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  • It's clear that social media is here to stay, but many businesses are still slow to adopt

  • a strategy on how to best utilize it for marketing. New social networking platforms continue to

  • appear and the existing ones, like Facebook and Twitter, continue to evolve to keep up

  • with the changing market. We have analyzed the current trends in social media and have

  • made some predictions for next year so that you can be ahead of the curve.

  • Investment in Social Media is a Necessity It's already been clear that your business

  • should have a presence on social media, but in the coming year it's absolutely necessary.

  • Integrating social media into your marketing plan is key for generating leads, referrals

  • and brand recognition which in turn leads to higher revenue. Brand awareness, word-of-mouth

  • advertising, improved search rankings, and direct customer interaction are just a few

  • of the key benefits from having engaging social media pages.

  • Google+ is on the Rise Google+ already has the second highest number

  • of monthly users behind Facebook, and that user base continues to rise. It's proving

  • itself to be more than just another social network, with the integration of higher SEO

  • rankings for Google+ pages, improved social signals and a more personalized search experience

  • for users. Also, with the new Google Authorship, You can link content you publish on a specific

  • domain to your Google+ profile. Businesses that are having trouble keeping up with multiple

  • social networks at once could turn to Google+ as their main outlet because of all the benefits

  • associated with content search optimization.

  • Image is Everything We cannot emphasize this enough, but image

  • centric content is key in generating engagement on social media platforms. Many studies show

  • that users are much more likely to click on posts with images or videos than just text-based

  • content. Coupling important information with eye-catching images or graphics is a great

  • way to stand out in the news feed, so do it.

  • The Rise of Micro-Video Vine and Instagram have revolutionized real-time

  • video sharing in social media. With a max of 15 seconds for Instagram and 6 seconds

  • for Vine, users can create short pieces on their smartphones to share instantly with

  • their fans. We've already talked about the many benefits of using these services for

  • small business marketing, so it's only fair that more and more companies will be jumping

  • on the video bandwagon.

  • LinkedIn Will Become a Major Player LinkedIn has always been the #1 social networking

  • site for business professionals, boasting nearly 240 million users, but now with the

  • launch of its Influencers program, it will become a source for content creation and curation.

  • This program allows for selected "thought leaders" to share original content directly

  • with LinkedIn users. Where LinkedIn was already a great source of information, now it will

  • provide insight from some of the best minds in business.

  • Looking ahead to the future is not easy, but if you keep these trends in mind going forward

  • with your social media plan, you should be ahead of the curve.

It's clear that social media is here to stay, but many businesses are still slow to adopt

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