Small businesses that think social media is little more than a fad are very much mistaken, according to one online marketing expert.
Search Engine Land editor in chief Danny Sullivan told Search Engine Journal social media will be the most significant area of growth in online marketing over the next three to five years.
Saying that some businesses' websites are getting more referral traffic from Facebook than Google, Sullivan said social media is "not some flash in the pan kind of thing anymore".
He added: "It has grown into a core marketing activity, much the same way search did ... Social is going to continue to be one of the busiest and most changeable areas of internet marketing for a while."
Content marketing: here to stay
Sullivan also highlighted content marketing as a key online marketing trend, saying: "The importance of having high-quality content will not go away."
So how can small businesses ensure their online marketing strategies are future-proof? If Sullivan's advice is anything to go by, investing in content is a surefire way of not only helping in search, but also with social media engagement.
By publishing interesting, relevant content on a regular basis, small businesses can grow a loyal and highly-engaged base of followers over time. Such an audience is able to spread brand awareness and boost the line through repeat custom and attracting new business through recommendation.
As Google continues to use social signals as part of its search algorithms, being 'liked' or retweeted will play an increasingly important part in search. Even without the social element, regular content maximises SEO efforts every time a new blog post or news article is published, as Google likes sites full of pages of informative content.
Find out more about the role of quality content in search:
A Google crash course for small businesses
Read this before jumping on the content marketing bandwagon
Is social media engagement possible without quality content?