While leading a forum on Social Media in Sioux City this week at the Siouxland Chamber of Commerce, I was asked what social media are most recognized and used here.
It’s a great question, actually, because while the topic was not Sioux City social media trends, it was indeed relevant as most local companies want to know how their customers are using social to reach both each other and new customers.
So what is popular here?
- Facebook is still popular here, especially among the much-targeted demos from 20-60. Teens are, in this market as everywhere, slowly moving their discussions to Twitter.
- The use of Twitter in Sioux City continues to grow, and we are seeing many new faces emerge where the past has been mostly populated with socially connected businesses, young people and early adopters.
- More businesses are recognizing the importance of using video to tell stories and improve search engine showing.
So what other trends and social media predictions do we have for 2014? Plenty – but here are just a few.
Google + will finally get its due. Emerging as a design cross between Facebook and Pinterest, the social sharing capabilities and tools such as Hangouts are finally attracting more than tech lovers and uber-connected socialites. The network truly could blossom if Facebook continues to wane in the coming year.
Twitter continues to grow. While this might not seem like news, it’s catching fire for a couple reasons. First, teens are finally realizing that their parents aren’t going to stalk them on this network, and have taken to it in force. Second, the IPO will have huge ramifications for the blue bird. Done right, capital infusion should equate to greater innovation, and additionally more outside interest by startups to create tools that drive the Twitter world. Think: “The next Instagram or Vine.” But time will tell. Often companies with an undefined revenue model struggle to appease shareholders if they don’t figure out ways to increase cash flow quickly.
Pinterest goes global. It may not seem like a big deal in our market, but for the big P as a whole, this is big news. Another big factor – users are spending an increasing amount of time on the site, and they account for a significant amount or retail sales. That’s what matters to companies, and it’s likely why the network that started in 2010 landed $225 million in funding recently. Also, they recently released their APIs, which gives companies new abilities to feature and share the most-pinned content on their own web sites. Thanks to David at Blaze Content for the tip on APIs.
Instagram and photo dominance. It’s no secret that photographs are the oil that lubes the social machine these days. Everyone is a photographer, it seems. So it wasn’t going to be long before the beloved filter-rich photo network turned to advertising to pay the bills. The company is walking a fine line as social users are not friendly to ads or the companies behind them. That being said, the network is still as popular as ever, and with the introduction of video this year, it’s taken on a whole new dimension. Photo and video sharing are here to stay, and that’s a good thing, as long as those ads don’t get too intrusive. Which leads us to …
Vinecasting and the 6-second film: Now everyone’s a cinematographer. Well, not really. But short-form video is here, and there are plenty of creative ways that brands are using the medium. This is a network that will continue to blossom in the coming year.
Mobile money: One of the biggest growth areas for consumers in 2014 will be with digital and app-driven payment systems. Iowa’s Dwolla already is changing the way people pay for retail items and tickets, with its 25 cent transaction fee. But technology such as BitCoin and many others will be vying for access to your wallet in the coming year. Not comfortable with digital cash? Innovations such as Coin might be more to your liking. Either way, financial organization and monetary exchange will be big in the headlines next year.
And we didn’t even get time to mention Augmented Reality. That’s another blog post.
What trends are you seeing? What’s the next Snapchat? What apps do you love most? Share a comment below.