Social media trends and predictions for 2014 

By now, your business should be on social media. If you’re not using it, you’re lucky to still be in business in 2014. I’m going to share some predictions for social media in 2014 and how to get in the game before you go extinct.

Google+ is the biggest social media network you’ve never heard of – that you can’t remember using – and that impacts you almost every day. If Google results show a contact is in several circles or include a photo of the author, you’re seeing the impact of Google+ on your search. If you search for a business and you see a photo, map, hours, directions and ratings on the right side, you’re seeing the result of Google+. At the very least, complete your business profile on Google+. Better still, invite your customers to review you there so you rank higher in searches.

Paid advertising via social media will be the best way for your business to reach ideal customers. Your customers are on social, whether you’re interacting with them or not. And liking your page is no longer reaching them like it used to. I’ve seen at least a 50 percent dip in people seeing my clients’ updates, and an even greater dip in actual clicks and shares. What I am seeing is an increase in sponsored posts from my friends showing up in my feed, and if my friends like something I do, I am clicking and sharing that.

Your website will need to be filled with content that’s even more remarkable in order to get the attention of your audience. Got a blog yet? In 2014 it will be imperative because social media platforms keep changing their rules in order to make more money, and you will need to focus back on your website and its content. Case studies, customer success stories, videos, infographics and articles with pictures will help keep your customers’ attention and time on your site.

— Phil Gerbyshak is vice president of sales and marketing at Milwaukee-based

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