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5 Top Social Media Trends For 2014

What's next in the realm of Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and social business? See if you agree with our experts.

From social media faux pas to a prominent IPO, 2013 was full of social media highs and lows. According to Brian Solis, principal analyst at Altimeter Group, this year marked social media's move into the mainstream.

"It's no longer passed over as a fad or something that's going away any time soon," he said. "Social media is now part of our fabric of society, like mobile phones and computers -- it's a staple of our everyday life."

In 2014, expect a shift in priorities: a bigger focus on social media monetization, user-generated content, a great acceptance of sharing information, and more. Here's a look at the big trends for next year.

1. Businesses will learn how to better monetize social
"The big question everyone wants answers to is how does social media make money?" Solis said. "Everyone thinks that if these platforms don't make money at the outset, it's not a viable platform, and that's not true."

Neither Twitter nor Facebook made money in the beginning, but Facebook has found a way -- quarter after quarter -- to beat revenue expectations. Expect social platforms to generate new revenue streams and try new things as the sector sets a precedent for the best new ways to make money.

[ Facebook indexes more than you think. Read Facebook Graph Search: 5 Privacy Settings To Check. ]

2. Social media users will be comfortable sharing more
As people start to live a digital lifestyle, they open up and become less concerned about privacy. "We don't lose the desire to have privacy. We change the value proposition of what it is. The more we share online and the more people react to it, the safer you think it is to continue sharing."

This is good news for Facebook, which has started pushing users to share more often. The social network recently allowed teens to share posts publicly and removed a privacy setting that prevents people from finding you.

3. User-generated content becomes more important
"Next year will be the year that retailers go bananas over user-generated content," said Apu Gupta, CEO of the social analytics company Curalate.

Expect to see more initiatives like the one from Urban Outfitters. The retailer encourages customers to take photos of themselves in its clothing and to post them to Instagram with a hashtag. The company moderates the content and picks some photos to include in a gallery that links to the pages where you can then buy those looks.

"Not only is user-generated content free, but they're interested in it because every business wants to measure the ROI of social," he said. "This is a really easy and effective way to do that."

4. Google+ gains momentum
It's becoming harder and harder to ignore Google+, the search giant's social network, Gupta said. Take its most recent news: Google redesigned YouTube's comment section and now requires users to have a Google+ account or a YouTube channel to comment. And last month, it announced new details about its user base, confirming that it now has more than 300 million monthly active users.

One reason Gupta says Google+ will gain more momentum in 2014 is because of its visual appeal. "Brands love Google+ because it's so visual, and it seems like there's this undercurrent of people gravitating toward platforms in which content can be expressed in much more visual forms."

5. Facebook gains respect
After Facebook's IPO flop last year, investors remained skeptical of the social network. In 2014, that will change, Solis said.

"Facebook will finally be regarded as the powerful digital platform that it is. It's incredibly undervalued because investors haven't known what to make of it, and many of them probably don't even use Facebook," he said. "The same will probably happen to Twitter. It has tremendous room to grow into its own and will probably follow the same path as Facebook. The market will be a little wary and leery of it until it starts making money."

What do you think 2014 will bring to the social media realm? Leave us a comment below.

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User Rank: Apprentice
1/5/2014 | 2:02:24 PM
News social network "emotional way"
Have a look here https://itunes.apple.com/en/app/emotional-way/id761188946?mt=8 http://www.emotionalway.com
Vaibhav Agarwal
Vaibhav Agarwal,
User Rank: Apprentice
12/5/2013 | 12:34:06 PM
The rise of Anonymous Social Networks
I would like to throw some light on the most important aspect of Social Networks which this Article doesn't focus on. Deep down Humans are insecure with their Social Lives being recorded. This creates the need for Anonymous Social Networks where people can freely express themselves without revealing their identity.Buzzbox.pw(www.buzzbox.pw) and Whisper.sh(www.whisper.sh) are the two Websites that have taken steps towards this goal with great intent. 
2014 will definitely see this trend emerge.
User Rank: Apprentice
11/20/2013 | 2:43:26 PM
#1 --> Monetize? Vague, at best. Companies are already getting return for their social efforts, if that's what you mean.


