We’re just about ready to close the doors on yet another great year in social media, but we can’t really soar into 2014 until we understand the changes that occurred in 2013. As you analyze your data and think about the goals you hope to achieve in 2014 – more traffic, better leads, improved sales – it’s important to understand the updates that affected marketers as a whole.

Here’s a few highlights to add to the books.

Facebook Updates

  • Graph Search – Graph Search allows users to search for terms included in Facebook posts, updates, check-ins, pages, apps, groups – you name it. This helps marketers target their audience, create content and track brand mentions.
  • Clickable #Hashtags – No longer a Twitter thing, Facebook launched clickable hashtags to make it easier to find content and conversations that relate to a specific topic.

Twitter Updates

  • Images Shown in Feeds – Tweets are made more colorful and engaging now that images are shown directly in the feeds.
  • Lead Generation Cards – Lead Generation Cards help marketers collect leads directly from tweets. For users, all it takes is one click (no need to fill out any forms).

Google+ Updates

  • Site Redesign – Google+ is growing, and its updated platform embraces this continued growth. Some of the newest features include Hangouts and related hashtags. The new site is more user-friendly and helps marketers deliver the right content to the right readers.
  • Comprehensive Dashboard – Marketers can manage their ad campaigns, monitor Google+ notifications, update URLs and start Hangouts right from the convenience of their Dashboard.

Pinterest Updates

  • Web Analytics for Business Accounts – This free service comes with a verified business account and enables marketers to see metrics such as Most Recent, Most Pinned and Most Clicked. Pinterest marketing just got a lot more efficient.
  • Promoted and Rich Pins – To keep ads on Pinterest tasteful and subtle, Promoted Pins were launched, and they promote certain pins from certain businesses. Rich Pins, on the other hand, are those that are reserved for stellar content, such as recipes, products, articles and movies.

LinkedIn Updates

  • LinkedIn Contacts – LinkedIn Contacts is a newer tool that helps users maintain important business relationships. The feature pulls pertinent information from the address book and stores them in one place.
  • Sponsored Updates – This advertising option gives marketers the opportunity to promote any post from a Company Page, increasing exposure and community rapport.

Instagram Updates

  • Sponsored Ads – Rolling with the changes, Instagram, too, adopted Sponsored Ads. So far, it’s the companies that have an impressive following on Instagram that have been given the test drive, so these ads are appearing in users’ feeds.
  • Video Content – Instagram is known for its photos, but users can now upload videos to be played seamlessly in the feeds.

And – there you have it. A look back at the biggest social media updates in 2013. What will 2014 bring?