Digital marketing, and social media in particular, seem to evolve faster than other aspects of business. This is mostly due to the proliferation of technology. So how can you, as a business owner or digital marketing professional, stay “in the know?” Is there a way to assure you don’t fall behind?
4 Tips for Staying Current
There’s no textbook that tells you how to stay current, but there are some tried and true techniques that many of today’s successful digital marketers use to keep from falling behind.
1. Follow the Right Blogs
You can learn a lot by following the right people on social media, but if you really want to stay in the know, you’ll need more than the 140 characters that Twitter gives you. That’s why it’s a smart idea to find some industry leading blogs with good reputations and bookmark them in your browser
You don’t need to read everything that’s published on these blogs, but do browse the headlines every few days just to get a pulse on what’s happening. You’ll begin to see some new trends and identify a few opportunities. As a perk, you’ll also start to recognize who the industry and niche-level thought leaders are.
2. Meet With Your Peers
While saturating yourself in online content is important, nothing replaces face-to-face conversation and relationships. In addition to social networking, you need to regularly meet with your peers to discuss what they see happening in the digital marketing industry.
Some people like to form small, formal groups where they meet on a regular basis for the sole purpose of discussing new developments. Others take a more informal approach and just make sure they’re spending time with the right people throughout the week. There are also digital marketing groups and hangouts in most big cities.
Whatever you do, make sure you aren’t trying to exist on your own. There’s a lot of power in surrounding yourself with other people who have similar goals.
3. Use Industry Leading Tools
You don’t have to do as much manual excavation as you once did to find relevant information online. There are lots of tools and resources you can use to automate and streamline the process of staying updated on new trends.
For example, a tool like Google Trends makes it easy to plug in some keywords and see what people are publishing and searching for. It’s also pretty simple to create a Google Alert for a particular topic and get an automated update every time something new is published.
4. Pay Attention to the Big Brands
Big brands – those with solid reputations as leaders in digital marketing – usually have a good idea of what’s happening in the industry. In fact, many actually control the trajectory of the industry. As such, you can learn a lot by simply observing what they do.
Once you notice that a number of different “leading” brands are doing something new, this should signal that there’s a shift in the way things are being done. That tells you that you should do some more research in an attempt to move forward.
Remeber: Don’t Let the Industry Surpass You
One of the most intimidating parts of the digital marketing industry is how quickly it evolves. From one month to the next, a certain technique can go from being a best practice to an obsolete strategy. Carve out some time in your schedule to stay up to date on trends and don’t let the industry surpass you.