Twelve Social Media Predictions for 2014

As 2013 is winding down and we are getting ready to post our awesome Xmas Pics or update a Christmas update here’s an article I came across earlier today regarding what to expect from Social Media in 2014 from The Huffington Post.  One of my resolutions for 2014 is to definitely extend my knowledge in order to share with all my connections enjoy and share on!!! Have a great Holiday Season with your loved ones!

Twelve Social Media Predictions for 2014

 – Author and CEO, Marketing Experts, Inc

The past year saw a lot of changes in social media. Google‘s social site, Google+, saw huge growth and more activity, LinkedIn really got in the game, and Pinterest continued to pull in more traffic and more sales. Visuals also really became front and center and led the way for infographics, Vine video, and Instagram. To some degree, however, we’re still finding our way in social. So many sites, so little time has driven us to be more particular about the sites we are on and, instead of talking at our user, we speak to them – we communicate. In the coming year you’ll see more of this and I think that by the end of 2014 the social media landscape will look very, very different. Here is where I think we are headed:

Google+ is no longer an option: Let’s start first with the obvious and also with an apology. When Google launched Google+ (G+) I rolled my eyes and hoped it would fail like the other social media platform Google started. Why? Because we have so many social networking sites – do we really need one more? Apparently we do. G+ has gone from being a footnote to a game-changer and in order to get ranked on Google, G+ must be part of your social sites because their posts count towards your search ranking; those with the most active G+ profiles will have the best online presence. I’m sorry G+ that I ignored you for so long, I promise it won’t happen again.

Numbers Don’t Matter:
 There was a time when we all clamored for a huge number of followers, so much so that some folks were buying Twitter followers on eBay. Now it seems that while big numbers are great, engagement is better. How many people are sharing your stuff, retweeting your content or, in the case of G+ adding a +1 to your content? That’s the key to a solid presence online. Are you getting people to talk back to you, communicate with you and then communicate to your people how great you are? Think of it this way, what if you were speaking to a huge crowd of people but they all fell asleep during your presentation. Rude? Maybe. But also perhaps an indicator that you need to be more engaging or, at the very least say something to keep them from falling asleep.

Visuals rock:
 We’ve seen it with the growth of Pinterest and the popularity of Instagram. We also see it in the engagement on G+ that images aren’t just a fun way to dress up your social media site, they are mandatory. Social networks are becoming much more image-driven and the challenge with images is that you can’t just throw something up there and hope it will inspire engagement (like pictures of your food or your cup of coffee as if most of us have never seen either before). Even posting images on Twitter helps to increase the views to your tweet. We’re also now seeing more of a surge in Slideshare which is a fantastic place for speakers to share presentation slides and (even if you aren’t a speaker) you can put together a short slide show covering a particular topic. Invest in some royalty-free images that you can use with all of your posts and, please repeat at me: I will never post a single update to Facebook, Twitter, or G+ without an image.

Video, Video: What’s the second biggest search engine on the planet? Would you be surprised if I said it was YouTube? Think about it. You’re searching a video on your favorite song or a how-to on just about anything. Where will you go? That’s right: YouTube. In 2014 you’re going to see even more momentum to this site, but you’ll also see a huge surge in micro-videos. We know that since the inception of Vine more and more people are using short burst videos to share product information or other stuff related to their business. But I believe as attention spans continue to shrink that you’ll see more and more of these quick, short and hyper-focused videos. People love the quick step-by-step tips as opposed to the longer videos they have to sift through to get information. If you a have a video plan in place, consider doing short micro videos of a minute or less.

LinkedIn: When I talk to business people just about every single one of them is on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn, though it’s been discouraging that in recent months LinkedIn has been somewhat of a free-for-all. If you’re on there you’ve no doubt noticed things like group spamming and the odd “endorsement” thing which I’m not sure even makes sense or helps your ranking. In 2014 LinkedIn is really going to clean up its act and if you’re in business and not on there, you’ll be missing out on a lot of networking. LinkedIn will become an even bigger business driver with enhanced options and a better filtering system. I believe in 2014 their growth will be staggering. Mostly because as you’ve no doubt noticed, Facebook has changed, and not always in great ways.

