Social media is constantly evolving. Where once platforms like Twitter and Facebook were primarily for young people and communication between friends, these sites that thrive on connectivity and communication have found another large demographic. Companies across the board are realizing that these new methods can have a dramatic effect on their marketing campaigns. There is an issue with these new promotional strategies, however.

Social media is in a constant state of flux. A site can be at the top one day and literally begging for users the next. Because of this, many businesses are wary of investing a lot of time and effort into these modern programs, despite their proven effectiveness. It can be a bit of a gamble, but if one watches the trends closely enough, the success of a platform can be predicted fairly well. Let's look at some projections for next year, shall we?

1. Twitter May Overtake Facebook

With its 1.18 billion users, Facebook is not in any danger of going belly-up, at least not anytime soon. The popular site does seem to have reached a certain plateau in regard to its userbase, however.  Twitter, on the other hand, is steadily growing as users and organizations figure out how potent and accurate a tweet can be. A study by the Pew Internet & American Life Project conducted earlier this year found that more and more teenagers were making the change from Facebook to Twitter and Instagram, in terms of where they spend more time, and companies are sure to follow suit.

2. Snapchat

As strange as it sounds, marketing on Snapchat is possible and can be a great way to engage certain target audiences. Snapchat has 5 million active users and 150 million photos are uploaded everyday! One of the reasons this image-sharing smartphone app became so popular recently is because the pictures, or “snaps” sent from user to user are automatically deleted after a pre-determined time limit. This impermant aspect contrasts with privacy issues that can be ubiquitous on other platforms. Yogurt company 16 Handles may have been the first brand that conducted a promotion using Snapchat earlier in 2013, and a few others have experimented since. Snapchat stories are also a great opportunity to talk with customers and interact with them to see what they think about your business. Snapchat is an underutilized platform that, with a few tweaks, can be a powerful marketing tool.

3. Google+

Just last month, an article on USA Today found that Google+ now had over 300 million monthly active users, and a total of 540 million members. making it the number two social network worldwide after Facebook. This may sound a bit strange, as popular opinion holds Google+ as a somewhat unpopular social presence. However, with the adding of Google Hummingbird and the evolution of Google Hangouts, Google+ far from a dead network. Though it remains to be seen whether Google+ can keep people interested enough to linger and and gain marketing attention or not. With search engine optimization techniques evolving and the Google team putting their utmost into the project, Google+ is slowly growing into a larger piece of the digital landscape puzzle. If this current trend continues, 2014 may be a big year for Google+.

4. Videos

YouTube is a household name at this point, but there has been some curious competition as of late. Vine is a recent mobile app that allows users to take short six-second looping videos and post them to a content stream. This format caught on instantly and the number of Vines exploded seemingly overnight, with submissions by both established celebrities and new “Vine celebrities”. In the same vein, Instagram now allows 15 second videos with a lot of editing settings and filters. Both Vine and Instagram videos are attractive because they are quick, to the point, and instantly entertaining. Consumers are entranced and many brands have already started advertising on Vine and Istagram.  These types of videos will certainly see an increase in 2014.

These are just some of the directions the flood of social media is heading in. Next year will undoubtably bring many unforseen changes as well, so be sure to keep an eye out!