That pesky social media. Just when you think you’ve got a handle on it—that you’re hip, you’re in the game—the tectonic plates shift a bit and suddenly, you’re behind the curve. Even worse, you’re outdated. Like when parents descended upon Facebook to keep tabs on… I mean, stay connected to their kids, and gen Y and Z fled to Instagram and Snapchat, leaving Facebook adults trapped in a miasma of political opinions and cat memes. Staying current on social can be overwhelming and feel impossible.
Travelocity and Kayak Founder Terry Jones zeroed in on the rapidly changing nature of digital and social media during his mesmerizing presentation at RISMedia’s 21st Annual Power Broker Dinner in November. As Jones explained, marketing has become a two-way street. “People are involved and engaged” through a multitude of digital mediums, such as blogs, wikis, podcasts, reviews, social networks, Bluetooth, boards and videos. “Relationships are changing. And if you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less,” said Jones, quoting U.S. Army General Eric Shinseki.
However, when it comes to change, Jones stressed, “You don’t necessarily need to know how to do it; you just need to know that you have to do it.” In other words, we don’t need to be the implementers of change, we just need to realize when it’s necessary and enlist the skills and services of those who know how to put change in motion.
With that in mind, here are five painless ways to stay in step with changes in the social media world and avoid missing out on business opportunities:
1. Hire a kid. This was one simple solution Jones offered for keeping up with social media and digital trends. He shared the story of his son who launched a successful video gaming company while still in college with four other students he never met! The entire collaboration was done virtually…and successfully. So lean on the younger generation—both in your office and at the dinner table—for information on the most current social media strategies, and new and evolving digital platforms.
2. Stay selectively informed. There’s even more information out there about social media than there is actual social media, so select just two or three good social media blogs and subscribe via RSS feed or newsletter. Here’s a list of good ones to consider from Brand24. Set up the alert frequency for as often as you’d like, i.e., once a day, so you can easily give them a quick scan.
3. Let the experts implement the plan. Perhaps the easiest way to make sure your social media is current is to subscribe to a service that takes care of it for you, making sure you never miss a beat. Programs like RISMedia’s Automated Content Engagement (ACE) take the guesswork out of what to share when by automatically posting daily articles, videos, infographics and more to the social media sites of your choosing. This starts generating exactly the type of engagement Jones was talking about.
4. Follow the influencers. Think Arianna Huffington, Seth Godin, or our friend Terry Jones @terrellbjones. Pick your top three social media influencers and follow them to stay on top of trends and see how they’re using social to their advantage.
5. Keep one foot in the industry. While it’s important to know what’s happening across the board in social media, make sure you also tune into what’s happening within our own industry. A social media trend that might be all the rage in one field might be a bust for real estate. Follow industry media sources and blogs, attend a social media session at your next industry conference, see what your clients are doing on social media, and talk to the people in your own office…especially those millennials.
I’ll close with the quote from Charles Darwin that Jones used to end his presentation: “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change.” Enough said.