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6 social media trends for 2014

Smartphones are the most important factor in their use and expansion

  • Key4Communications

The following six trends in the use of social media are already important and we consider that they are very likely to remain so over the coming months. Most of these trends are especially boosted by mobile devices, which are promoting the use and growth of social networks.

1. Social media to grow in corporations
More companies admit the benefits of social networks and most are increasing actions and budget allocated to these new media. In addition, these actions will not be done by just one single person, but will be generalized within the company. In fact 93% of marketers already use social networks and job offers demanding social media skills grew 89% last year in the U.S.

The use of corporate social networks such as Yammer and Jive will also grow. They are similar to the intranets we had ten years ago, but they have the structure of social networks. Their goal: to increase communication within the companies, which is especially important considering that more and more employees work from home or from other cities.

And we should not forget Linkedin - more than 225 million users and two new accounts opened every second. It is the major network with the least active users (Twitter, Facebook and Google + are updated more often), but it is becoming the reference when looking for professionals and establishing a network of contacts.

2. Local to go social
SoLoMo is still a good summary of how social networks spreads - they are social, local and mobile. The local side will also continue to grow, thanks especially to outlets that are using more strategies to increase their presence in social media, either through the use of daily deals, of geolocation tools, or of classic social networks such as Twitter, Facebook and particularly Pinterest.

3. Social networks will influence e-commerce even more
This increase of local businesses will also help social networks to influence the purchasing process. Social media users will continue not only to discuss products and services but also to explain where and how they acquired them. Currently 46% of consumers check out social networks when seeking information and reviews before making a purchase.

4. New networks will appear. In our smartphones
New social networks aimed at young people are emerging and growing, as is the case of Snapchat and Vine, which are mainly used through smartphones to send images or videos. Snapchat also has the advantage that the messages and photos are deleted after a few seconds.

The presence of these and other similar networks will continue to grow, which is not surprising when we consider that 73% of U.S. smartphone owners use their phones to connect to a social network at least once a day, and 189 million Facebook users only enter the network via a mobile device.

Indeed, our phones are almost an extension of our body - 25% of smartphone owners between 18 and 44 do not remember the last time they did not have their phones next to them.

5. Networks are not only for young people

Yes, these new networks are aimed at young people who are leaving Facebook. But they are leaving Facebook precisely because their parents are there.

The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket. (79% in the last year). Facebook users between 45 and 54 increased by 46%.

The main factor in this universalization of social networks has been, again, mobile devices: the increased use of smartphones and tablets has made it much more common and easy to access all online content, including social networks, where we spend most of our online time. Yes, more than with porn.

6. The second screen will complement TV contents
We see TV with our phones or tablet in hand, and we use these devices primarily to search additional information ("where have I seen this actor before?") or to comment through social networks on the content we are watching.

Broadcasters and companies such as Google and Amazon are already launching second screen apps. These apps allow capturing content, sharing it, commenting on it and even voting and participating.
Also, we should not forget that networks are a source of content - Youtube reaches more young Americans between 18 and 34 years than any cable channel.

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