This year social media will do more than introduce the masses to a royal baby and the peculiar dance moves of Miley Cyrus. In 2014, social media will continue to be a necessity for small business marketing, not just a fad that will fade away.
That’s just one of the predictions Sharon Geltner, a marketing teacher and small business counselor at Palm Beach State College, has for the new year.
Geltner’s predictions are based on her marketing prowess and her conversations with new business owners. As a counselor, she helps small businesses get started, which includes marketing advice.
“The small businesses I work with know that social media has a lot of marketing potential,” she says. “I think in 2014 we’ll see new social media tools revealed and smarter strategies from small business owners.”
Here are a few other predictions Geltner has for 2014:
1. LinkedIn will become the go-to social media site
LinkedIn is making big strides to earn your attention, Geltner says. The site, known among Geltner’s clients as “Facebook for grownups,” has attracted a lot of new users with business-centered features like endorsement tools and the ability to join groups.
“LinkedIn will become a social media powerhouse in 2014,” she says. “More business owners are realizing the treasure trove of information that potential clients list on profiles.”
Geltner expects business owners to search LinkedIn for potential clients and use the information offered online to do research before cold calling a prospective customer.
2. YouTube channels will grow
Geltner predicts more businesses will turn to video to spice up marketing campaigns in 2014. With YouTube channels growing in popularity and video equipment becoming cheap and easy to use, Geltner says more emails and social media posts will contain videos rather than lengthy paragraphs.
“People click on videos,” Geltner says. “If your business can pack information into an informative and engaging video, it could be more effective than writing the same content.”
If Geltner doesn’t convince you of YouTube’s power, statistics will. Every second that goes by, an hour of video is uploaded to YouTube. Retailers are flocking to the video hub as a way to boost online sales. For example, online retail store, Zappos, says 250,000 visitors were driven to its website by YouTube in 2012.
3. Twitter’s popularity will fall (with SMBs)
Geltner says the small business owners that she interacts with aren’t embracing Twitter quite as much as we’re led to believe. She’s not convinced that this platform will become a vital tool in the marketing toolbox.
“I really think Twitter has a 50/50 shot of making it in the small business world,” she says. “I know I’m probably in the minority with this line of thinking, but Twitter seems to be an afterthought for many businesses. We’ll see how it goes.”
Geltner isn’t the only one who thinks the 140-charcter site is a bit overrated when it comes to marketing. According to statistics from Peer Research, Americans aren’t in love with Twitter. In fact, the U.S. ranks eighth in Twitter engagement across the world, behind countries like Saudi Arabia and Indonesia.
4. Small businesses will get selective about social media
Every small business struggles to balance time, money and resources. While many small businesses gravitate towards all social media platforms because of their free marketing potential, Geltner expects businesses to be more efficient and selective in 2014.
“The novelty of social media is starting to wear off,” she says. “Business owners don’t need a presence on every social media site that exists.”
She believes small businesses will focus on one or two platforms rather than offer a meager presence on every site. A shift towards quality over quantity is also expected.
“Small businesses have enough experience with social media to realize that they don’t have to post every 30 minutes, but when they do, the content should be worthwhile to readers,” she says.
While Geltner says social media tools are an affordable way for small businesses to generate leads and promote a brand, she reminds owners not to forget about traditional media. Geltner says social media isn’t a silver bullet and advises every small business to combine its social media marketing with traditional marketing tools like email marketing to have the most successful year.
Have any predictions of your own? Share with us in the comments .
This post contributed by guest author, Lisa Furgison. Furgison is a media maven with ten years of journalism experience and a passion for creating top-notch content.
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