It seems every year at this time, prediction blog posts clog the interwebs. Every blog and his sister make predictions about their industry, and most of the posts regurgitate the same information. Regardless, I venture forth undaunted with a prediction post. Although the three topics I share are obvious choices—I hope to share insights and takeaways, which add to the conversation.

Content

More organizations will spend more time and money creating content; not only companies that haven’t begun publishing, but the thousands upon thousands of companies with abandoned blogs. Organizations are beginning to realize it’s not enough to start a blog—it has to be fed, and its appetite is voracious.

Google will continue to update Panda and Penguin and whatever “P” algorithm is next. And…they will continue to reward quality content and punish inferior work. Google webscan will improve its search for unworthy sites separating content farm-like and black-hat, old-school keyword stuffing in favor of real human voices.

Takeaway  – Who is going to write this quality content? As demand for superior content increases so will the pay. Freelance writers will be able to demand more and companies will add proven writers to their staff. As traditional writing jobs diminish—newspapers and periodicals in particular—online content opportunities will be available. Already, many businesses are seeking experienced journalist to join their team.

Video

We live in a visual society. My generation, boomers, were the first to grow up with television. Today’s youth were in front of computer screens as toddlers. We have become a culture of instant gratification with a short attention span. I’m not passing judgment—only sharing facts. People want video, but they want it short. YouTube, Vimeo, Vine will continue to grow, and most social networks will make it easier to use and support video. There will be a trend toward more professionally produced videos. Videos sharing calls to actions, company stories, virtual tours, and product introductions will be outsourced to professionals. However, the public doesn’t always want high-end, over-produced video—they want…real. My friend Rocky Walls, President of 12 Stars Media , calls it Real. Simple. Video. Think about it. No one should expect a business tour video to go viral, regardless of how professional the production. But ask yourself, what does go viral, real and simple, or slick and produced?

Takeaway – Video production companies who have positioned themselves to connect with small and mid-size businesses will have a golden opportunity in 2015. Regardless of what’s most effective, homegrown or outsourced, video production providers will be in demand. And don’t misunderstand me there’s a place for production video. However, there’s also a place for in-house imperfect video. Not every video needs to shot by a professional. A video that shares a compelling story, shows how-to, solves a problem, entertains, or acts as a customer testimonial doesn’t need to be perfect. When video is too slick, overproduced, it may not come off as sincere.

Web Design 

The internet is strewn with outdated, poorly functioning, and badly designed websites. More small and mid-size businesses are beginning to understand how important a professional website is to the survival of their business. Four keys in particular.

  • Mobile – The majority of web time is spent on mobile and will continue to grow eventually dominating usage. A professional designed site functions effectively on every type of device.
  • Segmentation- Consumers expect their needs and wants to be catered to. If they visit a site looking for “A”, they don’t want to know about “B”. Companies who heed the needs of the consumer and follow-up with products and services tailored to the individual will capture a larger percentage of market share.
  • Analytics – The ability to quickly breakdown and analyze web functions will increase in importance. Beta tests to specific markets will increase. Breaking down visits to who, what, when, where, how, and why will inform future initiatives.
  • Fluidity – Websites aren’t stagnant. They change, and they change quickly. The ability to easily update, test, and delete will be critical to keeping up with modern marketing.

Takeaway –  If you’re a professional web designer get the word out, reach out to small and mid-size firms. If they haven’t hired a pro either in-house or freelance provider, they need to. And it’s your job to show them why. On the other side of the coin if your business is using your distribution managers son, who took a class at a community college, to run your site—shame on you. Would you allow a first-year college student, who aspired to be an attorney, handle your legal affairs? Why not? An unprofessional website may expose your organization to more loss than an unqualified solicitor.

Content, video, and web design will be key components of social media marketing success in 2015. I could talk about, cascading copy, visual content, social media ads, and more—all will have repercussions, but my top three are critical; content, video, and web design will make and break small businesses in 2015.  What are your predictions?