You tweeted, “liked,” and hashtagged your way through 2013. So what does social media in 2014 have in store for you? If you own or manage a business, you are likely using social media for free or inexpensive advertising. In the beginning, you may have had a blog, then branched out to Facebook, Twitter, maybe Instagram, Pinterest, Vine, Snapchat, Google+, LinkedIn, Storify, Flickr... well, you get the idea. The options are many.
Which Top Social Media Tools to Use?
Because of limitations on time and money, most businesses concentrate their social media efforts on a handful of platforms. But which are most effective? If you had to choose the top social media tools for your business in 2014, based on user numbers, put your money on LinkedIn, Google+ and Facebook.
Facebook Holds Steady
Facebook has the most monthly users (1.19 billion in September 2013, according to Facebook itself) and continues to grow. While some predict an influx of older users will scare away younger ones, Jim Edwards of Business Insider says Facebook doesn’t care. “CEO Mark Zuckerberg has already begun to make the case that Facebook is no longer interested in being cool, and is more interested in being like Google — a sort of online utility that helps people connect when they need to.”
Google+ is a Requirement for those Promoting Businesses
Google+ has the second highest number of users (some sources say over 500 million) and is predicted to grow significantly in 2014. What many business owners are discovering is that Google+ is a top social media tool for businesses because you must use it in order to gain visibility for your brand across not only Google’s search engine, but other services such as Google maps, reviews, etc.
LinkedIn Offers News Service
Analysts predict that LinkedIn is poised for major growth in 2014. It’s already considered the number one social media tool for professionals. Through its “Influencers” and “Pulse” platforms, Dave Kerpen on the Inc.com website says LinkedIn has created an impressive news feed. “I get all of my business news and insights through my LinkedIn feed now,” he says, versus having to visit multiple sites for the same information.
A few more predictions for social media in the new year? Hashtags will become a leading search tool, not just in social networks but also in news sites. Also, paid advertising on social media sites will be commonplace for businesses wanting to make their posts more visible and seeking an affordable advertising option.