That being said, being on the forefront of social media changes isn’t impossible either. There are many things you can do to keep on top of the latest trends. So here are a few suggestions on ways you can do just that — even by using social media itself!
The best place to find out the most recent news about social is … social media! Start by creating a stream on Twitter with popular social media hashtags. You can use terms like #socialmediamarketing, #smchat, or #TwitterTip — if you need more ideas, check out Hashtag.org. Be careful of using something too general (like #marketing) because you will soon see a swarm of tweets flooding into your stream.
HubSpot customers, you can create your stream right in HubSpot using Social Inbox. First, start by typing your hashtag into the search box at the top.
Then check out your results! You will see a list of people matching your search term and tweets matching your search term.
If you like the sample results that you see, you can create a stream with that hashtag.
If you’re not a HubSpot customer, you can save searches directly on Twitter in a very similar manner.
The beauty about social media is that the people who are experts in it often hang out there. Whenever there is a new announcement or takeaway regarding social media, you will find influencers tweeting and having discussions about it.
Use the hashtags that you gathered in the previous example and pick out the most active and/or insightful people tweeting there. Make a Twitter list based on your findings and spend some time each day running through the list to see what they have to say. And don’t be shy to ask them questions yourself. After all, that’s what social media is all about!
If you want some help getting started, here’s a list of social media experts and influencers that we admire. It is a public list so you can follow it, too.
Now that you have a list of influencers that you can follow on social media, you can set up a Google Alert for some of them. That way you will get regular updates when they post content or are interviewed about social media. Pick your top three favorite influencers and set up Google Alerts for them. This will help you stay up to date on any breaking news in the industry. A bit of a warning though, I would recommend getting these alerts once a day so your inbox isn’t completely clogged.
All you have to do is type in your search term (the influencer’s name), select the types of results you want to see (news, blogs, videos, etc.), select your frequency, and you are ready to go.
You can also choose to do this for certain social media terms or trends. I recommend getting as detailed as possible though because if you search for something general like “social media,” you will get more results than you can manage.
Discussions on LinkedIn about social media for business are extremely lively. Whether there’s an update to Facebook, a new social network that’s making traction, or a new theory on the future of social media, you are sure to find it in LinkedIn groups. Even better, you will meet a lot of other social media enthusiasts that you can network with and ask questions.
Here are a few I recommend checking out:
Also subscribe to a few blogs that post content about social media so you can be sure that you won’t miss anything. If there’s a new feature or trend, it will definitely be on written about in detail on these blogs. More important than subscribing to these blogs is making sure you set aside time each week to read through your content. Block off as much time as you need to go through the content — that could be anywhere from 15 minutes a day or 15 minutes a week.
Here are a few blogs to get you started that frequently cover social media:
Take the time to go to a social media conference. This will be a great opportunity to hear from social media experts in the industry and be able to ask the burning questions you may have. You will get the most up-to-date advice about running a social media campaign and what you should know when using social media.
However, it isn’t realistic for all of us to pack up and go to every single conference that talks about social media. If you are unable to attend the conference in person, you should definitely follow along remotely. Every social media conference will have a corresponding Twitter hashtag that you can follow during the conference, and a lot of the tweets will be quotes from the social media sessions so you will still get access to some of the information shared there.
For example, every year we host an inbound marketing conference called INBOUND, and we’ll often cover top social media trends there. The following stream shows people who are talking about the conference with the hashtag #INBOUND14.
What other ways do you stay up to date on social media trends? What’s your go-to resource?