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Social media trends of 2014

Social media’s influence is growing fast as the medium grows up. Here’s an Oxygen guide to making sure your brand takes full advantage.

Social media trend #1 – target fans not customers

Brands are cottoning onto the power of the social micro niche influencer or ‘superfan’ ambassador who will both curate and create content (tweets, photos, videos and posts) to promote their products to their target audience for them. To some degree, this means brands giving up control of their social media marketing. However the shift towards the ‘authentic’ in both design and PR in 2014 means that recommendations from these ‘superfans’ are now worth more than ever. The key is cultivating them is to post genuinely useful content and tools that allow your fans to share and recommend, and, of course, to treat them well. Promoting your brand should then take care of itself.

“The social micro niche influencer or ‘superfan’ ambassador can promote your brand for you.”

Social media trend #2 – time to take social media more seriously

There are several social media trends driving this. For a start, big brands are now strategically planning and automating social media offerings so that posts are properly curated and systematically offered via the right platforms. Social media is also moving towards pay-for-play with both Twitter and Pinterest launching paid advertising. If you haven’t got a proper social media strategy with goals, a defined target audience and a budget, you really will need one in 2014. (Our social media experts here at Oxygen can help.)

Is it worth it? Well some brands are eschewing traditional mass media entirely in order to reach fans directly. For instance, Beyonce avoided all the traditional PR and advertising outlets with the release of her recent album. She sold 365,000 album downloads on day one after launching via Instagram, proving that she doesn’t need traditional mass media at all. So we think this is a social media trend that’s only going to grow.

Social media trend #3 – realise that social media is another form of customer service

While companies have traditionally seen social media as either a gimmick or a nice extra, that’s now set to change. To begin with mobile platforms are becoming key rather than a nice extra. Customers are already being fed more individually targeted, location and preference-specific content via social media. With the emergence of predictive analytics, in 2014 brands will be offering more one-to-one personalised, ‘real-time’, relevant content, offers and tools. Along with this, ‘real-time’ personalised responses via social media are becoming a preferred platform for engaging with disgruntled customers to win them back over. As such, it’s being recognised as an integral part of the hard work of understanding, reaching and satisfying your customers.

Social media trend #4 – it’s all about image, baby

Social media users are bombarded with an estimated 34 billion bits of information every day according to a new study by the University of California. User attention is becoming a scarce commodity, which brands are competing to capture. And because a picture (or video) paints a thousand words, expect to see visuals become increasingly important in 2014 along with the continued rise of Vine, Pinterest and Instagram. If you haven’t mastered the art of the short video – similar to mastering the art of tweeting – then you need to, fast because this is another social media trend that, given current conditions, can only grow. (Again, our creative team can help.)

If you need help to take advantage of the rise of social media, then give our PR and creative specialists a call today on 0845 2606 255. We’ll get the conversation between you and your customer started.

 

 

Steve Lodge: Steve trained as a NCTJ journalist and is an experienced copywriter. He has over 15 years in agency, and started Oxygen in 2002.