Social-Media-ExaminerSocial Media Examiner invited 11 social media thought leaders to share a 2014 social media prediction. Three of the predictions said, in essence, that the days of social media as a free marketing platform are over.

  • Jay Baer, founder of the award-winning blog Convince & Convert, says “Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Pinterest are all in full monetization mode now, and companies looking to reach their fans/customers/prospects via these venues are going to need to pay to do so.”
  • Dave Kerpen, CEO of Likeable Local states “Facebook has changed its news feed algorithm to hurt organic reach. Twitter is a public company that must drive revenues. Google+ has introduced ads. In 2014, we’ll see increased pressure on companies of all sizes to pay to sponsor their posts to get more visibility, as getting consumers’ attention to social media becomes increasingly difficult.”
  • Michael Stelzner, founder and CEO of Social Media Examiner says, “As social networks become more accountable to public shareholders, they will begin implementing “traditional” business models requiring that marketers “pay to play.” The organic marketing benefits of social media will continue to decline.”

Stelzner goes on to say, “Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn will slowly introduce special features only to paying customers and reduce the benefits of organic activity.”

John Haydon, author of Facebook Marketing for Dummies predicts, “With Facebook squelching updates from pages, small businesses and non-profits will have to scrap the old approach of spamming the news feed and refocus in three ways” in 2014:

  1. Become more useful in the news feed.
  2. Wisely integrate other marketing channels.
  3. Finally start that blog you’ve been talking about.

Ekaterina Walter, cofounder and CMO of BRANDERATI and WSJ predicts, “In the age of infobesity, advocacy becomes the most relevant filter.” She describes advocacy as, “the highest expression of brand love by a brand’s consumers, partners and employees.”

Walter goes on to say, “In 2014, brands will focus deeply on creating and nurturing long-term sustainable relationships with their true advocates through building smaller niche interest–driven communities.”

The 11 predictions (titles only) and authors are listed below.

      1. The Resurgence of Advertorial (Jay Baer)
      2. Employee Advocacy (Neal Schaffer)
      3. Facebook Forces a Strategic Refocus (John Haydon)
      4. Social Networks Develop A/B Testing Tools for Brands’ Organic Updates (Nick Robinson)
      5. Pay to Play (Dave Kerpen)
      6. Fusion Marketing and Fusion Dashboards (Viveka von Rosen)
      7. Social Storytelling Will Shift (Simon Mainwaring)
      8. The Age of Advocacy (Ekaterina Walter)
      9. Paid Social Becomes a Requirement for Social Media Marketers (Mike Stelzner)
      10. Brand-Owned Network List-Building Matures (Paul Colligan)
      11. Interactive Video Becomes Viable (Mark Schaeffer)

Click here to read the full article on the Social Media Examiner website.