Social media has emerged as a game changer for brands across the globe. Many have seen the impact that social can have on their company, yet are still having challenges demonstrating ROI, consistently producing content and allocating resources (both human and financial).

According to research conducted by Adobe, social media marketing will become the true opportunity for business growth in the next three years. With this thought in mind, it is important to understand that social media is still maturing and evolving rapidly with time. What’s new today, will be old news tomorrow. Which is why it is equally important to focus on developing trends and future opportunities. With thorough research, here are my four social media marketing trends to lookout for.

Necessary Investment
There is no longer a question of rather if one should invest in social media for most brands. We understand it is where prospects, consumers and communities reside alike. People expect to find their favorite brands online, and if not, you immediately lose image rating with your potential customer. In 2014, social media will be a necessary investment and, the cost of relevancy and meeting consumer expectations.

Instagram will get private messaging
The key feature missing from Instagram is private messaging. Every photo and conversation is public, which forces users to utilize other platforms to hold private conversations. Which also makes it challenging for brands to implement customer service for securing information. In 2014, I’ll be looking for Facebook to address the problem and launch private messaging for Instagram.

The Year of Twitter
Natively for business use, Twitter has always been a high level platform for organic lead generation, customer service and research & development. Now with Twitter being a public company it puts them in the limelight for both appraisal and scrutiny. Facebook has fallen to Twitter, among US teens, in the preferred social network. I predict Twitter’s business use and advertising platform will enhance as they take advantage of the spotlight.

The Rise of Vine
Micro video content is on the rise. Vine saw 403% growth between Q1 and Q3 of this year, making it the world’s fastest growing. As an active user of Vine, I have witnessed brands and people I never heard of before rise to stardom. Vine shows no signs of slowing down and there are so many opportunities to innovate and explore on the platform for business use. If picture tell a thousand words, videos tell a million.

Search Goes Social
Google+ is making itself harder to ignore in 2014. Brands who want to place comfortable in search results will have to start utilizing Google+ to gain edge over competing ranks. The platform continues to innovate adding google hangouts to the mix and more innovation is sure to follow. As depicted in the screenshot below, Google will use SEO optimizers as part of their strategic growth in other areas.

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