About this time last year, we published our social media predictions
for 2013. While we don’t have a crystal ball, if there’s one thing we know about social media, it’s this: things always change.
So, for fun, let’s see how our predictions fared:
Social Media Prediction 1: Technologies will integrate and collaborate.
This prediction could not only mean more integration between social media channels such as WordPress, Google+, Facebook, and Twitter, but it could also mean integrated analytics that include everything from blog views to repins on Pinterest. This could also mean integration between Google+ and other social media platforms, which could ultimately help marketers with SEO when using social media platforms other than Google+.
How our prediction fared: Well, 2013 has brought us easier ways to collaborate between social media platforms. For one, Facebook connect continues to be a popular plugin, new services allow for publishing to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Google+ at one time, analytics reports are more accurate and available than ever thanks to new tools…and most exciting, Facebook now has a scheduling feature. One thing remains the same however: Google Search and Facebook Search are still two different worlds, and considering the fact that are both competing for your traffic, we don’t expect that to change anytime soon.
Social Media Prediction #2: In With Real-Time Marketing, Out With “Optimized” Newsfeeds.
Our prediction is that services such as Facebook will have to revert back to some of their old ways, allowing users to control which posts they see and how often, rather than “optimizing” the newsfeed so fans only see one in every seven business page posts. This will also mean that optimization will focus on timeliness and relevancy rather than profitability, which will make scheduled posts obsolete, and posts that key in on trending topics, priority. While Facebook may not be thrilled to face this reality, fans need to get the updates they signed up for and businesses need to know their efforts have a ROI. If Facebook doesn’t jump on board, our prediction is users will find somewhere else to go…like Google+.
How our prediction fared: Facebook has initiated Graph Search which uses a variety of relational search items such as locality to help users connect with local businesses, groups, and people. We have also noticed that reach among active users has been creeping up…as long as you have the ads to consistently grow your audience. So, in a way, some of the old ways are coming back, but what has changed is that Facebook needs to make a profit, and so ads are increasingly important. It will never be the free platform of Facebook past.
Social Media Prediction #3: Social Media Marketing Budgets Will Grow.
We have noticed an uptick in business, and we don’t expect this uptick to turn around any time soon. Profits and the GDP are at record-setting highs, businesses are still stretching their staff, and social media–once considered “for the birds”–is now more relevant than traditional media. This all adds up to larger marketing budgets and more work for social media consultants like us. No longer considered a luxury, businesses are starting to put more emphasis on how social media can improve SEO, create customer loyalty, and build brand awareness.
How our prediction fared: Just look at the number of social media-related jobs on LinkedIn and I think you will have your answer. Budgets are growing to adopt more social media help–in house and as consultants–as well as to pay for those costly Facebook ads
Social Media Prediction #4: Relevance is SEO, and SEO is Social Media.
SEO is becoming the new focus of social media. Marketers will soon post for one purpose: to gain web credibility and SEO. As more social media platforms collaborate, and as Google’s internet empire grows, expect more emphasis to be put on originality, content, and link building as opposed to the early-2000′s tactics of shock and awe for hits. He who creates custom content and shares it with the world (and that means on Google+ too), will reign as champion of the social media SEO game. There are some smart cookies down there at Google, and they are always finding new ways to give credibility to sites with original, human content, while also filtering out cheaters and spammers in the SEO game. They aren’t there yet, but we predict they will be soon. And wouldn’t that be a beautiful world? When you Google a term and get the most relevant results, rather than the most optimized (via clunky, non-human writing and techniques)?
How our prediction fared: Yes, SEO is still king, and that may just make Google the SEO God. Google has even implemented Google Authorship to help further detect spam and plagiarism so authors and bloggers with Google cred and original content will outrank keyword-stuffed spam. So, while Google+ still struggles along to meet the user numbers of it’s social media counterpart, Facebook, there is still a lot of reason to consider using Google+, and optimize your blog content for it.