The only thing in marketing that changes faster than social media… well, there’s really nothing that does. The different dynamics within each social media site, the way that content distribution changes so regularly, the interactions between the different sites, plus the plethora of high-potential new sites to check out – it can be a huge mess that makes search marketing look like a turtle.
I was asked the other day what my secret was. In truth, I have two. First, having this blog gets me sneak peeks into much of what’s going on in the world of social media. It may not get the kind of traffic that Mashable or Techcrunch get (not even close) but it’s ranked high on Google for “Social Media Blog” and as a result, I get invites regularly. The second secret doesn’t require any special blog or ranking – Twitter.
Every day I check the hashtag #SocialMedia. It’s a long process – on a slow day there may be 60 posts to explore – but it’s worth it. If things are really cranking, if changes are forthcoming, or if trends are shifting, the hashtag is the easiest way to keep on top. I don’t read every article that appears for the hashtag, but I read every Tweet and select the articles that seem to be the most promising. It has been a lifesaver, particular since my full-time job revolves around social media.
This isn’t just a singular piece of advice. You should be doing the same for hashtags in your particular niche. Some are more valuable than others; you’ll have to play around with it to make sure you’re getting the right keywords. Not too big, not too little. Just right is what you’re looking for. You also have to watch out for hashtag hijackers. Unfortunately, Twitter is the type of network that is prone to hijacking. If something is trending, many spammers try to latch onto it by posting profusely or generating a lot of retweets to get their Tweets listed in the trending topic.
Twitter has become as much of a research tool as it is a communication tool for me over the last year. There are so many Tweets that people often neglect it for research. This is a mistake.
The other option, of course, is to just follow my Twitter account. #JustSayin’.