Five Tips Friday: Five Trends Coming Our Way in 2014Predicting the future is always a dangerous task, primarily because if you are wrong you can end up REALLY wrong, and people tend to have long memories about such momentous failures. However, it seems incumbent upon us as marketers to reflect on what realities we think we and our clients will be dealing with in 2014. Rather than “forecasting,” one might consider these educated guesses. So, here we go.
1. It’s the images, stupid!
It seems clear that images are going to continue to rise in importance over the next year. Sites like Pinterest and Instagram, and Flickr are really just the beginning. Increasingly, we think that Facebook posts, blog posts, and other marketing content will be more image-centric than copy-centric. There are several reasons for this. People are tending to look at things on their phones while on the go, so capturing their attention with an image is far easier than capturing their attention with a long blog post. Images are also easy to share, which means that if your image is branded properly (hint – posting pictures of funny cats may not be the silver bullet), you could see your brand gaining strength in 2014.
2. Blogging about blogging will become less popular
A lot of the blogging advice floating around these days tends to use words like “epic” and “awesome.” It’s great to advise people to create “epic” content, but we think that in 2014 companies are going to be looking for a little more solid information. For example, how can a blog help convert leads into sales? How can I attract traffic to my blog if I feel like my product is not technically “exciting”? We think most companies are generally familiar with the concept of a blog at this point, and most people probably know that a blog with shoddy content won’t help you much. We think 2014 will be the year that truly solid advice starts filtering through the blogosphere.
3. Video development will increase
Especially in the B2B world, we think companies are going to be putting the pedal to the metal in terms of video development. Not only are videos great tools for putting a face to the name, but with the opportunity to optimize videos on YouTube (owned by Google), video development can also serve as an SEO tool (if done correctly). The key is not to start developing videos quickly, sloppily, and/or at random.
4. Social media marketing will move away from the realm of interns
With the flash success of Oreo’s “tweet heard round the world” during the 2013 Super Bowl and with many other social media foibles that gained brands a lot of negative attention, we think companies are finally going to start getting the message that social media marketing is not something that should be given to a person just because they are young, inexperienced, and ”they know how to tweet anyway.” While familiarity with social media tools is important, the real magic in social media marketing is adopting the voice of the company and becoming a brand representative in the public stream. Twitter and Facebook usage can be taught with relative ease. How to use those tools effectively represents a real training investment. We think companies are going to jump aboard that thought train in 2014.
5. The social media “guru” / “maven” / “jedi” / “ninja” will decrease in importance
For almost as long as the social media “revolution” has been going on, it has focused on a select few who are known as the “A-Listers” – people who have hundreds of thousands of friends and followers and whose blog posts are always well-read. The marketing segment of the social media world has reverted to a sort of incestuous cycle of these A-listers writing books, going to speak at conferences, gaining more followers, than writing more books to start all over again. On occasion these books have legitimately good advice, but far too often the extent of the knowledge this group of people provides does not extend much beyond promoting oneself or one’s book. Companies need real-world advice and that trend will only continue in 2014. We think companies are going to turn increasingly to people who have succeeded in the real world of business – people like Scott Monty of Ford, who has worked his tail off creating a positive online and offline brand image for the automotive company.
Those are five trends we see coming our way. What about you. What do you think is coming down the tracks? We’d love to hear from you!
Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/oubliette/22740518/ via Creative Commons
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