With the spread of social media usage, most businesses have at least a small social media presence as part of their marketing efforts. However, it is still considered more of a luxury as marketers and businesses have yet to be convinced of the ROI. However, social media marketing is set to become a necessity soon. To benefit from the many advantages of this new form marketing departments have to work toward integrating their social media efforts with their overall marketing strategy and efforts. The changes expected in social media marketing in the near future are likely to include the following.

Necessity, Not a Luxury
Businesses that are using social media for marketing are already witnessing lead generation, referral traffic, and increased revenue from their efforts. In order to capitalize on these developments, many businesses are likely to retain the services of specialized social media marketing experts instead of their existing employees. Social media marketing provides better social signals, branding, SEO, awareness, customer loyalty, and audience reach – making it a vital component of marketing activities for any business.

Integration into Overall Marketing Campaign
While earlier, many businesses assumed that social media campaigns could stand alone, they now realize that an integrated campaign that includes social media, offline, and online advertising can help increase sales and revenues significantly. While traditional marketing campaigns in the online and offline media communicated with the target audience, social media makes it a two way interaction. Many companies have benefitted from retaining the services of social media companies to help integrate and monitor the social media component of their campaigns.

Mobility Is Key
Forbes predicts that by 2017, almost 87 percent of all connected devices will be mobile. Many people already use mobile devices to check and interact via social media, making it imperative that social media marketing efforts have a properly developed mobile component. Studies have also shown that people do not mind social media ads when they use mobile devices. Facebook is set to increase its share of the global mobile ads from 5.35 percent to 15.8 percent with the overall mobile ad market growing to $16.65 billion, an increase of 89 percent. As consumers increasing go mobile, social media companies interact with customers using engaging mobile content.

Google+
One prominent role of social media marketing is the way it can be used to increase search engine rankings. Google+ is now integrated with Google search engine in such as way that it permits a deeper engagement with the target audience. Social media companies now need to use Google+ as it is increasing its user base, enabling new connections to be formed, and adding demographic information and location to the mix. While Facebook still leads as the social media leader, Google+ is also becoming an important tool for marketers that want to increase their social media audience size.

Images
With attention spans becoming shorter and people preferring to share images, social media marketing is expected to increasing rely on images. A spectacular or mesmerizing image will capture the interest of the audience and is likely to be widely shared, increasing the reach of the message. Ecommerce is now becoming more Pinterested and other image sharing social networks such as Tumblr, Slideshare, Path, and Mobli are also likely to be used to share compelling images to help increase sales.

Video
Cisco forecasts that by 2015, 85 percent of all Internet traffic will be video. With video sharing sites such as Instagram and Vine becoming popular and many individuals using their smart phone cameras to capture and post videos, businesses need to ensure that their social media campaign includes videos as well.

Retargeting Ads
When a consumer browses the web for particular information, the browser captures this information and ads for the product are subsequently presented to them when they visit social media sites. Social media marketing companies as well as Facebook offer this ad retargeting service. While only 2 percent of web traffic leads to a sale in the first instance, constant retargeting of ads ensures that the product remains fresh in the mind of the consumer, enabling a sale. While consumers are not comfortable with this invasion of privacy, browser cookies and ad retargeting are likely to increase in the near future.