Wherever social media fits into your marketing campaign, it can be difficult to know where to place your focus and spend your precious budgets. Every year, the net is flooded with crystal ball trend predictions and eye-opening stats. We’ve scoured the reports and brought you the top social media trends to know right now:

Social media will increasingly influence purchasing decisions

Studies have shown that 3 out of 4 consumers rely on social media for their purchasing decisions, with 8 in 10 influenced by their friends’ posts. Almost half (47%) of Americans admitted that Facebook is their no 1 influencer of purchases. This means that they are in the electronics store reading reviews of the best laptop to buy on their smartphone.

Or simply asking anyone on Twitter whether one brand is better than another. It’s a scary thought that your reputation is at the mercy of strangers but that is also the magic of the social sphere – something that smart companies embrace, exploit and even reward.

Social media is ideal for content distribution

‘Content strategy’ was the hot topic of 2014, with marketers falling over themselves to churn out ‘quality content’ to achieve better Google rankings. However, many of these strategies have fallen flat without an adequate distribution strategy. With other words, you are writing blog posts – but is anyone reading it? Savvy marketers know that social media is not a handy add-on for your marketing efforts but an excellent way to amplify your campaigns.

Videos and images are increasing popular

Video is a powerful tool you can’t ignore. On landing pages, videos increase conversion by 86%. Google owns YouTube which means that any YouTube video will automatically enjoy improved SEO rankings. In terms of visuals, it seems Instagram isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. With 200 million monthly users, it has become THE network when it comes to image-based social media marketing. These days, it’s all about visual storytelling: in-the-moment images and point-of-view video.

What if you had your own social network?

By 2016, 50% of large organizations will have their own internal Facebook-like social networks. What’s more, they say these networks will soon be considered as vital as email and telephones. Innovative companies will also use their own – or other – social networks as customer service portals to swiftly address customer complaints in a transparent manner.

Social media and ecommerce are further integrating

Both Facebook and Twitter have added ‘buy’ buttons to posts, enabling users to make purchases without leaving the network. This will be a powerful way to make sales. Once a customer has activated this one-click method, they are likely to be impulse shopping on a regular basis. The real-time nature of these networks also makes them perfect for grab-them-now deals.

Mobile is where the action is happening

Finally, as smartphone technology has exploded, naturally so has the time spent on these devices. Wait for it: 26% of a smartphone user’s time is spent on social media. For example, Pinterest content is shared 3x more on mobile than on desktop. Bear this in mind when planning your next marketing campaign. If users are living on their mobile phones, consider mobile marketing.

If you are running a competition, use SMS short codes as an easy, trackable entry mechanic. Or use SMS messages to drive likes or entries on your social media page. In conclusion, keep your finger on the pulse of social media trends as things change by the minute. For example, Google Plus was heralded as the new Facebook, now some predict that it will fade into obscurity. Smart, Internet-of-things devices are also going social. Yes, that’s right, your fridge may well tweet on your behalf soon! See creative ideas of how SMS is used by other companies for Social Networking in our guide: 101 Business Uses for SMS. Here are also some good examples of how social networks use SMS to authenticate user activation or sessions with one-time-passwords (OTPs), provide premium-rated SMS micro-billing or enable out-of-network push messaging.

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Clickatell Platform is a bulk SMS system that enables you to send messages securely, reliably and instantly, sparking a dynamic dialogue between business and customer.

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