Just for fun, here are my 14 social media predictions for the year ahead:
- LinkedIn will introduce hashtags.
The three major social networks in the West—Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn—tend to copy each other’s features. This year, for example, LinkedIn started letting people tag other users or companies on the site. Facebook, on the other hand, introduced hashtags.
I wouldn’t be surprised if LinkedIn introduces hashtags as well. It makes sense: Hashtags will enable content discovery, letting people connect with other professionals and find even more articles to share.
- LinkedIn will kill LinkedIn Groups.
Let’s face it: LinkedIn Groups haven’t been useful for a couple of years now. It’s a widely abused feature. Many people use LinkedIn Groups to spam people with links, without actually thinking about engagement. Earlier this year, LinkedIn killed LinkedIn Answers; I expect LinkedIn Groups to be next.
- Teens will flock to yet another new social network.
Teens have a very fickle taste when it comes to social networks. A few years ago, it was Facebook. Today, it’s Snapchat, Tumblr, and, to some extent, Twitter. Pheed was cool for a brief moment of time.
Teens still use the other apps/websites, but an obscure social network will once again capture the attention of the young ones in 2014. Marketers will have to pay attention since where the teens go is usually an indication of what’s going to be hot in a few years.
- Buffer’s user base will grow significantly.
Buffer has been a rising star for a while now. And it’s really no wonder why: With a great, easy-to-use product, a useful blog, and a competent team that can handle social media disasters, Buffer is on a roll.
I expect Buffer to grow significantly in 2014, perhaps to the point of challenging Hootsuite in the marketplace. Late this year, Buffer introduced services for businesses. And then a few weeks after that, it integrated with Mention. Buffer surely has a few more innovations along the way.