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4 major social media trends to watch in 2014

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Chances are you've already accessed one or more of your social media profiles prior to reading this. In fact, you might have been directed here from one of your social feeds. That's how deeply integrated social media has become in our daily lives.

In less than a decade we've seen Facebook, Twitter and other platforms explode - creating a comfortable place for themselves in our day-to-day communications. And 2014 will be no different. We can only expect more growth.

But what exactly should we expect? Some of South Florida's social media experts weigh in on the major trends to follow this year.

Growth of content-based advertising
Growth of content-based advertising Jon Thomas/

Growth of content-based advertising

Ads will become less in your face and more useful and value driven. Rather than having short snippets of text and a catchy image, brands will be forced to develop robust & in depth content pieces geared towards their goals.

In addition, the social "free for all" is over. Brands are going have to invest financially in their social campaigns just as they would a SEO or PPC campaign. We will see the emergence of marketers who have to be well versed in the paid, earned and owned ecosystem.

-Nathan Mendenhall, Director of Social Media at THAT Agency

Emergence of engaging Instagram brand pages
Emergence of engaging Instagram brand pages Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Emergence of engaging Instagram brand pages

In 2014, social media managers will create an abundance of professional image content for their Instagram pages.  Photos and quick videos will be high-quality, engaging content that creates a buzz and conversation via their Instagram channel.  One brand using Instagram to their advantage is a Miami automotive wheel manufacturer, Vossen Wheels (@Vossen).  They use crisp, HD photos that provide an in-depth look into daily operations, recent car shows and new vehicles dipped in pastel colors that showcase their wheels. Their posting schedule is consistent with their brand message.  Vossen Wheels also cross-promote content via Instagram by showing quick :15 second previews of videos that are hosted on their YouTube channel. Vossen Wheels is a perfect example of using Instagram in 2014 to create engagement that trickles into other social media platforms.

-John D. Saunders, Founder of

Big brands will take story telling more seriously
Big brands will take story telling more seriously Tom Fishburne/

Big brands will take story telling more seriously

2014 is the year of story telling for big brands. The days of shoving your message down consumers’ throats are long done. People don't want to be sold; they want to be told the story of the brand. They want something they can resonate with. Social Media has a unique story telling ability because its so wide open. Brands have A LOT of options when structuring a digital strategy to tell their story. If you're a brand in business in 2014, big or small, figure out the way you've always told the story of your brand and transfer that message online.

-Sebastian Rusk, CEO/Founder

Incorporating social media into Big Data strategies
Incorporating social media into Big Data strategies

Incorporating social media into Big Data strategies

Besides inspiring word of mouth, social data can inform corporate analytics and be weaved into CRM efforts. Imagine the gains of marketing to a person via email, the phone or ad with an understanding of their social activities before engaging with that person! Data gained from social media is not clean and it's not in a "0" or "1" format so it requires some TLC and massaging, but once integrated correctly, can provide profound insights to educate the sales and marketing processes across a business.

-Alex Buznego, Director of Business & Digital Innovation at Miami Marlins