Facebook: And speaking of Facebook, this site will go almost completely paid in 2014. Sure, you’ll still be able to have free accounts on there but if you want any of your posts on Facebook Pages to get seen by new people, you’ll need to pay for it. I believe that nearly everything to do with Pages will be in a paid format. I think they have the branding, exposure, and traffic to pull this off. Not everyone will be happy and, in my view, Facebook should be careful because G+ is knocking on their door.

Mobile: Did you know that by the end of 2013 there will be more mobile devices than people? That’s a pretty staggering concept! It’s a given that mobile will get bigger in 2014. Have you checked your site in mobile? Do you know whether folks are accessing your website via a computer or phone? Check your analytics to be sure, Google Analytics will tell you how and when folks are accessing your site. It’s important to know this because for those of you who have high mobile engagement, you’ll want to explore creating a mobile version of your site. WordPress has a lot of mobile plug-ins that serve this purpose.

All together now:
 When was the last time you were on Foursquare? I know. Me, too. I had a huge flurry of activity there and then just dropped off. The “check in” feature was unique, at least until Facebook started doing more of that and offering options to link to locations when you posted on the site. Let’s face it, can we really keep track of all of these sites? Wouldn’t it be easier if we had one site that did it all? I believe that’s where we will be headed and something we’ll see more of as the New Year progresses. Does this mean you should punt certain social sites? No, by all means stay where you are getting activity. I just think that more and more you’re going to see smaller sites getting absorbed into bigger social sites. Frankly, the social media funnel needs to be easier and streamlined. Sure you can cross post and that’s great. But once G+ or Facebook start offering some more sophisticated post scheduling, planning, and tracking features, will you really need scheduling systems like HootSuite and Tweetdeck? It’s worth considering that some of these sites, while helpful now, may be a bit of overkill in the future.

MySpace: Remember that site? They tried a reboot not that long ago but I think they still have just that one user, you know the guy who joins everyone’s MySpace account? That said, I do think that MySpace is geared for a change and 2014 will be make it or break it for them. If they can’t create some exposure for their site in the coming year, MySpace will go the way of Napster. Oh, remember that site? But I think there will be some funding for this site, because there’s an appeal to the music crowd which has always been its primary audience. Also, the changes that Facebook may make could help drive more people here, too. Think of it: you’re a band on Facebook but you don’t have the money to pay for placement that will get you visibility to a new market, what do you do? You hop onto a site that will help you gain fans.

Empowering Fans: We’re seeing this more and more, that consumers trust other consumers. WalMart tried this in their fake posting fiasco some years back. I think that in 2014 companies will be spending much more time building fans who are willing to help them spread the word about their service or product because they love it so much. How will they do this? Well, certainly there could be share “incentives” but I think that we’re looking for a company that treats us so good, we can’t wait to share it with a dozen friends and family. Companies finding ways to build more word-of-mouth traffic will be key. Unique ways of delivering a product, over-the-top customer service, and a product or service that delivers beyond a customer’s expectations won’t be the exception, but the rule.

Twitter: (@monicoperez) What started out as a watercooler site has turned into so much more. I’m actually not surprised that Twitter did so well during its public offering because it’s more than just a social media site. It’s a newsroom, a central place to share thoughts or (in the case of Scandal) a series of OMG’s. Twitter, in a sense, has become a hub, the center of town where information collects. There is a hashtag for (almost) everything. Not much will change on this site, expect for more paid/visibility opportunities. But it will continue to grow in 2014. If you aren’t on Twitter, or aren’t sure how to use it, just try following a hashtag related to whatever you’re interested in and chime in. Conversation is easy on this site. You just have to contribute.Of all of the social sites, this site will continue to be a game-changer.

