7 Social Media Trends for Marketers: New Research

social media researchAre you wondering what the latest social media trends are for marketers?

Want to make sure you don’t miss out on the next trend in social media?

Fresh from the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report (which surveyed 2,800+ marketers), this article will highlight some of the newest social media trends faced by marketers.

social media trends for marketers

Here’s what you need to know from the latest social media research.

Latest Research Reveals Social Media Trends

Not surprisingly, the use of visual content (infographics and memes) is set to increase over the next year—70% of marketers plan on increasing their use of these content forms.

Speaking of infographics, here’s one that illustrates some key findings from the survey:

social media examiner marketing trends infographic

Social media marketing trends for 2014.

Here is emebed code for this infographic:
<a href="http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-trends/" target="_blank"><img alt="social media examiner marketing trends infographic" src="http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/pr-sme-infographic-2014-480px.jpg" width="480" height="2800" /></a> Social media marketing trends for 2014 from <a href="http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/social-media-trends/" target="_blank">Social Media Examiner.</a>

Let’s take a deeper look at some key findings from the survey.

#1: The Written Word Rules

Over half of the marketers (58%) surveyed chose original written content as their most important form of social media content, followed at a distance by original visual assets (19%) and original videos (12%).

original written content statistics

Marketers were asked to select the most important form of content for their business.

Key Considerations:

For marketers who have something valuable to share—like industry insight or compelling information (e.g., the Social Media Marketing Industry Report)—written content works brilliantly and provides an opportunity for true thought leadership.

LinkedIn understands the power of the written word and that’s why they opened up their publishing platform to all members in February of this year.

As a content marketer, that should make you jump for joy. Now you can really leverage LinkedIn’s core strengths: lead generation opportunities and direct access to decision makers.

But access to this new platform doesn’t mean you should migrate from your blog to LinkedIn. Instead, use LinkedIn to complement your brand’s message.

On LinkedIn, you blog as an individual rather than as thecompany voice.” That means you can tailor your message to be more opinionated and insightful, and less corporate. In fact, it’s a bad idea to copy and paste articles from your company blog to LinkedIn.

#2: Blogging Biggest Area for Increase

Blogging has become increasingly important to social media marketers—68% of marketers plan to increase their future use of blogging. In fact, over the last two years, the importance of blogging has incrementally climbed from the number-four spot in 2012 to number three in 2013 to number one in 2014.

blogging statistics

Marketers were asked how they planned to change their future blogging activities.

Key Considerations:

As you think about your future blogging activities, consider the biggest challenge of blogging: There’s too much content out there that’s not being read.

Earlier this year, Mark Schaefer stoked the fire of the old “information overload” debate in his highly controversial post, Content Shock. The gist of the article is that just because you have a blog doesn’t mean people will read it.

I believe Marcus Sheridan has the best answer to this problem: Be more opinionated.

“Too many businesses are stuck in this ‘grey area’ where they’re so afraid of having any opinion at all because they want to please everyone. As a result their blogs stink and they don’t get any traction.”—Epic Content Marketing, (p. 62).

If you’re not causing people to raise their eyebrows, you’re not going to make it big in blogging.

#3: Google+ Tops Marketers’ Interest Lists

When asked what social media platform they wanted to master, 65% of marketers said Google+, displacing blogging, which took the top spot in 2013. The first runner-up this year was LinkedIn with 57% of marketers.

google plus statistics

Google+ takes first place as the social media platform marketers want most to learn about.

Key Considerations:

Many people say Google+ is a waste of time and nobody uses it, but there are a few reasons marketers should think differently about Google+.

According to a new Forrester report (The Case for Google Plus), Google+ has more monthly active users than you think (about 540 million). With those numbers, you can build a really solid follower base on Google+. In fact, some top brands have 90% as many fans on Google+ as they do on Twitter.

Google authorship is another reason Google+ is important. When authors link their Google+ profile with content they’ve written and published, that content is given Google authorship markup. This helps articles stand out because Google displays the author’s picture with the article title in search results, which encourages more clicks.

While stats may tell us users spend more time on Facebook than Google+, have you thought about the upside to that? Less time equals less noise. It’s hard to cut through the clutter on Facebook, but since that’s not a problem on Google+, you can get much more engagement when you share high-quality content on a regular basis.

There’s also a compelling link between email marketing and Google+. When you send email to people or businesses that use a personal Gmail account or Gmail for business account, Google gives your brand prime real estate on the right side of the page.

Take a look at this email newsletter I received from NY&Co. Notice their Google+ profile branding on the right side of my opened email.

ny&co email google plus integration

When integrated with email marketing, Google+ provides more branding opportunities for your business.

