Stay Ahead of Social Media Change

by Kausik Baisya

Ok, it’s time for one of those honest conversations among friends, or maybe just with yourself.

Trying to keep up with social media can be overwhelming!

It’s little wonder. We’re right smack dab in the middle of an unprecedented frenzy of change.

Can you recall when the last time was that there was an innovation in television that impacted the way we market our products? In 1975, it was cable TV, and now, debatably, it’s the move toward asynchronous viewing on mobile devices. If you’re one of those that still do a lot of print advertising, the fundamentals haven’t changed much since the advent of the printing press in 1450! Well, ok, maybe some now that printing is done by computer, but I think you get my drift.

But social media? Not only do the social media platforms shift every day, the rules of engagement are changing constantly, too. Can anybody on earth keep up with the real and rumored changes just to Facebook’s EdgeRank formula? I know I can’t! I don’t even bother.

What we considered best practices six months ago are passe’ today. Yes, social media is overwhelming, especially with the assumed pressure to master every new platform that comes along.

But the thing is, as a professional marketer, you have to keep up. How is this possible? Here are seven ideas to help you stay calm and carry on.

Master the marketing fundamentals

The most effective coping mechanism for me has been keeping my focus on the experience in marketing fundamentals. Yes, the platforms keep changing, but the basics of marketing and consumer behavior don’t. So if you can view technological change through the lens of marketing fundamentals, you can more easily weed out the stuff that just isn’t going to make it. If you’re serious about a career in social media marketing, focus on learning the “marketing” part.

Form a support group

You can’t possibly keep up with everything and neither can your friends. But together, you just might make a dent in it. I have a few trusted friends who are more techy or more SEO-y than me. Together we can help each other by discussing the latest trends over lunch once a month. This gives me just enough juice to at least be conversant in a topic.

Consider a focus area

This is a hard thing to think about, but maybe you CAN’T keep up with everything and you need to focus on specialties. I’m starting to see consultants specialize in LinkedIn, Facebook, and video marketing and that’s probably a smart idea because you have a chance to be an expert in at least one thing. I’m struggling with this first, because I teach survey college courses so I have to know something about everything. And frankly, I am having a hard time focusing because I don’t want to miss anything. Everything is interesting to me.

Go where your customers are

Look, maybe it’s time to give up on Path or even (gasp) Google+ and simply stay on top of the platforms important to your customers.

Give yourself a time limit

Are you reading social media blog posts in bed? Maybe it’s time for a self-imposed time limit to force yourself to focus and prioritize. And, to be honest – have a life that isn’t 100%, 24/7 online.

Eliminate engagement guilt

Here is a hard lesson I have had to come to terms with: The more successful you are, the less ability you have to engage with your fans and followers. I hate that. But if I tried to maintain the level of engagement I had even a year ago I would not just be overwhelmed, I would be insane. As your tribe builds, you simply have to adjust and come to grips with the fact that you have a life beyond social media. Some things are going to slip through the cracks. Allow that to be OK.

The curation answer … or not

Now an obvious idea to keep up with social media trends is to go to a highly-respected curated source of content on key social media developments. Here’s the problem (and a business opportunity). This does not exist, at least not any place that meets my needs. Mashable? Too much crap. Social Media Examiner? An excellent site but too much of a focus on “how-to” posts.

(see original article at www.dreamgrow.com)

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