Hashtags: This used to be just a way to search on Twitter, now it’s a way to search globally. If you’re not using hashtags in all of your social posts, you are missing out on a lot of traffic. In 2014 I think that using hashtags will be mandatory in order to bring visibility to your posts. People are searching on terms, we see that everywhere. You can pop a hashtag into Google and it’ll give you options to search all of the different feeds. While Hashtags were helpful for social search in 2013, in the coming year they will be required.

While I don’t have a crystal ball, I do think that we’ll see huge changes in the way we communicate with our audiences. Consumers hate being sold to, so building loyal fans will be important. It’s also no longer mandatory to be on every single social site. Remember it’s not being about everywhere, it’s about being everywhere that matters. The moral? Find your ideal social site(s) and a message that inspires, educates, engages and entertains your followers, and you’ll build a dedicated tribe.

Social Media’s Coolest Travel Companies

Planning on taking a vacation this summer or you already have, well here’s just some cool Social Media ideas I came across in regards to not completely plugging out of Social Media all together during your next vacation.  As my summer has been filling up with travels to Cyprus, Cancun & Maui, I’ve noticed that although it is a vacation it is also fun to stay plugged into the Social Media world and try to use it to help others or myself….

BEFORE WE HEAD OUT ON VACATION THERE’S AN IMPORTANT AIRLINE SAFETY VIDEO

Now we all know what happens when we board the plane and they begin to start explaining the safety video but who ever thought an airline-safety video could be fun? Air New Zealand did. ANZ employed the ever-bedazzled Richard Simmons to deliver the familiar preflight lesson of how to don your oxygen mask (or “take a breather!” as he says). And the disco-rich video wasn’t just for flyers: it has had almost 2.6 million YouTube views since its March 2011 launch—try getting that kind of virality from your basic seat-belt-fastening snoozer.

Social media, after all, has become an essential part of the way we travel—with everything from trip planning to photo sharing. The SMITTYs came about when we saw travel companies doing some pretty cool things in the social media space, and we wanted to recognize their efforts. So we asked airlines, tourism boards, car-rental companies, tour operators, cruise lines, and others to give us their best efforts from 2011.

HOTEL DEALS

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts

The hotel company created and promoted special rates for Facebook and Twitter. The depth of the discounts (as low as $89 a night) drove a high volume of bookings and awarded them the Best Social Media Promotion of Travel Deals, Global Hotel or Resort Chain.

Four Seasons Hotel Austin

Ultimate Austin Scavenger Hunt: The property organized a photo scavenger hunt; fans and visitors submitted pictures of the hotel and Austin landmarks on Facebook or Flickr. The first 100 participants to complete at least half the tasks received an overnight stay or other prizes.  Lots of brands have photo contests; adding a scavenger hunt was a fun way not just to engage fans, but also to utilize the popularity of Facebook’s photo-sharing functionality.

FOOD & DRINKS

Foodspotting, an app favorite for food photographers, launched less than a year and a half ago.  Foodspotting began in 2009 when cofounders Alexa Andrzejewski, Ted Grubb and Soraya Darabi put their heads together to address what they felt was a lack of proper food reviewing apps. A few months later, they launched in beta at SXSW Interactive in March 2010.

My favorite way to describe Foodspotting? If Flickr and Foursquare went out on a date, ate too many oysters and drank too much champagne, the result 9 months later would look very much like Foodspotting. Using the mobile app, users can snap a photo of a dish, tag it and share it with friends on Foodspotting or via Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare, etc. It’s also a helpful guide if you’re ever looking to spark your appetite. Simply open the app and search for photos of food taken nearby.

Why Pinterest Should Matter to You

This most recent player in the field of social media might seem like it doesn’t fit into your marketing model. Here’s why you’re wrong.

If you could promote your brand via what the Wall Street Journal boasts as “the hottest start up…in Silicon Valley,” would you jump on board? Well, if top brands such as Martha Stewart, Michael Kors, Pepsi, and Nike see the potential, it’s probably a good idea to follow suit.