Your email subscribers have the opportunity to follow your company on Google+ right from their email account! Notice, too, that the Gmail–Google+ integration shows your recent posts right next to the opened email. That helps drive more views to your Google+ posts.

#4: Tactics Are Top Challenge

The burning question for the vast majority (91%) of marketers is, “What social tactics work best?” This is followed closely by 89% of marketers who wanted to know, “What is the best way to engage audiences with social media?” These are valid questions, considering the constant changes across social media platforms.

istock image 25591983 social media sign post

As social channels change, tactics and engagement remain big challenges for marketers. Image: iStockPhoto.com.

Key Considerations:

A couple of years ago, I attended Content Marketing World, where Jay Baer informed us that to get his attention on social media, we had to be more interesting than his wife!

Seth Godin put it this way: “If people aren’t talking about you, there’s a reason—youre boring.” Ouch!! But point made.

I believe questions like “What tactics should we use?” or “How do we ramp up social media engagement?” are secondary to the main question: “How can we be more interesting so people want to engage with us?”

If you’re not interesting to begin with, it doesn’t matter what tactics or platforms you use, nobody will engage with your brand.

When you’ve found a way to capture people’s interest, then you can start to think about how to encourage more Facebook engagement or how to build on other established social media relationships.

#5: Social ROI Remains a Mystery

Measuring social media ROI remains murky and elusive for marketers. Only 37% are able to measure their social activities (compared to 26% in 2013), while 35% aren’t sure and 28% can’t measure it at all.

social media roi statistics

To what extent do marketers agree that they’re able to measure social media ROI?

Key Considerations:

The confusion about social media ROI isn’t new. However, the inability to measure overall social media results doesn’t mean there’s a problem with a particular channel. It just means that marketers aren’t going about it the right way.

From the very beginning of your campaign, set things up so data are clearly defined, available and measurable.

One of the easiest ways to do this is to ask your fans and followers to do something specific (i.e., provide a clear call to action) and then track their responses (e.g., email signups, downloads or shares).

That doesn’t mean you should ignore metrics like reach or engagement, but for many marketers those metrics don’t always provide a clear path to sales and revenue.

So if you’re tired of pulling your hair out over social media ROI, try keeping it simple by asking your fans to perform ONE simple, measurable action.

What do you think? What are your thoughts on this latest social media marketing research? Do the findings reflect your own experiences? Have you had different results with your social media marketing? Let us know in the comments!

Images from iStockPhoto.

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About the Author, Patricia Redsicker

Patricia Redsicker writes research reviews for Social Media Examiner. She is the Social Media Manager at US Pharmacopeia, a public standards setting organization. Follow her on Twitter at @predsicker. Other posts by »




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  • Pingback: Social Media Trends for Digital Marketers | Engagement Engine

  • Everypost

    Great insights! I definitely agree the biggest challenge of blogging is making your voice heard in the vast sea of online content. A good strategy is to create two blogs, one “company blog” and one from the voice of an individual in your business, such as the CEO. We’re running our company blog on our website and a blog on behalf of our CEO on Medium, which is a great platform for more opinionated content.

  • http://cindyking.biz/ Cindy King

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Dawn Anglicas

    Great article. It’s interesting what you say about blogging. I recently took part in a survey of thousands of mums across Australia and the one area that was on the decrease is reading blogs. Pinterest however is building momentum for uses of product catalogues, new launches and home/garden trades.

  • http://www.hoodaki.com/ Dilip

    Yeah Patricia Redsicker, I am really agree with your topic title. today social media trends are most valuable for marketing scenario.

  • http://www.workreadplay.com Bryan Collins

    If you write compelling original content and use Google authorship, it’s easier to achieve organic rankings and appear on the first page of Google.

    Social ROI is harder to track, but Ted Rubin always says social media is about getting a returns on relationships rather than investments.

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  • Ted Rubin

    Thanks for the mention Bryan :-)

  • http://www.allsorts-online.com/blog/ Allsorts

    It would be interesting to break down these trends by industry, since different platforms and different kinds of content work better for businesses marketing to individuals than businesses marketing to other businesses.

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  • predsicker

    Hi Dawn. Thanks so much for reading and for sharing your feedback. I think the demographics of participants surveyed in this study were a little different from yours. For sure Pinterest is very popular with moms, even here in the U.S. But blogging continues to be an incredibly valuable tool for both large and small businesses.

  • predsicker

    Thanks for reading Dilip :)

  • predsicker

    He’s a smart guy :)

  • http://howbritseesit.wordpress.com Brittany Shaffer

    This is really encouraging. Thanks for sharing this. Sometimes I get really frustrated with social marketing and I feel like it’s hard to measure how well I’m doing and how it’s helping my clients grow, but this gives me hope that I’m not the only one feeling like this and I just need to look at trying to find smarter ways to do things.

