Small-business owners can no longer ignore, cast aside or treat social media as an ancillary marketing tactic. In addition to customer acquisition and retention, social media trends are now playing a huge role in organic SEO. Now’s the time to start ramping up your social campaign. Whether you’ve been in the game for a while and are gaining ground or building your social media presence from the ground up, tapping into these six current social media trends will help strengthen your online presence.
1. Blogging Becomes More Micro
Just when you thought blogging couldn’t get any more micro than Twitter, it does. Jill Nadorlik of Nadorlik & Co. points out that Vine and Instagram have emerged as ways to go even shorter than Twitter, as well as add a touch of visual appeal to an otherwise text-based platform. “I think, generally, people are refreshingly stepping away from the keyboard and instead sharing their worlds through photo and video,” Nadorlik says.
2. Visual Content is King
Content has been king for a few years now, but in 2013, visual content is leading the pack. Not only are super-micro platforms like Instagram and Vine adding the visual component to social marketing, but users show a clear preference toward posts containing images on Facebook and Twitter, as well. Not convinced? Facebook posts containing images get an average of 53 percent more “Likes,” 104 percent more “Shares” and 84 percent more click-throughs than updates containing only text.
3. Video Marketing Takes Hold
YouTube has experienced explosive growth for a number of years, but 2013 marks a significant turning point for the video platform. Why? Small-business owners are realizing that it doesn’t take thousands of dollars and a professional studio setup to create a successful video. In fact, some of the most successful YouTube endeavors have been amateur videos with a strong emotional appeal.
4. Search and Social Join Forces
With Google indexing Facebook status updates, Tweets and content from Google+, small businesses with a strong social media presence are getting a boost in their search rankings. A new study from Searchmetrics finds that seven of the 10 most important SEO ranking factors are now related to social media, with Google +1s at the top of the list. While back-links are still critically important as the second most influential factor in determining organic rankings, social media activity is clearly a heavy indicator of organic ranking success. Other social influencers include: Facebook “Shares,” Facebook “Likes,” Facebook comments, tweets and Pinterest Pins.
5. New Monetization Methods
Brad Hines, a digital marketing and social media strategist, says a major trend he’s noticing is an increase in paid posts and placements. “This is when companies like SponsoredTweets.com, Ad.ly and similar platforms pay celebrities, experts and notable people alike to share content on behalf of advertisers,” he explains.
In addition, Hines says there’s a rising trend toward paid article placements in the “recommended reading” and “other articles you might like” sections below content on prominent publications like Fast Company and Inc. This can also be attributed to the ever-increasing value of social proof, or recommendations from highly regarded people or publications.
6. Social Currency Enters the Scene
Amanda Kleinhenz, social media strategist at AKHIA, an integrated marketing agency serving mid-sized B2B and B2C companies, says “a large emerging trend is the idea of social currency—brands that are connecting with customer buying habits through social media.” As social media becomes more of a foundational marketing component than an optional add-on for small business, savvy marketers are realizing the potential of researching social media trends and the hidden data that provides insight into what drives today’s consumers.
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Angela Stringfellow is a freelance writer, social media strategist and complete content marketing junkie obsessed with all things Web, written word and marketing.
Photo: Getty Images