This guest post is by Lior Levin.
Who has the time to stay on top of the latest trends on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest while still running a business or marketing department?
Unless you can figure out efficient ways to keep on top of social media, you’ll become overwhelmed. New social media outlets are popping up all the time, and the existing ones are evolving just as quickly.
If you are going to continue to use social media effectively, you have to maintain an awareness of the changes that are happening. Here are six simple ways to stay on top of social media.
1. Read social media news through Flipboard
With Facebook and Twitter at your disposal, you know where to find a lot of trends, but the hard part is efficiently sorting through all of the news. Flipboard adopts a magazine-style interface to make reading your social media news simple.
Kip Bodnar of HubSpot says of Flipboard, “This application and others like Pulse take information from news sources and social networks like Twitter and Facebook and display them in the form of a digital magazine, instead of boring lists of headlines like most RSS readers.”
2. Read leading blogs about social media
Plenty of bloggers out there devote their time and energy to providing their audiences with the most up-to-date information on social media outlets. Why not become part of their audience?
The article I mentioned from HubSpot is just the beginning of their resources on social media. HubSpot’s marketing team regularly blogs about social media trends such as the rise of mobile marketing, and provides additional resources in regularly published ebooks.
Let other folks do the hard work. All you have to do is become a loyal follower.
3. Use social media monitoring tools
You can easily search through social media trends without having to do your own narrow searches on individual sites. Priit Kallas has a helpful list of 48 social media monitoring tools, and section B mentions some of the best tools you can use to keep track of social media trends.
Perhaps the best tool in his list, depending on your needs, is Addictomatic. Kallas writes, “Addictomatic searches the best live sites on the web for the latest news, blog posts, videos and images. It’s a tool to keep up with the hottest topics, perform ego searches and get info on what’s up, what’s now or what other people are feeding on.”
4. Subscribe to newsletters about social media
“Some newsletters are worth signing up for,” writes SS Digital Media. “If you really want to stay in touch with social media, sign up for a daily newspaper such as SmartBrief. If you prefer weekly updates, check out newsletters such as SocialFresh.”
Search the web for social media experts—most of them have free newsletters that will keep you in the loop on changes made by existing social media outlets, as well as some of the new outlets preparing to enter the market. One great place to start is the Social Fresh Newsletter, which sends out seven insights each week. You can also sign up for an industry-leading Twitter blog like TwitTip via email.
5. Get social media training and certification
Maybe you’d like to take more of an official route in staying up-to-date on social media changes. If so, consider taking one of the many social media certification classes available, as recommended by OneIMS.
“Social media is becoming so important and popular among businesses that there are now several training and certification programs you can take to be at top of the social media field. If you are the go-to person at your company for all things social media or even if you are someone who wants to learn everything they can about social media is beneficial to take advantage of the tools and resources that are available for social media training and certification.”
Formal training and/or certification can also open up opportunities for you to share your knowledge with others.
6. Attend social media meetups, conferences, and tweetups
Sometimes the most powerful tool for keeping on top of trends is still word of mouth. You can tap into the wisdom of the social media community by attending meetups, tweetups, and conferences dedicated to social media.
“Whether in person at a meetup or virtually at a tweetup, chatting with like-minded individuals will keep you on your toes, help you predict what’s coming next, and teach you new things about how others are behaving in social media. To find a group of social media fanatics near you check out Meetup.com,” writes Cara Friedman at Mashable.
Taking the time to talk about these topics with other people can be a welcome change from staring at a computer screen or gathering information through a Twitter feed. Not only that, meeting with people in person can help you network in all kinds of different ways.
Pick one or a few of the methods listed above and you’ll stay up-to-date with all the myriad changes in the social media industry. The success of your marketing depends on staying on top of the latest trends, and these tips should make it easy!