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  • http://lanarichards.com Lana Richards

    Thanks for the insightful article, Patricia! Lots of great content marketing takeaways here. I was encouraged by the findings on written content vs. other forms. All the buzz about audio and video being the formats of the future was beginning to make me wonder if my preference for written content (both as a consumer and a publisher) was showing my age. I probably am, but this research is reassuring. :) I agree with one of the other readers who pointed out that it would be interesting to see these findings broken down by industry, or at least B2B vs. B2C.

  • predsicker

    I’m glad you’re encouraged by this report Brittany. I can tell you that reading this blog will certainly help you to find smarter ways of executing and measuring social media :)

  • serkan

    good article but not beileving to Facebook Ads 90% using marketers !

  • Online Marketeering

    Patricia, I have to agree that blogging(creating Original Creative Content) is the way to go. Even though Pinterest is growing, we wouldn’t be able to pin much if we didn’t have content(blogs, infographs, etc.) to pin.

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  • Fabienne Raphael

    Hi Patricia,

    What a great way to summarize what is going on right now, on social media, especially for marketers. Your article is also a very useful way to see if what we use for our business follows the trends, is behind or ahead of its time.

    I totally agree with you when you say that you need to be interesting. Enough to capture people’s attention, enough for them to register to your blog or your email list, enough to create emotions, enough to make them remember you or talk about you to their family
    and peers.

    You want people to join your email list, you want them to do business with, and you want
    them to buy your products. Those same people are “bombarded” every day with ads, television, magazines, brochures, pictures, etc. You really need a way to be unique, so people can pay attention to you.

    If we take, for example, Seth Godin’s blog: his writing is sharp and very profound. You can’t read a post and just forget about it. It makes you introspect, it makes
    you think, and it might even surprise you. But it is impactful. Plus, he doesn’t really write long blog posts like others. For all of these reasons, he is different, unique, and make people pay attention to what he has to say.

  • http://www.aquahabitat.com/ Spring Creek Aquatic Concepts

    It may also be that blogs don’t look like “traditional” blogs these days. They are very cleverly disguised as websites. Blogs will never vanish as long as they have value to SERPS and remain the backend of facebook, google+, pinterest et al.

    Hook ‘em with the headlines/photos and their interest will always be reeled in via the blog. It’s here to stay for a while!

  • http://www.aquahabitat.com/ Spring Creek Aquatic Concepts

    Interesting concept, but we have so many “greenies” in our following that if we shoved the actual science in their faces, their largely emotional minds would reject us. Humans really are not rational creatures. ;)

  • sri

    well written article

  • Pingback: 7 Social Media Marketing Trends for 2014 - Webmentum - Mobile, Social Media and Online Marketing | Webmentum - Mobile, Social Media and Online Marketing

  • Tony

    Honestly, with all the fancy graphics and “research” reporting, there is nothing in this article that would lead me to believe that social media marketing generates a single penny of revenue.

    You can get “exposure”, a “follower base”, “engage your audience” and a host of other things that encourage communication, but there is not a single testimonial about the degree to which any company can expect to spend X dollars of social media marketing effort to generate Y dollars of sales revenue.

    This has been the dilemma about social media marketing from day 1, and point #5 in this article says it all: “Social ROI Remains a Mystery”.

  • Kyah

    The information was nicely put together. Many people have experience with social media and using it for marketing is a smart idea. Thank you for your useful information.

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  • Moi Bagadiong

    the point of social media marketing is to get “influencers” to “influence” potential customers. You can always do some analytics just to see if there’s enough conversion. The cost MUST always match the amount of conversions, if it does not, you fail. There must always be strategy to achieve great ROI. Read up on some great marketing materials and you’d see that social media is a beast of a marketing platform. This article is a basic overview but there’s some complex stuff out there!

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  • Sofhia Thomas

    Great Post Patrica. I also agree to your point that Facebook Ads are more profitable than Twitter and LinkedIn. Integra Web Services assisted me in setting up ads campaign in Facebook and I must say that I am getting a great conversion ratio. Hope there are few more companies too that offer effective services for social media ads.

  • brandlabsmedia

    This is a very insightful article. Thanks for sharing. I am particularly pleased that you made mention about the difficulty for measuring social media ROI. I am equally pleased that you shared a few tips about further engaging the social media reader to become a participant of the conversations, just as you did with your request for us [the reader] to post comments.

  • IdiocyAbounds

    lol. No they are not. They tend to make almost all decisions based on emotions, usually emotions based on incorrect information…but you will never convince them of that.

  • Creatives corner

    Great insights !!! Thank you for sharing. ;)







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