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According to one marketing company, 2013 offered a few surprising social media trends that may have a strong impact on social media in the coming year.

One Google+ study showed that 57% of people have more conversations online than in person. Twitter has more than 230 million active users who post an average of 500 million Tweets every day. Facebook broke the 1 billion accounts mark in May of 2013, and continues to grow in worldwide popularity. On Instagram, an average of 55 million photos are shared every day. This information can help effectively drive marketing strategies toward the best ways to connect with customers — and increasingly, the best ways to connect are online.

According to a study from ODM Group, 53% of users recommend products or companies on Twitter. Companies can use social media to build brand loyalty, and interacting with customers on platforms like Twitter is becoming increasing popular. According to Twitter, these users hope to find discounts, free stuff, updates, and access to exclusive content from companies they follow. A common explanation for the benefit of social media is that it can “build a loyal audience of brand advocates,” something every business wants.

Another Google+ study showed that one in five searches are local. This illustrates the importance of local data and providing relevant content based on that data. Applying the SoLoMo Principle (Social, Location, and Mobile) helps companies assess the local content needed in their marketing. More than 125 million U.S. consumers carry smartphones, and 18 percent have checked in at merchants using social apps like foursquare. With ‘check-ins’ and other location-driven features, it has never been easier for companies to identify the location of their customers and create content based on those locations.

Many industry analysts predict that social media budgets will increase for 2014, as the market continues to grow. Having a focused social media strategy is important for businesses of all kinds, as more and more people are connecting online. Taking advantage of that desire to connect is important to business growth.

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