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Learn what social media trends are essential to engage with over the coming months.

2014 Social Media Dictionary

The web changes fast. So fast that many of us find it hard to keep up, especially when it comes to social media. This social media dictionary quickly and clearly gives you a heads-up on the trends you should be taking advantage of to boost revenue this year.

1. Dark social

It’s a marketing executive’s worst nightmare – the social sharing of their content between two people via email or online chat that can’t be traced and therefore measured by any web analytics program. Ergo, dark social stops you from being able to monitor popular types of your own content to exploit further. Click here for tips how to deal with this in 2014.

How important? 4 out of 5

2. Niche sites

While Facebook and its ilk offer access to millions of users, savvy marketers are boosting their conversion rates by delivering their message to highly targeted (and affordable) audiences instead. From the shopaholics of Kaboodle to the bookworms of Goodreads, expect marketing to niche social sites to continue growing in 2014.

How important? 3 out of 5

3. Social influencers

Hiring in bloggers, YouTubists and other social media folk to spread your word to their followers is becoming big business – and 2014 will see the trend continue. For more information on the art, head here.

How important? 4 out 5

4. Social launch

Be Beyoncé – or at least learn from her example. Instead of spending vast sums on traditional media to launch her collection of new songs and videos in December 2013, the singer announced it to her eight million Instagram followers via a single posting. It triggered over 350,000 downloads on the first day in the US alone and 1.2 million Tweets in just 12 hours. Expect other “brands” to follow her lead in 2014.

How important? 4 out 5

5. Ephemeral social media

The teen market has been leaving Facebook and heading to ephemeral social media like Snapchat. Instead of your posts being permanent, services like Snapchat auto-erase any messaging sent within 10 seconds. How marketers can exploit this unique social media market remains to be seen, but considering Facebook was prepared to pay $3 billion for Snapchat, this is an area that must be monitored closely in 2014.

How important? 4 out 5

6. Employee advocacy

As well as looking outside their corporations for social influencers and advocates, companies are realizing the potential of their own employees for spreading marketing messages. For instance, networking site LinkedIn offers the perfect platform for evangelical employees to reach out to like-minded peers and communicate company services or products with genuine enthusiasm and passion.

How important? 4 out of 5

7. Online review communities

Social proof is king in marketing – and dedicated online review communities where buyers rate and share views on companies (or their products) are beginning to push out of their niche and into the mainstream. Witness online review platform Trustpilot and its recent cash injection of $25 million from DFJ Espirit, whose past track record includes funding start-ups such as Twitter and Skype.

How important? 3 out 5

8. Paid social

The heady days of free advertising in social media are dying out. Facebook led the way, of course, offering to promote your ads for money, while Twitter has been rolling out self-serve ads over the past year. In the meantime, Tumblr is featuring more sponsored posts and Pinterest introduced its first ads, “Promoted Pins”, in September last year. Expect social media’s grab for your cash to continue in 2014 – so plan your social media marketing budgets accordingly.

How important? 5 out 5

To do list:

For more insights into emerging marketing trends, download our eGuide: Marketing management: why you must shift your budget from maintenance to innovation