Wednesday, May 14, 2014

10 Social Media Trends for Summer 2014

social media trends for summer 2014
1. Vine
Vine has slowly but surely crept its way into the social media world. When Instagram introduced video, it looked like Vine wasn’t going to last very long. Instead, the wittiness of the 6-second videos brought users back to the app again and again. Brands such as Dunkin Donuts caught on and started to produce quick, entertaining video ads using the app. Thanks to the cleverness of Viners and short attention span of users, the app has become a successful way of marketing. Its platform integration has been improved, so Vines are easily shared on Twitter and Tumblr. Five tweets every second include a Vine link. The emergence of “vine celebrities” and real life celebrities (like Kylie Jenner and Ellen) creating vines further proves that Vine is only going to get more popular. Vine also recently made browsing videos available to the public (even for those without an account).

2. Emerging Technology
Inventions like Google Glass, Oculus Rift, the Samsung Smart Watch, and the Nod Bluetooth Ring seem like Jetson-esque products unlikely to be consumed in our lifetimes. But technology is moving at warp speed, and these products are becoming a reality. With Google testing the waters by making Google Glass available for purchase for one day to the general public, it’s looking like we’re very close to new ways to view social media. All Google Glass up for sale was sold out within hours.

3. Location, Location, Location
Facebook has been working hard to make location services an important feature. Foursquare was successful for a while, rewarding customers for “checking in” and seeing where friends have visited. New competitors such as Swarm have entered the playing field on location-sharing apps.  Facebook very recently introduced the “Nearby Friends” application, where users can choose to share their current location in real time to friends. Facebook can then build a database of places you’ve visited and no longer requires a manual check-in. The jury’s still out on whether this is a little too “Big Brother” for Facebook users or not. Either way, get ready for even more vacation envy.

4. Video Content on Instagram
Just because Vine is gaining popularity doesn’t mean that InstaVideo is unsuccessful. Instagram allows longer and edited video to be uploaded, which lets brands create ads and lifestyle videos for their pages. Retailers have taken advantage of this by featuring creative content displaying the culture of their brand instead of static ads. With Instagram already competing with the top social media giants in terms of marketing, it’s a preferable platform for sharing content.

5. Hashtags
Hashtags aren’t going anywhere. With integration across Twitter, Instagram, Vine, Google Plus, and now Facebook, hashtags have become the way to express and search for content. Brands are creating their own catchy tags that users can use, creating a conversation about their products, without creating a feeling of being too marketing-heavy. New tags trend and spike every day, and this summer will be no different.

6. Social Searches
Both Facebook and Google + have increased the importance placed on social search. Facebook’s “grid” feature is being rolled out; this allows users to search with very specific terms (e.g. interests, favorite movies, etc.). Meanwhile Google+ uses its +1 feature and integration with Google searches to place Google plus posts higher in rankings. Users are more likely to click on links suggested by someone they know instead of faceless corporations. It may be helpful on some resort recommendations.

7. Native Advertising
Almost all of the social media platforms have now integrated native advertising in one form or another. Now ads come up in users’ feeds, making click-through a more organic experience. Even popular sites like Buzzfeed have integrated ads into their pages. Native advertising requires the ad to be more like content, so users are will be intrigued enough to click on the ad. Even Tumblr — which has declined to spam users in the past — has moved towards a cleaner “sponsored post,” which feels less invasive than old-school ads.

8. Lifestyle Content
Posts on social media by brands have become less about selling product and more about selling what brands stand for. Selling a lifestyle instead of individual products makes creating creative content easier. This summer, expect brands to incorporate many types of media in social media posts. For example, retailer Urban Outfitters has been very successful with its #MusicMonday blog posts, where they offer customers a free playlist download.

9. Better Mobile Design
The way people view their social media platforms has taken a dramatic shift towards mobile. As of February 2013, 37% of time spent online was on mobile devices. The average person checks his/her phone at least 110 times a day. That number only increases with the smart phone takeover across cell phone markets. This development has caused brands and platforms to scramble to creating cleaner website designs that translate to mobile. The introduction of iOS7 forced app developers to rethink the way that their apps present themselves on mobile devices. Consequently, it’ll be that much easier to check your feeds while sitting on the beach.

10. Influencers and Collaborations
Collaborating with other brands and pages has led to success for many brands on social media. Branching off of lifestyle content ideas, gaining celebrity endorsement has become a necessary evil for many high-end brands. Sometimes celebs can be unpredictable, but when endorsements are done successfully, they can be extremely beneficial for a brand. For example, eos lipbalms made an appearance in Miley Cyrus’s music video. EOS now has 115k followers on Twitter, multiple celebrity endorsements (like Kim Kardashian), and has become a pop-culture phenomenon.

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