Pinterest is a virtual pinboard where you can “curate and share things you love.” With millions of new “pins” a week, not only do “pinners” consider posting and reposting stuff they love fun and inspirational, but also Pinterest has already proven itself as a powerful social media platform. Businesses are joining Pinterest to display product, create brand awareness, build communities and, in some cases, grow profits by leaps and bounds. SO START PINNING!

Now these are not the only apps by any means that are out there, I am sure that there is some 10 year old kid coming up with the next hottest and greatest app on the planet but I just figured I’d share what I’ve been using and has helped me keep in touch with friends and family although I am thousands of miles away…

Make sure and add me on Twitter so I can retweet your pics/posts http://www.twitter.com/monicoperez

Are you on Pinterest…Me TOO: http://pinterest.com/monicoperez/

Want to learn more about the power of Pinterest check out this article: THE POWER OF PINTEREST

Let’s just stay connected and have a fun summer! Also if you have any apps you enjoy or want to share please post….

5 Things That Shouldn’t Be On Your Facebook

I just read an interesting article about crimes that were committed and solved on Facebook. In one of the featured stories was a break-in in a victim’s house by a man, whom she later found out had just befriended her on Facebook a week before!  After reading that article I wanted to share some of the information that was provided in that article to help those that are NEW to Facebook, Internet and/or Social Media!

 

This just goes to show that the things you put on Facebook: your private details, your photos, your thoughts and preferences; they can be used against you. So despite the feeling Facebook offers you, you really should take into account what you put on your Facebook page.

Here is a list of five things that are suggested that should not be on your Facebook page, beginning with:

1.People You Have To Answer To
2. Photos Of Everything
3. That Sensation of Always Tagging Where You Are
4. Angry Statuses Or Comments
5. Birthdays
 

1. People You Have to Answer To:

The friend’s list is a very personal place. Where am I going with this? Keep bosses, managers, supervisors, or even colleagues out of your friend’s list. No matter how strong your relationship is with anyone from these categories, it is best to keep your professional life separate from your personal life. For starters, if work gets you down, you can still write statuses about it without having to look over your virtual shoulder all the time.
While it may not be a good career move to speak ill of your work place, it is a valid form of stress relief, particularly when you get to vent without worrying about a backlash. Leave that option open for yourself by keeping your Facebook territory free of work-related people.

2. Photos of Everything

We can’t really resist sharing photos of our lives. For some, it is a funny, heart-warming or proud scene that is warmly shared with friends. For others, it’s a boost for the self-esteem. Albums after albums of homes, kids, the workplace, a drinking party, purchases, vacation trips, pets and family mark attempts to paint a picture of what a wonderful life I have; how’s yours?But when you share too much info on your page, it’s an invitation for trouble, particularly, if you readily post pictures of your home, your furniture and belongings, where your kids go to school, what you gave your wife for her last birthday or your latest gadget purchase of the month. Showing off is fine but you don’t want to be revealing more than what you want to roaming eyes.

Plus, it kind of throws your argument of “wanting to keep whatever’s left of your privacy private”, out the window. You have control over what pictures to post. Use it.

3. That itching need to constantly tag where you are

Are you a prolific serial tagger? You have to get that addiction cured. It’s not really advisable to constantly tag your whereabouts, especially when you even tag where your home is (believe me, there are people who do that). Experts have always advised us to not confine our lives to predictable routines because that’s how criminals know when to break and enter your home. And that was during the pre-Facebook years.On top of that, stop announcing to everyone when you will be away from home (in Phuket for the whole of next week!) or when you will be alone at home (Alone at home, googly-bear has a conference in Australia, again).The only thing missing are photos of where you keep your keys and valuables, but let’s not make it easier than it already is right now.

You can call it paranoia, but if you look at some of your friend’s Facebook Walls, and do a bit of homework, you can actually pull off a mini-heist or two. For the record, we’re not daring you, but now you know it can be done.

