You can find predictions for almost everything from whether or not “Duck Dynasty” will continue to rule reality TV to women’s spring color trends to Oscar winners;  And there is no shortage of predictions for social media either.

As the social media manager at WITNESS, I’ve been sifting through these articles for the past few days, and if there is one article I recommend other nonprofits read, it would be:  11 Social Media Marketing Predictions to Watch for 2014 by Cindy King. The list of predictions is comprehensive, informative and easily applies to the NGO sector.

Below are some of my comments on the predictions as a social media manager who works at a nonprofit:

Lucille Ball - I Love Lucy

#1 Resurgence of Advertorial – I’m optimistic that this prediction will move towards being more ‘social’ than ‘media’ when it comes to product placement. I’m guesstimating 2014 will see backlashes and workarounds as the realization sets in on the effects of Adverts 2.0.

#2 Employee Advocacy – Nonprofits, journos, actors, politicians, freelancers, etc. are already taking advantage of this one. We have an average of 5-10 employees who regularly share via Twitter or Facebook for us (that’s about 1/3 of our staff). In 2014, we have some changes coming down the pike, so I imagine we will continue to grow this baseline.

#3 Facebook Forces a Strategic Refocus – This is already happening for nonprofits… the shift started late 2013.

James Franco selfies#4 Social Networks Develop A/B Testing Tools for Brands’ Organic Updates – Since for #1, I think things will become more ‘social’ (especially for nonprofits), I would say keep A/B testing out of social media. Social buzz is organic & more over arching… the semantics of a word or what’s in an image aren’t as useful as the overall meaning, especially if you think about ‘why‘ people share. A good example is James Franco’s article about “The Meaning of the Selfie.”

#5 Pay to Play – Unfortunately, I totally agree that social media is leaning more and more towards a ‘Pay to Play’ model. With this pressure, I hope nonprofits will try to become more creative before they start spending the cash.

#6 Fusion Marketing and Fusion Dashboards – I’m excited for this one… it would be great to finally have a cost effective, easy to use, fusion dashboard that combines analytics from all sources. So all you Nonprofit Techs… are you listening?!

#7 Social Storytelling Will Shift – I can’t agree with this one enough. Transparency is a must for ‘story’ development. And for the medium of social media, it needs to

“…focus on building relationships, rather than driving transactions. And to unlock the true power of social media, which is to inspire customers to build the business with them, based on shared values and a common goal.” ~ the social examiner article

#8 The Age of Advocacy – Some nonprofits are ahead of the game on this one… and I think we are one of them. Especially with our systems change ideas and working to influence filmmaking/media & distribution behaviors to be  ‘human rights’ and community inclusive. Hop on board

#9 Paid Social Becomes a Requirement for Social Media Marketers – I hope this doesn’t become the norm, but since these platforms are privately owned if it becomes their standard business model then we will need to adopt. Nonprofits, I recommend we start brainstorming together how to creatively navigate this one without breaking our banks.

Rolodex#10 Brand-Owned Network List-Building Matures – For us 2014 will include more list building (strategically) and it’s a good jump. Think about how many people would pay millions of dollars to have access to Warren Buffet’s rolodex (I think he still uses one to). So, nonprofits I recommend you take note, b/c this could be one of the ways to help keep up the organic viewership of your networks.

#11 Interactive Video Becomes Viable – I’m all for this prediction (and I’m going to pontificate on this one a little).

Ironman/Tony Stark hologramI’m not so sure we are far enough along with the technology to make videos fully ‘interactive,’ like sci-fi interactive (tickled at the thought of interactive holograms). Not to mention this would completely change how videos are produced because story structure would need to become more game like and episodic vs. the all-in-one approach.

But I’m jumping ahead of what Mr. Schaefer mentions in the article. Video databases and facial recognition are moving forward fast thanks to security, surveillance, and information monetization. Live commenting and picture sharing are already happening at music concerts, live TV shows, and live streaming staged events.

Even better, imagine syncing a documentary theater screening (like the Tribeca Film Fest) with an online screening so they run in simulcast. Then make the technology available so that the theatre audience and the online audience can debate the issue of your documentary in real-time or during Q&A as well as having all of it recorded for archival purposes and metrics tracking. An all-in-one place to be social… the Paley Center tried it with the 2012 Presidential debates. (I don’t know what the stats were from the event. If someone does, please share.)

Live streaming (which hasn’t been mentioned in any of the predictions I have read) gets us half way there. Now, we just need some technologists, venue managers, and filmmakers to build something together to help make the interactive leap.

2014 is here. So let’s get started.

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