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.

Happy New Year VIDEO message from Marc Accetta

Happy New Year VIDEO Message from Marc Accetta

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….

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.”

“The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine

This is a quote that I had not heard about until I met my very good friend Wayne Nugent, Co-Owner of WorldVentures.  I have been very blessed to come across WorldVentures through Marc Accetta being their Director of Training.  I’ve seen amazing places throughout the world.

As I am sitting here writing this, my girlfriend and I just got back from an amazing trip out to Ocho Rios, Jamaica.  She had never visited any of the islands in the Carribbean Sea nor Jamaica so it was such a thrill for me to be able to give her that first gift of experiencing walking along the sea and putting her feet in the sand and just creating those great memories for her and for both of us.

I still remember when I was small my dad getting me this book that had all these pictures of islands and various places throughout the world and just explaining a bit about them and why go there.  Growing up we really didn’t take that many vaccations, most vacations were that of visiting family throughout Texas.  And it wasn’t until after I graduated high school that I got to do a bit more traveling while playing with the bands I was with.  I still remember my first trip to Vegas and just being amazed that everyone was always awake 24/7 or so it seemed to me, I honestly thought that the Lion at MGM Grand was made of 24 karat gold.  LOL, but I feel truly blessed that my parents always would let me dream big and never put limitations on how crazy I would think.  I was never told that I couldn’t do anything.  Not that I was spoiled and given everything I ever asked for, but they taught me that I could acquire whatever I wanted through hard work and persistence.  I feel blessed to have such great parents in my life and through their actions also show me that anything was possible.   I want to go back and look for that book…because I feel that everything happens for a reason.  God placed me right where I needed to be at the exact time in order to experience life at its fullest.   I just wanted to write a quick blog to let everyone know that EVERYONE should travel and create great memories with your friends, families and those that are special in your life…Here’s some videos of the places I’ve been lucky enough to visit….make sure and check out my YouTube page at http://www.youtube.com/monicoperez.  Let me know some other places that you’ve visited to that perhaps I haven’t gotten a chance to visit.  I’d love to know!

Let me know what are some of your favorite places that you’ve been to…

The dust has finally settled a bit…

Are you ready for an event that you cannot explain…We just completed A View from the Edge for WorldVentures. Combining theatrics & special effects, with educational concepts, with personal growth and development lessons toss in some amazing lighting and energetic music and you get one of them most amazing events you’ll ever experience. With close to 3,000 people in attendance we kicked off things with a high exciting note on Friday night, with all of the attendees arriving in their limos, walking down the red carpet as the excitement and anticipation filled the arena. Once the show hit the road with our first video opener…it was no looking back from that point on. The owners came out and announced WorldVentures Top 20 Income Earners and Marc Accetta came out and gave a intense, up in your face message that just gave everyone an idea of what they could expect for the weekend. And the rest of the weekend was just that amazing lesson after amazing lesson. Marc Accetta brings forth to the industry what no one else can do, his unique method of delivering the information that he uses and shares with people has helped him to be one of the most sought out after speakers in the Personal Growth arena.

We really spent a countless amount of hours preparing for this year, with various presentations, new characters and also various special effects that we hadn’t used in the past, we really had to have our game faces on the entire weekend. After the first night of the event, you could just tell that the excitement had filled the room, people’s faces would light up and you could see the level of appreciation they had for being there and having their fellow teammates there. The Corporate Team of Mike Azcue, Wayne Nugent, Robert Oblon, Mike Conway & Dan Stammen also came forth with some exciting announcements throughout the weekend including some brand new compensation plan upgrades, a new state of the art back office and a unbelievable donation to Big Brother Big Sister of North Texas.
Now one thing that I get asked over and over again, is how do we choose the music that we play, and it is definitely time consuming going thru tons of songs to find the right one to use at a specific moment. Of course the main theme of the entire weekend is, “Life Will Never Be The Same”, which is also the chorus of “Life”, by Haddaway. Another great song that we used in one of our videos was, “Love Can Move Mountains”, by Celine Dion. There are also several other songs that I’ve previously listed that we’ve used, Don’t Stop Believing, Magic, Crazy by Seal, Son of Man and many others that deliver great messages and in fact I had listed some of them in one of my previous posts from Journey. But as far as the dance songs that I used for the event, one of the songs I used over and over because of the energy and hype was Bob Sinclair’s, “Rock This Party” which is a great song to use for any event, others I used were Cupid Shuffle, Fantasy, Peter Gunn Theme Song, Usher’s famous Yeah, Don’t Stop till you get enough, Get This Party Started, Soak up the Sun, Perfect Day, I need to know. I mean there’s just so many songs that I could stay here all day just listing songs but it is truly the fun part of my job when I can play a song and everyone gets into it and they are excited and just having a blast.

I hope everyone enjoys these couple of videos from the View and we hope to see you next year…