4. Angry statuses or comments

It’s never a good idea to write an angry letter or email about anyone to anybody. But the inhibition level is not as high when it comes to Facebook statuses. Regardless of how private you keep your page, there are people who are watching what you type. What they see paints a mental picture of you in their heads, which gets altered all the time, as they get to know you better.Being too critical and calling people four-letter names never help. And as much as you may think that this is my Facebook page and I am entitled to write whatever I think or feel at the moment, even you know deep down inside that it will come back to haunt you one day. Your opinions and thoughts will vary as you grow older, but Facebook statuses stay forever. Note to self: This cliché will come back and haunt me one day.

5. Birthdays

Of all the things on this list that you shouldn’t post, if you can only choose one, it should be this. Keep your birthdate figures a secret.Why? Do you know what birthdays are good for apart from reminding everyone to add another candle on your chocolate cake? Yeah, passwords to emails, online accounts and websites. Do not deny it.

When asked to provide a 6-to-8 character password, the first thing that pops into your mind will probably be a variation of your birth date or the birthdates of someone close to you. But if you have to put your birthday up (just to feel the love Facebook reminders have to offer), consider not revealing the year you were born.

“To Yelp or Not To Yelp?”…That is the Question!

With Social Media sites becoming more and more popular, it’s great when you discover an awesome one that is easy to use and convenient.  I had heard about “Yelp” a couple of different times, but didn’t really understand how to use it or what it was for.  I figured it was just another site that you could use where people would give businesses stars based on their popularity or that business could purchase ads and get promoted. Well it’s more than that.

A couple of weeks when we were on our way back to Texas from LA., we were out on IH-10 around San Bernardino area and I was craving some Mexican food…but not On The Border, not anything commercial.  I was looking for something home cooked.  So my girlfriend said let me look for something on Yelp.  I said OK but didn’t know how it worked, within less than 3 minutes she had like 3 or 4 locations and was reading me off comments that people had recently posted from their visit there.  I was like WOW, that’s pretty cool.  We chose one location in Pomona, CA called Lily’s Tacos!  It had great reviews, said that the food was good home cooked tacos and burritos.  Within 10 minutes we were at the location and ordering food.  It was awesome.  I would have to say that this has been some of the greatest mexican food that I’ve had.  Now I am not writing this blog to rant and rave about this place and so everyone can stop by there while they’re in Pomona or traveling on the IH10…although I would strongly recommend this place and yes they are that good!

But I think that everyone should Yelp, if not to give your feedback if you find something good that you recommend for others but also to help out those smaller restaurants that are possibly barely getting started or don’t have the money to buy a radio ad, or newspaper ad and need the exposure to make it.  I think it’s kinda like free advertisement for those businesses that don’t have a lot of money to put back into their establishments but still provide high quality and great service.

I am now committing to Yelping whenever I get a chance to…and hope that you do the same!

Here is my YELP profile….If you want to connect! www.monicoperez.yelp.com

Pick up your phone and BLOG somebody…

Just when you thought that you didn’t have enough time to sit down at your machine and think of something to blog about, now WordPress has taken it a step further and easier for users to blog.  As everyone already knows you can already write and publish WordPress blog posts from your iPhone, iPad, Android, e-mail and desktop, but now you can also post audio via your phone.

Automattic founder Matt Mullenweg announced the new feature for WordPress.com earlier today. It’s rather simple: enable “Post by Voice” in your dashboard and you will receive a phone number and a unique code for posting audio from your phone to your blog. You can post up to one hour of audio at a time.

The new feature is powered by Twilio, a cloud-based platform for building communication and voice applications.

The feature isn’t anything revolutionary — Livejournal has supported similar functionality for years. However, it should make for thousands of interesting, late-night posts in the near future. Currently the feature is only available for WordPress.com blogs, but we’d love to see it implemented in the open-source version of WordPress as well.

So now you can post to your WordPress via the web, email, iPhone, Android, Blackberry, desktop clients, and now any telephone in the world. Of course when you post it can be pushed to Facebook, Twitter, and more using the Publicize feature. What more could you want?

WordPress is making it free and allowing recording lengths up to sixty minutes, but that limit may go down without a paid upgrade in the future. Mostly they’re just curious to see how people use this.

Now there is definitely no excuses for people to not start blogging…