In 2012, Twitter and Pinterest rose to prominence, and Facebook bought Instagram and went public. In 2013, Twitter released Vine and went public, Google+ starting gaining traction, and SnapChat turned down a $3 billion offer from Facebook. What will 2014 bring?
1. Google+, Google+, Google+
2014 is going to be all about Google+. Why? For one, Google+ now has more than 300 million active monthly users. That’s more than LinkedIn, more than Pinterest. And, unlike Facebook, which makes you pay to ensure your friends and followers see your posts, Google+ shows ALL of your posts to ALL of your followers … for free! Not only that, but Google+ is tightly integrated with Google search, which means social media and SEO are more closely linked than ever before. In layman’s terms, if you want your site to show up high in Google searches, get active on Google+. Start by buying Guy Kawasaki’s What the Plus!, an easy-to-use guidebook on how to get the most out of Google+ (The first step is to make sure your posts are going to the Public and not just your Circles, a mistake I discovered I’d been making for months!)
2. Ephemeral Apps
2014 will be the year of the vanishing post. After SnapChat CEO Evan Spiegel turned down a $3 billion deal from Facebook, SnapChat became all the rage. SnapChat and its clones Confide, Wink, Clipchat, InstaSnap, Meatspace, and many, many more will allow users to send texts, photos, videos, and animated gifs to friends in privacy, with the confidence that those posts will then vanish, not be archived for the world to view in the days and months to come.
With more than 645 million users, Twitter is the third largest social network in the U.S. after Facebook and YouTube, and the number one social network used by teens. We’ll be seeing more sponsored tweets in 2014, and more celebrities accepting money to tweet posts to their followers, but Twitter still will be one of the hottest social networks of 2014.
4. Visual Apps
Everyone loves photos. Of the top 10% of most engaging posts in a random sampling of 5000 Facebook pages taken last year, 93% were photos. Only 3% were status updates or links, and 2% were videos. Instagram, owned by Facebook, is the second most popular social network used by teens, with 23% of the marketshare. Pinterest, also visual, is the seventh most popular social network in the U.S, with 70 million users. SnapChat is quickly catching up with an estimated 50 million users, and Days, a new app designed to allow you to group your photos in 24-hour periods to create a visual diary is gaining in popularity. 2013 was the year of the visual app, and that trend will continue throughout 2014.
5. Video Apps
YouTube, owned by Google, is the second largest social network in the world with 1 billion users. Vine, owned by Twitter, has 40 million users, and we’ll be seeing an upswing in other video apps in 2014, like Instagram Video and newcomers like Viddy.
Keep an eye on this new blogging platform launched last year by Blogger and Twitter co-founder Evan Williams. It’s no substitute for your own blog, but it’s a great place to expand your audience by blogging about topics that aren’t necessarily relevant to your brand. It’s also a great way to find interesting content about a wide range of topics.
Although Facebook isn’t the cool kid on the block anymore, it’s still the most ubiquitous social network in the world, with more than 1.3 billion users (That’s 18% of the entire world population!) Unfortunately, I’ve noticed a dramatic drop in the number of followers who see my non-promoted posts—from about 16% to 4%—in the last couple of months. In other words, if I don’t pay hard cash to promote a post on my Facebook Page, only about 80 of my 2025 followers see it. In 2014, that number will decrease even further, and those of us with professional pages will have to pay for every post we want viewed. The solution? Use your personal page for daily posts. Use your professional page only for posts worth paying for…and get active on Google+!
With 259 million users, LinkedIn is still the number one social network for doing business. Post your resume there, upload letters of reference. You'll be happy you did the next time you're looking for a job.
A few networks to keep an eye on in 2014: Pose, an app for fashionistas; Kleek, an app that lets you build a private social network within Facebook; RunKeeper, an app to track your workouts; Ghost, a beautiful new blogging platform; and NextDoor, a social network for neighbors.
What about you? What is your favorite social network? Which of these new networks entice you the most?