Recognizing social media trends is one of the most valuable skills in the world of social media. No other industry changes at such a fast pace as the world of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
The social networks constantly publish new features, which makes it sometimes difficult for users out there to keep up with all the developments being offered to them. The pace of change in social media marketing is more like the speed of a soaring space shuttle than a three-legged egg and spoon race.
In practice, that means that everyone who works in social media not only needs to keep up with the pace of the industry but has to adapt to new situations on an ongoing basis. This also means that you constantly have to follow up on trending topics and changes to the algorithms of the major platforms.
But how do you stay informed? And how do you stay on top of things? The internet is full of resources to educate yourself on this topic, but where do you start and what do you really need to know?
There are many ways to widen your horizon. You can exchange knowledge with your colleagues, attend local social media meetups or read a specialist magazine on this topic. You can also read social media blogs, take part in an online course or listen to a podcast.
Blogs are, as we all know, accessible 24/7 and the best thing about them is that you don’t have to wait until the next issue is printed. Online courses give you the chance to learn in your own time and, most importantly, at your own pace. Podcasts are a brilliant resource to get hands-on knowledge from industry experts while on the go.
To give you a better understanding of how to learn more about social media trends, I want to give you more information on three different formats. Not only providing my own opinion, but also tips from experts in the field of digital marketing.
Social Media Courses
I already mentioned that educating yourself is among the most important things you should do as a digital marketer. One of the best ways to do this is to enroll on a digital marketing course. But of all the courses available, which is the right one for you?
First of all, it’s necessary to know which area you want to improve. This will already limit your possibilities but it will also give you a clear overview of your own social media goals.
One really good overview of great online classes is found in this list of 37 Free Social Media and Marketing Courses clustered into different topics. The advantage of this list is that you find a short description of every course, which should make the choice for you a bit easier.
The variety of classes span from introductory social media marketing classes, to specific digital marketing training with a focus on email - and Inbound Marketing.
These learning resources are really helpful for both beginners, who need to learn the craft from scratch, and advanced users, who just want to elevate their skills to the next level.
Some free social media courses you might like:
Social Media Blogs
Including blog-reading in our daily routine is one of the most important lessons we have learned in the past two years. Separating a specific amount of time every day to read social media blogs definitely elevated our own skills. Not only did reading blog posts and getting more information help us, it also encouraged us to start sharing articles among our marketing team and exchange our thoughts on them.
The problem is that there are so many blogs out there it’s sometimes hard to keep track. To narrow this list down and to give you some recommendations for finding inspirational and reliable resources, I asked some fellow marketing colleagues which blogs they like to read.
Let’s hear what the other marketers have to say about their favorite social media blogs.
“Because their articles are often based on their own research; they try to make a link between social media engagement and real-world parameters, such as success in business or in politics.”
“I like how it keeps up with all the latest social media news. I can simply click on one platform and learn all the latest news. Moreover, it also highlights interesting campaigns and interviews to learn more from other experts in the sector.”
Pascal from Userlike - a live chat software provider - told us he gets his information from the Buffer blog. If you haven’t read it yet, you should immediately head over to their page. Just to let you in on an internal quintly secret: It’s also one of our favorites! Let us hear what Pascal has to say about them:
“The articles on Buffer Social just dive a bit deeper into the topics, often explaining the consumer psychology that underlie their tips and best practices. I like to understand the 'why' behind the 'what' and 'how', and that's what the Buffer Blog offers.”
Another insight came from Patrick Whatman from Spendesk who recommends Later to us. A great resource for everyone interested in Instagram.
“I love that Later pays close attention to the algorithm and other tricks of the Instagram trade. And they really focus on using the platform as a tool for growing your business, not just building a personal brand. “
To add some personal favorites to this list, here are a few blogs I think you should keep an eye on to learn more about recent developments in the digital marketing sphere.
A look at Digiday is always worthwhile for anybody interested in topics beyond the classic digital marketing field. They provide not only insights into news relating to advertising, publishing and new media, but also offer many practical blog posts.