#2 --> Duh.


#3 --> Not more important, but better leveraged by companies. UGC is everywhere already.


#4 --> Only because G+ is a layer and forced into other products like YouTube. Not organic momentum. 


#5 --> Fb already has a lot of respect. If anything, respect may not be as high as it once was.

User Rank: Strategist
11/19/2013 | 4:29:28 PM
I agree..
I feel like Facebook is nearing its peak. I remember when I predicted that MySpace, glory days, would be replaced by Facebook. Why? Facebook had relevance.. social applicability : pertinence <giving relevance to college courses>. 2. : the ability (as of an information retrieval system) to retrieve ... and all the other definitions I could get from Google in regards to relevance. Honestly, as an End-User, the simplicity and social applicability of Facebook is what I based my prediction solely upon. Having a preferred medium to be social and interact, while updating to Twitter and MySpace, was AMAZING and will be forever missed.


User Rank: Strategist
11/19/2013 | 4:02:21 PM
Pinterest , not Pintrest (I usually cheat on the spelling), is one of the top 20 websites in the U.S. and top 30 in the entire world. Though I'm in the "beginners bracket", I totally see the impact and the importance Pinterst has in the realm of social media.

Nine out of ten times, Pinterest search actually beats Google image search. This is Major for businesses and social media marketing. Visual images say a thousand words and when you consider that you have to say as much as you can with 140 characters, there is no comparison in regards to engagement. When it comes to social media and search, Pinterest is a better search engine than Google for advertising and search optimization [my opinion].

Pinterest and it's impact on ebusiness is just as impactful as an image is to increasing engagement. Having a personal or business account on Pinterest can help millions of people discover your business (products and services) through pins, as well as enables an individual to generate business leads.

Note to self: Put more effort into Pinterest*.


*Don't worry about being embarrassed if your wife or colleagues see those recipes you pinned. Hey, a Man's got to eat..
User Rank: Apprentice
11/19/2013 | 1:23:24 PM
Re: What 2014 Will Bring To Social Media Realm
Agree with Felix. I have a suspicion Facebook has peaked.


Oh, it won't be going away any time soon. But it won't be the powerhouse it has been.
User Rank: Apprentice
11/19/2013 | 4:42:13 AM
What about Pintrest? We find as an agency and creative studio find that Pintrest is generating third of our social media via google analytics. What are your thoughts on Pintrest? 
IW Pick
User Rank: Strategist
11/18/2013 | 5:52:14 PM
What 2014 Will Bring To Social Media Realm
I agree, mostly, with points made in "5 Top Social Media Trends for 2014".

1. Businesses will learn how to better monetize social- Large businesses will continue to use social media to advertise to the masses and small businesses via social media ads, promoted posts and sponsored profiles. The challenge is how small businesses will adapt to the role that social media plays in business and finding more effective and effecint ways to use social media  in business, in the areas of marketing and engagement (acquisition of new customers and retention of current customers).

2. Social media users will be comfortable sharing more- The human tendency to share is what makes social networks so "comforting". It provides one of the most effecient ways to share..  and in most cases, sharing too much. It is more secure to email your friends those 101 pics from your trip to Mexico, but uploading them as attachments in an email is so dated. Social networking sites know that privacy usually yields to comfort and convenience.

3. User-generated content becomes more important- I really don't know anyone in a Urban Outfitters, but I'd check Urban Outfitters out a little more closely if I knew someone in an ad or that was posted on their Facebook page.. might even share and make sure a few of my friends share it with their friends. #Viral

4. Google+ gains momentum- Google +, the Matrix as I like to call it, will explode! Why? Relevance, visibility and virality. Get there now and build your network..

Felix L. Griffin on Google+

5. Facebook gains respect- This is where I start to wonder... Social Media is all about "Relationship". I was taught that a relationship must have trust. When users feel that the truth of the interaction or sole purpose of the interaction is simple to get money, the engagement is off and the marriage of social medium and peers is over. 

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