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Snapchat and Selfies: Social Media Predictions for 2014

EntrepreneurCountry Global Friday, 13 December 2013.

Snapchat is one of the most used apps in the world. Every day over 400 million photos are shared. It is clear that Snapchat has found its niche in the social media microcosm. When Evan Spiegel recently rejected Facebook's $3 billion buy out the world was divided, was he a brave entrepreneur staying loyal to his brand or making the most foolish mistake of his life?

shutterstock 132045542With the news that Instagram is launching 'Instagram direct'- a way to send photos to individual contacts - there is definite sense of déjà vu and an uneasy similarity to Spiegel's creation.

Each year social sites come and go. 2013 saw the rise of viral video app Vine and the stagnant nature of Google+. Many trends have been predicted for 2014; here are a few things that I believe will stand out.

1. The rise of viral social marketing

2013 has seen viral marketing take off and it is something that big name brands have started to pick up on. Using social media helps them connect with consumers and get them to share products and promotions. This is something that will continue exponentially in 2014. Companies are already connected with fans and consumers on Facebook and Twitter but there has been a rise in usage on apps like Snapchat and Vine. Companies in the US have utilized these tools all year, promoting new items and discounts. Whilst Britain has still yet to fully discover the power of Vine, 2014 is the time it will gain serious traction. GAP, Samsung, Urban Outfitters, French Connection and EBay have all grasped the potential, proving that consumer relations and advertising can be done as one in a six second video clip!

In 2014, viral social marketing will continue to grow with the mobile being a direct communicative link between the company and consumer.

2. New social media, becoming more specific to users needs

2014 will also see a rise in user specific sites. Facebook and Twitter allow you to connect with everyone but not always on a specific topic.

Runkeeper allows fitness fanatics to share tips, track each others workouts and share achievements with other likeminded people without cluttering up newsfeeds.

Pose has been dubbed the new ‘Instagram’, specifically for fashion. Allowing users to see different styles and outfits of other users, and sharing their own.

2013 has been the year of the selfie and there has even been a new app specifically to cater for the front-camera friends Shots of Me is dedicated to the selfie, and again, it will help declutter thousands of feeds.

3. Twitter will continue to grow

Twitter appears to be growing each year, with more and more users appearing. It is still the most direct platform for customer interaction and the best way for people to read and receive information. It continues to grow with our faced paced existence, providing nuggets of text for us to quickly digest rather than long epic statuses that are often disregarded on Facebook.

4. Will Facebook downsize due to prevalence of bite sized content?

Facebook is still undoubtedly the dominant player in the game but can this continue? The up and coming apps are all focused on the short and sweet; 10 second photos, 6 second videos, 3 line tweets. Whilst we still connect on Facebook will we want to spend long periods of time on it when everything else has become so instantaneous and brief?

5. What about Google+

Commonly seen as the ‘also ran’ of social media Google + has struggled recently, but will this all change? In November YouTube comments were made via Google + accounts boosting up users to a now 300+ million. Employer’s uses the hangout space to interview, and the large easy layout is perfect for images and photos. In an image centric world it definitely has the potential to grow.

6. Teens start trends

Teens are the ones to watch when it comes to the success of social sites. They picked up MySpace and dropped it for Facebook, is this shift going to happen again? Whilst there are still huge numbers of teens on Facebook, they are growing on twitter too. 12% of teens used twitter in 2011, this doubled to 24% in 2012, if this number continues to rise then perhaps Facebook should worry. Again, like many they are focused on images, with photos adding up to 90% of postings. Whilst Facebook does cater for images it is fair to say that Tumblr, Instagram and Snapchat are designed solely for that purpose and therefore have the most potential to grow.

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