In November and December, we asked the Northwest Indiana tech luminaries what they predicted to take place in the digital media arena in 2014. Some left a brief note on a post, some sent a tweet. Nat Finn, well he basically wrote a book.
We did a similar roundup in December of 2012 and had a great response. Click here and read some of the predictions to see how everyone did.
Below is a sampling of what they think will go down, which actually turns into a really helpful guide for all levels of social media users as they look to grow online in 2014.
Thanks to all for participating, and we encourage others to join in with their perspectives as well. With a network of helpful, knowledgeable and sharing-oriented minds in Northwest Indiana, let's help all the boats rise in the digital tide this year.
We are going to preach Video. I know it is an easy to select, but I really cannot think of a better way to get online and get found rather quickly. I was texting Allyn [Hane] last night about YouTube and those that are utilizing video are killing it. I need to do more in 2014, write more and do more video.
[Steve] Dalton and I have been going back and forth on this for weeks if not months. Content! It is still King. It seems that only a few are creating good content (I am not one), but most is just sharing and "liking". Content will continue to be just as important in the years to come, and those that are doing good and fresh content in most any form whether it be podcasting, video or good old fashion blogging.
Darlene McCarty Cohn - Owner at D. Cohn Communications
It's really interesting to re-read (2013 predictions) and compare how most predictions came through in some form or another. I'm happy to have been dead wrong about Google+ AND MySpace (for now.) But right about specialization (Say Hello Graph.)
Nonetheless, I think just about everyone in this conversation had great ideas that worked. I look forward to hearing 2014's thoughts.
Allyn Hane - Vice President of Digital Strategy at Launch Digital Marketing
Ok so here we go: First off, Google authorship is still a primary function of ranking well. In May 2013 Matt Cutt said it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xQmQeKU25zg at 1:09 he says "these things look promising or have gotten some approval", meaning - "things" they are looking to implement into the algorithm. At 4:38 he talks about detecting when someone is an expert in a specific space and making sure they rank a little bit better. (author rank).
Then read this: http://www.seobythesea.com/ and understand that everything is moving toward CONTEXT. Context is the new king of the world. Authors of content provide context. If you are the author of content about insurance, then the context of your life online should reflect that you are an expert on insurance. In addition, you can gain context by geography. If you are an insurance agent in Crown Point, then your mobile habits should reflect that.
Read all of the Google patents and acquisitions filed in 2013 and you'll see that search and social are changing forever. Use Google Now on your Android (and to some extent your Iphone) and you'll realize that in many cases, you don't even have to search anymore to get info you need. CONTEXT matters.
Social Media should be #10 or maybe even #15 on a list of the most important digital marketing strategies for 2014. Having 1,000 engaged facebook fans doesn't do much if your website looks like a 1995 Geocities or AngelFire free page, or isn't optimized for conversion. Take care of your home where you control 100% of the message before investing countless hours in other platforms that surround your content with your competitors ads.
Eric M. Carter, Expert at Cartronix
I think in 2014 we will use more local business ads on all of the social media sites. It only makes sense. We will see more local biz offering how-to videos and more customer service interaction. Just a few thoughts for Monday morning.
Nat Finn, Co-Owner BakedFinn
I think folks need to realize that content creation isn't the only avenue for success in social media. Because some do and then can't keep up or keep fresh and then they start stealing or "re-purposing." Social Media Advertising platforms. Try them.
Editor’s Note: Finn’s predictions are… shall we say “more fleshed out” over here.
David Stupay - Chief Executive Officer, Opportunity Enterprises
For us, it's all about sharing stories and building community. Whether it's traditional or social media, we want the people that we are connecting with to experience the lives, successes and happiness of the program participants that we serve. Community integration is a core value of OE, and building an online community that respects and identifies with the people that we serve is an extension of that value. Similar to what Michelle suggested, we practice a 7:1 ratio for engagement to self promotion.
Andrea Mathes Evans, Owner of Catch All Media
I'll say, "Think, before you tweet (or post)" We talk about this a lot on the Ad Men. Also, stay away from BIG statements for, or against something, because, as we have said, "Never say never, because it lives forever..." #stitchitonapillow
Michelle Andres - President of Group 7even
We always tell our clients to follow an 80/20 rule. 80% engagement and 20% self promotion. No one likes a friend who only talks about themselves and yet that's exactly what so many companies do with social media.
Your brand should have a personality and it should be reflected through your social media.
Steve Dalton - Director of Business Development at Cender and Company
New media, digital, social, search ... All the names begin to blur don't they? I think what I like most is that no matter the temporary trick or coach of the week, it always comes back to the basics. If you want friends or customers you need to find a way to relate, to connect, to be unique, to be authentic, to care about who they are and what they need. The tricks and games are none of the above. We all know digital media charlatans, and we all know people that we would love to hang out with, digitally or over our favorite beverage
Data is available, for market research and marketing stats, but few know what to do with the abundance of data. Pushing tweets and likes is easy, spending money on hundreds of ads - not so hard. Spending as little as possible on the exact right content and garnering crowd or viral support. That's priceless and hard to accomplish.
Every post/video/link should be with purpose. Keep it short and sweet - less is more.
At Briar Leaf Golf Club we recognize that ultimately we are in the entertainment business. With that in mind, it is critical that posts and tweets are a combination of entertainment, education and selling.
Chris Mahlmann, Owner of Ideas in Motion Media
Engagement is more important than ever through the content you are communicating, the context as Allyn Hane talks about -- related to the topic, locale, search, and content, to how you use each medium for what the users of that platform are using it for.
Viewers are way too savvy for anyone to be applying the same communication across the variety of digital means and stay relevant. If you aren’t engaging with them and truly talking to them, the flood of people that are will leave you behind.
Authenticity is huge as people want to communicate with you as they would in person - human, open, and not just pumping out messages into a feed.
Never forget these are social networks, not broadcast networks. The power is in the hands of the reader. Stay on top of them or they’ll find someone who does.