5 Social Media Marketing Trends from 2014  5 Social Media Marketing Trends from 2014 5 social media marketing trends from 2014

According to a 2014 report by the Social Media Examiner, 97% of marketers are using social media. However, 85% don’t know which tools and technology trends are best to leverage when marketing. While social media marketing is an excellent method to lower marketing costs, many businesses struggle with measuring the return on investment (ROI).

1. Google +

Google has been pushing its social networking and identity service, Google +, since it first launched in 2011. Thanks to the integration with Google Maps (and Google My Business), Google + is becoming an essential resource for local social media marketing. Managing your company profile on Google + gives you the potential to reach new customers using mobile devices to look up local business information. Make sure your listings include the correct hours, location and contact information, as many mobile users rely on this information when discovering new local businesses. Properly completed Google My Business profiles will help your company stand out in search results on the Web – especially local results on mobile devices. Customers can check in on Google, which provides a free method of word-of-mouth marketing that is very valuable to all businesses. It’s important to format your company’s profile image to properly reflect your business and establish strong credibility and brand image.

2. LinkedIn

LinkedIn has slowly become the world’s most trusted and efficient social media network for professionals. Listing your company on LinkedIn is an extremely powerful tool to establish brand credibility and professional network. In addition to connecting businesses to consumers (B2C), LinkedIn is the largest network for business to business (B2B) marketers. According to Forbes, company page usage on LinkedIn has increased from 24% to 57% just in the past year alone. Including your local business on LinkedIn is an important step in building strong social media marketing strategies. LinkedIn is also a great resource to find recruit new talent for your organization. Many job seekers use LinkedIn to find local job opportunities. Connect your company’s LinkedIn page to old employees and contacts to increase your business’s credibility and network.

3. Photo services

Photography has become a standard for this generation of technology. With hundreds of mobile apps and websites designed entirely around photos, every business can benefit from marketing on these services. Pinterest, Tumblr, Snapchat and Instagram are some of the more popular services that place a strong emphasis on its social elements. Encouraging your customers to upload photos of your business on these services and providing incentives is a great strategy to market on image-centric social networks. Regularly adding quality photos can increase your social followers and enhance your overall brand image and reach. Photos are a great tool to help express your company’s creative side while leveraging the services for social media marketing.

4. Micro-video

Short, concise video clips have been trending quite a lot this past year. Companies that create a powerful, simplified message through micro-videos have seen positive results. Services such as Vine and Instagram are great marketing resources for your small business. Including links to Vine and Instagram on your menus, products, services, websites and other social networks is an excellent method to drive new customers to your business. These short clips give you the opportunity to sell your most important or enticing business component to an almost infinite number of customers. A viral micro-video could drive unexpected traffic to your business.

5. Customer insight

For every business, customer feedback is crucial to understanding the success of a business. Social media provides a new platform for gathering data from your customers. While most review services provide voluntary feedback– which generally means more biased opinions – many local businesses are offering incentives to customers to review their business. For example, a local restaurant may offer a free side item if visitors check in on social services. Yelp, UrbanSpoon and Google My Business (integrated with Google services such as Google Maps and Google +) place an emphasis on a customer feedback system. Monitoring customer’s reviews through these services provides you with valuable insight into customer satisfaction and can help your business grow and improve.