If you wanted to sum up Neil Patel in one word, ‘influencer’ is the word you would have to use. But this is still not sufficient to describe one of the leading digital marketing experts.
A look at one of his best practice posts immediately shows you that Neil knows what he is talking about. Anyone that wants more information should subscribe to his newsletter - it’s worth it.
Social Media Examiner
Michael Stelzner’s Social Media Examiner is one of the best social media marketing resources out there. From an early stage, Michael and his team concentrated on educating marketers on how to use social media in the best possible way. The blog is full of great information on how to connect with your client base, provides information on how to increase your traffic, generate awareness and eventually increase your sales.
Social Media Podcasts
In the past few years, podcasts have become more and more popular. New podcasts are popping up constantly, which makes it hard to keep track of all the new podcasts available.
But why are they now omnipresent? The reasons for the recent success of podcasts are manifold. You can listen to them while you take a walk, on your commute or during your workout. Accessibility is one factor, but the other is the information this format contains.
Listening to a podcast is like listening to a group of friends that share the same interest. For this particular reason, podcasts are a great learning resource, and one that helps you to identify social media trends.
Social Media Lab by Agorapulse
This podcast has only one aim and that is to provide you with valuable information. But how is this different to other podcasts? Imagine social media scientists having a monthly budget to solve the big social media questions. Or how Agorapulse put it:
“Our goal is to invest over $15k per month to help “Crack the Code” of social media, and then report those results to you so you don’t have to do the dirty work!”
Great podcast for everyone that wants to have direct insights into some mysterious social media fields.
- Does Using Emojis on Instagram Lead to More Engagement?
- 30 Hashtags on Instagram Posts: Yes or No?
- Scientific Proof on the Follow/Unfollow Strategy: Twitter & Instagram
Neal Schaffer Podcast
Everyone that is active in the sphere of digital marketing has at least once encountered one of Neal Schaffer’s tweets or read one of his blog posts. The good thing is that Neal’s knowledge is not only available in written form, it’s also available to listen to.
While writing his posts, Neal published 128 episodes in which he covers the bases of social media and other tricks that will elevate your own skill set. A podcast full of invaluable information, from high-level strategy advice to simple tips and tricks, to influencer marketing.
- 10 Tips to Hack Your Social Media Growth
- What Content Marketers Can Learn from Publishers
- 7 Reasons Why LinkedIn Should Become Your New CRM
Social Media Marketing with Michael Stelzner
No, this is not a paid partnership with the Social Media Examiner, but not only is their blog great, their podcast is worth listening to too.
What has the show to offer? Beside success stories and expert interviews from leading social media marketing professionals, you will discover how successful businesses employ social media, learn new strategies and tactics, and gain actionable tips to improve your social media marketing.
- The Facebook Ad Algorithm: What Marketers Need to Know
- Instagram Stories Strategy: How to Make Stories That Benefit Your Business
- Facebook Groups: How to Develop Engaging Communities
Twitter Smarter Podcast with Madalyn Sklar
And here is our last recommendation. This pod is called “Twitter Smarter Podcast” and is hosted by Madalyn Sklar, who interviews social media and online marketing experts from around world. Madalyn’s show is suited best for everyone that wants the best Twitter insights, information, and resources.
- Systems, Strategies and Tools to Maximize Twitter with Lilach Bullock
- Auditing Your Twitter Content Strategy with Dan Knowlton
- Best Tips For More Engaging Content on Twitter with Andrew and Pete
Go out and identify social media trends
But the journey doesn't end here, because now comes the crucial part which requires your effort, input and action. Meaning, go out and try all the new knowledge you have acquired, and test it out in the “real” (in our case digital) world.
This newly acquired knowledge is, of course, only of value if you really use it in practice on an ongoing basis. Repetition and real life experience are they key if you want to be on top of things in the social media sphere.
I hope all the resources I’ve mentioned give you a good overview of how you can improve your own skills and your co-workers’ too. Use the comment section below to share with me your favorite resources. Really looking forward to interacting with you.