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AgVoice | Social Media trends in 2014

Come month of December  it is once again that time of the year, when you start looking back and looking forward and one of the things which I have been doing last couple of years is to try to see what’s coming up in the world of Social and Digital media .

So here are 5 big thoughts I look forward to, on the Digital and Social media front for the year 2014.

The first key trend as we think of 2014 is that video will be big and continue to be large in the coming year. Any form of interesting rich media content and infographics, all of these are going to be hot property and let’s look forward to that happening. 

The second thing which we cannot disregard, rather which is on top of my mind is the fact that 2014 is election year.  Yes, we have already got the state elections going and we have got these humongous 75% turnouts at the elections in the States. So it is definitely going to be a big year as far as elections are concerned. But what has that got to do with digital or social media? Everything! I’m sure candidates and parties are going to be involved big time and go a little crazy too on Social media.  The recent events of CobraPost , the exposure, the Blue virus and everything, is but an indication of things to come. There’s a lot of half knowledge out there and one can consider it to be an easy medium which allows them to set up a bunch of accounts and start attacking their opponent. Except that as we see, these ultimately get exposed leading to nothing but sheer madness and confusion. But that’s going to happen whether you like it or not. There’s going to be big time advertising happening from candidates and parties. Nobody wants to give away this space. So you cover television, you cover print, you cover hoardings, your morchas and whatever else, but in addition to that, you will also make sure that you are covered on digital as well.  So you get to see digital playing a big role in elections and agencies and other partners also participating in that space.

The third aspect as we look ahead or at the current situation is relevant to where we are in the economy. While there is election and, let us say, bullish activities coming up, the reality is that, by and large, the economy is in a tough situation. Now when the economy is bad, when infrastructure projects are not going that rapidly, when money is tight, what happens to brands? They are not able to do their very expensive television commercials and big print campaigns but that, in turn, is leading a lot of them onto digital platforms. That is because they still need to get word out to their consumers. If they cannot spend on multicrore campaigns on mainline they are going to spend atleast a couple of crores on digital. We are already seeing all our existing clients increasing their budgets. We are also seeing briefs coming in for new client pitches which indicate that the budgets for digital are extremely large as a percentage and as an absolute number of their marketing budgets. So that is the trend especially on account of the challenge in the economy.

That brings me to the fourth trend, which is that because of where we are in the whole Social media journey and also because now the budgets for digital and social media marketing are coming with an intent to achieve that what they could not achieve, or will have to achieve through other mainline and traditional channels, it is now a business goal. So, the early age of social media which saw  brands  getting fascinated by this space and  creating FB pages and creating a whole lot of Likes, the maturity has now come in where one is starting to look at how does this all add up to business? How can I meet my sales targets, how can I reduce my customer service? And that’s happening as well.  I mean, the fact is, digital is delivering those goals for them. In fact, amazingly, just couple of days back we were with a real estate client of ours and he shared data from their back end analytics and records that 35% of their new sales came through digital channels. Now if that is the fact, would he not invest potentially 35% of his marketing budget on this space? And if he does, we are going far ahead of the times when digital budgets were 5%, 8% or 3%.  We are soon going to be a 100 million FB country. With that size, brands will want to spend more and also want to see how their spends convert to business goals. So, a focus towards business goals is going to be a fourth big trend.

The fifth trend, according to me, is simply “Paisa feko tamasha dekho”....right? So, it’s not going to happen without spending money. Whether it’s on account of the fact that Facebook is not going to allow you access to your fanbase without you spending money or the fact that Twitter is going to allow or enable promoted tweets or, experimenting with advertising, it is very clear that the days of the free lunch are gone forever. So if you believe that digital and social is the route to your audience, your consumer base, rest assured that it doesn’t come for free. Yes, you can do better than others, you can do engagements which are little better, you can get noticed better, you can create a different kind of a brand persona there, but it doesn’t come for free. You got to put money out there, and the more you put the better engagement and   better connections you are going to get.  That’s a fact. So let’s accept that as a reality.
So these are the 5 top trends which I foresee in year 2014. I continue to remain extremely excited about the space. I am looking forward to a great 2014 and hoping you are too. Wish you a good new year. | By Sanjay Mehta, Joint Chief Executive Officer, Social Wavelength

About the writer:

Social Media expert, Sanjay Mehta, Joint CEO, Social Wavelength is an early internet entrepreneur with 11 plus years of experience at hands on level, in building and running a successful internet based venture (www.homeindia.com). With more than 20 years of experience in various leadership positions, Sanjay brings to the table a keen understanding of how businesses operate. He combines considerable prowess in the field of Social Media, Ecommerce, SEO, SEM and Web 2.0 with expertise in strategy, planning and business.

Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author, and do not reflect in any way of Adgully

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