The new year is upon on us. If you are like me, you’ve been sleepless during the holidays thinking about the work that will take you and your company to the next level this year.  (And if you’re not like me, congratulations on sleeping so well!)

Social Media Marketing has been top-of-mind since 2010, but I would argue that 2013 was the year when Social Media really exploded. We saw great campaigns from big companies leading to massive exposure (Oreo, Volvo, Dove and Nike are a few), niche social networks getting new users by the second (Vine and Snapchat) and new features and techniques (Facebook hashtags, Videos on Instagram, keyword targeting for promoted tweets on Twitter, Google+ integration on youtube) giving us the ability to reach even more users.

So, as is the way with technology, 2013 was a crazy year where things happened fast – and my prediction is that 2014 will be even crazier.

Lets take a look at the social media trends that you need to master under 2014.

1. It’s all about images…

Image-centric networks saw huge success 2013, paving the way for smaller networks to rise and be a force to reckon with (e.g. Instagram & Snapchat).  Larger networks adapted this trend as we saw Facebook, Google and Twitter improve their service and focus more on images.

Image-based content will rule 2014, so it’s time to you to master images, get to know what kind of images engage your followers, and take a closer look at image-centric networks.

2. and videos!

We know that Facebook will introduce sponsored videos this year. We also know that Vine and Instagram videos will get even more attention, and we will probably see the rise of more social networks with better video features. Short videos are coming as the new snapshot, so you need to get your behind behind a camera and learn how to create engaging content. For 2014, creating compelling short videos will be as important as writing in 140 characters.

3. Time to pay up!

As the bigger social networks constantly are tuning their newsfeed algorithms and focusing more on profit, it will be harder for the little guys to reach their audience on social media. It’s time to face a harsh reality: social media is not free anymore, and you need to beef up your social media budget and spend some dollars in order to reach your audience.

4. Finally – TV gets social

I have been waiting for this for years, but I think that 2014 will be the year that TV really gets social. With Facebook introducing more features to their hashtags, Twitter launching TV conversation targeting, and more TV shows including real time tweets in their shows, it’s safe to say that companies will try to use popular TV shows and movies in order to reach a wider audience.

What you need to do: stay updated on viral hashtags, be a part of the discussions about your company, monitor relevant hashtags, and – if all goes well – maybe even hijack a trend or two.

5. Cross-device targeting

We already know that users behave differently depending on the device that they are using (e.g Mobile, Tablet or Desktop). And as we are seeing more usage from mobile and tablet users (one-third of digital media time is now taking place on a smartphone or tablet) you need to make sure that all of your campaigns are cross-device friendly.  The days when you built an Facebook App that only worked for Desktop users are over.

Once you make sure that all your content and all of your campaigns are cross-device friendly (if you havent hard of Responsive design, you need to check it out), it’s time to figure out how your users behave whether they are on a mobile, on a tablet or on a desktop computer.  This will give you insight as to how your product can be better cross-consumed.

6. The blog is the heart of your social media marketing

With all this talk about social networks, we still need to remember that you can create awesome content in your own backyard.  As social shares are becoming a strong SEO inflencer, you need to make sure that your webpage gets shared on the social networks.

The best way to do this is to create a blog where you give your audience an exclusive view in to your company, spread engaging images of your products and clients, and teach your readers about your industry and future trends. Take a closer look at magazines that are great at generating viral content (e.g. Buzzfeed, Viralnova & Upworthy) and take a page from their playbook.

I think that 2014 will be an very exciting year, with awesome campaigns and new features and networks that will inspire you and give you the tools you need to take you and your company to the next level. At Meltwater we will make sure that we track and examine all new trends and continue to give you valuable insights regarding social media and online media monitoring news.

And please, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.  We’ll continue to pay attention to the digital marketing landscape so that we can write about the latest trends on our social media blog and PR blog.

Any social media trends that you would like to add to the blogpost? Feel free to leave a comment!