twitter was so unfriendly to small businesses. I was hoping to incorporate them more into our advertising in 2014.

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    1. I did not mean to imply that Twitter is anti business. My point is that they are still trying to figure out how to make businesses use them. Most social networks are not really businesses friendly. They don't provide support mechanism like customer/business support telephone numbers and they are not very responsive to questions via email.

      Having said that, you can use Twitter and any of the top five social networks once you have a grasp of the speed bumps they through at you. We use Twitter extensively for business. It is a great medium for getting a message out quickly. The Tricky part is figuring out how to grow your network without breaking the bank or getting spanked for being to aggressive at inviting your following.

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