Forbes magazine made news this week with an article that identified seven social media trends to watch for in 2014. Social media expert Mitch Weight, owner of Utah-based Virtel Marketing, said the magazine was spot-on with its predictions for next year.

Forbes is the publication that many businesspeople turn to for answers,” Weight said. “It’s fitting for the magazine to report about these social media trends as more and more commerce moves online.”

First, Forbes predicted that “investment in social media will become a necessity, not a luxury.”

“Most savvy businesspeople have known for years that visibility in social media is a must,” Weight said. “In 2014, the outliers will relent and finally begin building their companies on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and other social networks.”

Companies with robust social media marketing campaigns see many benefits, Weight explained.

“Greater brand recognition, inexpensive advertising and stronger relationships with customers are just a few of the gains,” Weight said. “Engagement is the key. To win at social media, you must create a community where people want to hang out and interact with each other.”

Forbes also predicted that Google’s social network, Google+, would become an important factor in marketing campaigns in 2014.

“Google+ is already the second-largest social network,” Weight said.

Facebook boasts about 1.15 billion users, according to Forbes. Officials at Google+ claim to have about 343 million users.

“I’m often asked whether social media marketing impacts a company’s search engine optimization,” Weight said. “Having already influenced search rankings, we believe Google+ will become an even more significant factor in the overall search experience.”

Writers at Forbes said the Foursquare social network will decline significantly in 2014. Weight agreed. Weight also agreed with the publication that the revamped MySpace, and image-based networks like Pinterest and Vine would expand dramatically next year.

“A decade ago, MySpace was the first social network many of us had ever visited,” Weight said. “After several years on Facebook, Twitter and Google+, I was excited to go back.”

According to Forbes, other social media trends to watch for in 2014 include:

  • The rise of micro-video
  • LinkedIn becoming a major player for B2B business growth