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6 Social Media Marketing Tips for 2014

eMarketer predicts that 2014 may be the “year of social” as more businesses are budgeting for paid social media advertising and social networks are providing better ad targeting. The market research company estimates that in 2014, 88% of US marketers using social media for marketing.

However, most small to medium sized businesses (SMBs) are not well prepared to market effectively on social media. Many accounts lie abandoned while others are full of unread updates.

Let’s remedy that situation this year. Here is a look at six tips you can implement to improve your social media presence this year, and take advantage of the promotional opportunities that social platforms provide. Which ones will you focus on in 2014?

• Get on Board with Google+ Local

Google has been pushing users of its other services towards Google+ membership. It has been a great success on their end. When Google+ first came onto the scene, it was declared a “ghost town” and marketers across the country predicted its early decline. The opposite has happened: Google+ has overtaken Twitter in membership, making it second only to Facebook.

Google+ now boasts an audience waiting for great content. Of course that’s not the only reason to join Google+. Joining the platform with a Google+ Local page ensures that your business is listed in the Google+ Local—the number one directory on the Internet—and in its corresponding mobile application.

From an SEO standpoint, Google+ Local is a must.

• Go Where Your Customers Are

Social media is now the number one activity on the web. With that in mind, it is little wonder that consumers are coming to expect businesses to have a social media presence. So, is your company on social media?

In the past, businesses have claimed that social media is not for them because their target audience does not use social media. This may be the case. However, almost all demographics in the United States now use social media.

New Facebook users are primarily people aged 35 and older, while teens are migrating from Facebook to platforms like Instagram and Vine. Chances are your customers aren’t using the same platforms they used two years ago. It’s time for your business to take a second look at social to determine which sites are the most important to utilize.

• Use Imagery

Images have become the “holy grail” of social media content. It’s easy to see this in the growth of Pinterest and Instagram in 2013, two image-based social networks. Instagram currently has 150 million monthy active users and 75 million daily active users. 75 million people use Instagram every day! These recent numbers make it the fastest growing social network.

Though Pinterest doesn’t quite keep up in the number of users, the platform has been named the fastest-growing platform for content sharing online. Both Pinterest and Instagram are growing options for advertisers, and we will likely see more strides in that area this year.

Even if you aren’t using these two platforms, their growth makes it clear that images are the name of the game—even on Facebook and Google+ images typically garner more engagement than text posts. The moral of the story: use images with your posts whenever possible, and consider getting on board with Instagram or Pinterest.

• Use LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social network of a different tenor than Facebook or Twitter. Reserved for making professional connections, it is the go-to platform for B2B professionals. Every small business owner should consider creating or updating their LinkedIn profile this year. Use it to connect with other professionals as your “online business card” because your professional profile represents your business online as much as your company Facebook page does.

Take a look at your profile this year as well as curating your LinkedIn Business Page.

• Make a Social Media Policy for Your Employees

Even if your business is not on social media, your employees probably are. Do you have a defined policy for social media use at work? To safeguard your company’s reputation, you must be proactive about what is acceptable for your employees to share about your company on social media, and what is not.

However, rather than banning social media in the office, you can leverage your employee’s social influence to support your company’s social profiles. Plus, social media always works better when a company shows their human side: what better way to do that than allowing your employees to share news about your company online?

This year create a human-oriented social media policy to protect your business and your employees.

• Experiment with Short-form Micro Video

Video is set to come on to the marketing scene in a big way this year, but it’s not just Youtube that should occupy your attention. In 2013, Twitter released a video platform called Vine that limits video uploads to only six seconds. Consumers love it—a three-minute video may be too long these days.

The bonus for businesses is that it is much easier to create a six-second video than a video that is several minutes long. Take a look at this super-short form video and think about how you can incorporate it into your social media plan as it grows in the future.

Dive Into Social for 2014

So, are you ready for “the year of social”? January is already close to being over, so it’s time to get started. Which tips address your social media needs this year?

[Tweet “6 Social Media Marketing Tips for 2014 via @radiatemedia for @BusinessTips”]

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About Ivan Shulman

As President of Radiate Media, Ivan brings with him more than 25 years of experience and a sterling reputation in the advertising and broadcast industries. Prior to Radiate, Ivan spent five years as President of The Canadian Traffic Network, where he directed a seven-fold growth in revenue while growing an affiliate base from 35 to…