4 Social Media Trends You Can’t Ignore in 2014

Online businesses are realizing in 2013 that social media is the message, which is creating a major shift in marketing towards social media engagement. Businesses are learning that building an online community through social media is the key to nurturing and converting sales leads. Social media is not a place for direct sales and is more suited for developing leads than sending traffic to your online hubs for landing pages.

Content Marketing Google+ is attracting a significant following now that the "+1" button plays an important role in Google's search rankings. While Facebook and Twitter have popularized fun and flippant short comments, Google's social network is designed for deeper engagement of shared interests. It is more suited for business and education interactivity, although Facebook and more personalized social networks still offer advantages to businesses.

Part of what makes Google+ more business friendly, is that it encourages you to meet new friends online, whereas Facebook wants users to focus on adding existing friends. Telling your story on social networks helps point traffic to your website's landing pages. Optimizing your website with +1 and "Facebook like boxes" helps connect your content with social media. Optimizing for mobile users is also gaining importance.

Visual Content Regardless of which social network is most meaningful to your business, research is showing that posting images with content helps increase interactivity with followers. More people are likely to share your post and add comments if they see a visually attractive high resolution image. One of the reasons for this trend is that people scroll through newsfeeds full of posts looking for something that catches their eye. People don't have time to read every post of every friend every day so they gravitate toward images and info graphics, which have a much higher retention level than text.

Author Ranking A trustworthy authorshipcan make you claim to fame and build your brand image. To get a higher author ranking, you must create a genuine, valuable and conversational content on social media platforms.And most important is the engagement factor -you have to keep the content alive by making more and more people responding to it, commenting and sharing it.

Social Outsourcing Since social media is becoming so popular and important with business, you may want to outsource workers who can spend quality time engaging with your online followers. Business owners are finding that social media requires responding to many individual posts in a personalized manner. Salesforce.com and oDesk.com provide outsourcing opportunities.

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Ajay Prasad

Ajay Prasad is the Founder and President of GMR Web Team, a leading healthcare digital marketing agency. He guides small and medium size healthcare practices/businesses in customizing their online marketing strategy, focused on building a loyal base of patients and improving their patient acquisition. Ajay believes in an improved patient experience as the key to successful healthcare business, which can be accomplished with the right marketing plan in place.