A few months ago, Forbes Magazine published an online article that predicted the top seven social media trends for 2014. Three of those top seven are of particular interest for B2B businesses:

1) Social media will become a necessity, not a luxury.

I think a lot of us have felt that way for several years, but this author features not only the obvious reason to use social media – branding, brand awareness, word-of-mouth advertising, and customer loyalty – but also social media’s impact on SEO.

2) Google+ will become a major factor.

Google+ is growing but, more importantly, it has an outsized effect on your Google ranking. There is a feature of Google+ (sometimes referred to as Google Authorship) that lets a blog writer identify the blogs that he / she contributes to. This simple act increases the SEO of that blog and something every blog writer – even if you are an employee or business owner writing for your company’s blog – should do.

3) LinkedIn will become a major player for B2B growth.

LinkedIn – and Slideshare – are sites that I have been advocating for B2B businesses for several years. LinkedIn bought Slideshare in 2012 and, in the same year, launched its own content creation portal called the Influencers Program. The posts from the Influencer Program are from experts in their field. They are useful to read, but – so far – it has been a pretty closed community and it is difficult for regular folks to get the opportunity to contribute. However, identifying blogs – either independent  blogs or those from traditional publishers – that allow outsiders to contribute,  and submitting a blog will not only increase your own thought leadership credentials, but can be structured to create much coveted links back to your company’s site.

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