Yellow 3D Hashtag SymbolIn the ever evolving landscape of marketing, it is unsurprising that so many new trends, some more relevant than others, often come and go.

Not all trends that emerge are as useful or as long lasting as others, and with each trend often taking a significant amount of time and effort for marketers to focus on it, it’s vital to know which ones are worth considering in the long term and which should be discarded as a passing fad.

Social media itself was once considered a passing trend by marketers, but today it is one of the foundations of digital marketing, and now has its own emerging trends that must be considered by modern marketers. Here are the 3 key social media trends we recommend modern marketers focus on in 2014:

Social listening

Social media is often referred to as a ‘conversation’, and therefore listening becomes a key component for success in the social conversation.

The act of ‘social listening’ refers to the method of searching for and monitoring conversations that relate to your brand, whether they are directly about your company, about a main competitor, or involve your brand’s keywords. This then allows you to locate new opportunities in your target market and take advantage of them.

Making use of social media listening software is the most effective way to implement social listening strategy, as the software allows you to monitor a much wider scope and create strategies in line with the company’s overall objectives.

Socialmention is a basic but popular free social listening software, ideal for brands on a budget, or for those with more marketing funding to play with Sprout Social or Attensity are excellent paid for tools.
Integrated Social Media

Social media has a variety of different uses in 2014, from driving sales and brand awareness to customer service and issue resolution. For this reason, social media shouldn’t just be relegated to one department who manages everything.

Allowing all departments to have access to social media will make for a better rounded approach. The customer service department can use it to help resolve issues, the HR department can use it to recruit new staff, and the marketing department can use it to promote the brand and drive engagement. Neither of those departments could better handle each task, so leaving all the differing tasks up to one single department could hinder your social media efforts.

Visual Based Strategies

Images are worth a 1,000 words, so it isn’t surprising that visual content is becoming ever more popular. Everything points towards larger visuals and minimal text being the winning combination in future social media marketing strategies, with Facebook and Twitter redesigning their platforms to display larger visuals and social media audiences reacting best to eye-catching visual content.

Visual posts have been shown to attract more click-throughs and engagement than any other post form, due to their short, snappy, attention grabbing approach to getting the message across.

Videos are also growing in popularity, but the shorter the better is the common ingredient for success, as people like to take in the information as speedily as possible in today’s fast paced society.
There is a wealth of different social media marketing trends out there to chose from, and the ones that work best for you may depend on the business you are marketing and their unique target audience.