It's a new year! What a great year 2013 was...but I'm even more excited to see what 2014 brings! 

As to be expected, technology is likely to keep us on our toes this year again. And it can be difficult to know which trends are here to stay and which of those are exactly as they say, "trends". I am going to go over some predictions for the Online and Social Media Marketing world for 2014 in this blog that will help us figure out which routes we should take and where our time and money will be best spent.

1. Mobile Is Going Mainstream
Every website needs to be optimized for mobile. This means having responsive design and thinking about how people interact with your business via mobile devices should be one of your top priorities. As a small business it's time to make the switch to a mobile site if you haven't yet, and think about ways that you can get in front of your customers through their phone. This includes Mobile Apps, SMS, and emails that are designed to be viewed on your cellular phone.

2. Blogging Will Remain The #1 Way To Generate New Business
Creating great content on a regular basis and driving traffic back to your site is going to remain the number #1 way to generate new leads. This means as a small business, if you don't have a blog yet, it's time to start one. 

3. Spammy Content Will Be Eliminated Everywhere
We've seen it happen on Google and now it's happening on Facebook. Spammy content is not going to get you anywhere, and the big sites are cracking down. Think about creating valuable content that resonates with your customers.

4. Google Plus Will Grow Faster Than Ever
G+ is a social network I have personally been struggling with maintaining. I hear everywhere just how big it's becoming but I'm just not seeing what everyone else is. However, with the search benefits from Google and the increased user base, it's likely that your audience will be making the move from Facebook to G+. Being a step ahead of the game is a good idea. Plus, they are about to launch promoted posts (+Post ads) that will get your content to a larger audience than ever before. 

5. Ambassadors And Influencers Will Hold The Power
Influencer marketing and word-of-mouth marketing is going to be one of the most powerful ways to get in front of customers in a new way. By empowering your best customers to spread the word for you, you can gain trust in a new audience and hopefully turn them into new customers.

6. Image-Centric Sites Will Continue To Rise
Instagram, Pinterest and probably many more sites will come about in 2014 that are based around images. While text is not dead, you need to think of ways to incorporate images into your strategy that compliment your written context.

7. Video Consumption Will Increase
Whether it's an educational video or an ad, consumers will look to video content to learn about businesses. Video will continue to build meaningful relationships between business and consumer. Also, keep in mind that many times they will be watching this video on their mobile phone (You know what that means - refer to #1 above).

8. Sharing Will Be More Important Than Ever
Social media sharing will be get ramped up and everyone and their mother will be doing it. While this is a good thing for getting your content shared, it also presents challenges to get found. The key here is to communicate to your customer directly and relevantly. It will also be great for helping your search rankings.

9. Marketing Will Be About Adding Value
It's no longer about pushing yourself out there, it's about how you provide value to your customer that matters. Whether this is through blogging, video, or email marketing, in order for people to stay engaged, they have to perceive value.


2014 is bound to be an exciting year. Be sure to stay on top of as many of these exciting Social Media trends and Online Marketing trends as you possibly can to ensure your exsistence online and help boost sales and connections with your customers.