The Next Big Thing in Social Media (Hint: It’s Not What You Think)
Last week, I attended Social Media Marketing World in San Diego. It was great to reconnect with friends and colleagues, like my podcast co-host, Stan Smith! And, it was great to finally meet folks I had connected with online and meet new folks from around the world.
On the second day of the conference, I was talking to two ladies who lamented that they were hoping to hear about “the next big thing” in social media. They said they heard a lot of the same stuff they’ve heard before – create better content, amplify it through social media, etc.
But, they wanted to know, what’s next? Where are things heading with social media?
I’m sure they’re not the only people to ask this question. This is something that we all think about, isn’t it? We want to know what will be the next Instagram, Snapchat or Meerkat. We want to anticipate what’s coming next so we can be ahead of the curve and beat our competitors.
However, some interesting research shows something a bit different.
Why Marketers are Slow Adopters
During Michael Stelzner’s opening talk, he shared some research about social media marketing. One of the statistics that stood out to me was one that addressed how marketers respond to trends. Although I don’t recall the exact statistic, the vast majority of marketers are NOT early adopters.
When it comes to new social media channels, such as Ello or Meerkat, marketers aren’t typically the first to sign up. Instead, they wait and see.
At first, I was a bit surprised by this. But, the more I thought about it, I realized why this happens.
Although marketers need to have their finger on the pulse of the industry, they don’t dive headfirst into every new channel that hits the market.
There are dramatically more marketing channels available to us today than ever before and it takes considerable resources to master what we already have available to us. Chasing the next big thing only distracts us from our goals and strategy. I call this shiny object syndrome.
Stop Chasing the Next Big Thing
If you want to be successful with your social media marketing, you must do something a bit different.
Here’s what I recommend doing instead:
1. Execute better than anyone else.
Like the attendees I spoke to, I didn’t hear many ideas that were entirely new. But, that doesn’t mean there aren’t huge opportunities to stand out.
One of the best ways to do that is to focus on executing better than anyone else. The reason why many businesses don’t succeed with their marketing is that they don’t follow through.
Joe Pulizzi gave a great talk about content marketing strategy. It’s something I already know quite well. But, he walked attendees through a 6-step process on how to use your content to stand out in a crowded niche.
He laid out the formula for success. He told everyone exactly what to do.
But, most people won’t be successful with it.
They won’t follow through.
If you want to beat your competitors, build a plan and then obsessively follow it. If you focus on executing better than anyone else, you’ll win because most companies don’t have the commitment or stamina to stick with it.
As Jay Baer said,
Don’t focus on the tools. Focus on HOW you use them.
2. Get inspiration from others.
Multiple speakers shared this popular phrase:
Good artists copy, the best artists steal.
Look to what others are doing. Most of the best ideas out there aren’t altogether new. They have just been copied or stolen from someone else. The next big thing for your company might be stealing an idea that has worked for a company in another industry.
For instance, during Gini Dietrich’s panel at the conference, Susan Beebe from Tyson Foods shared a fantastic idea you can use. Susan talked about an instance where an incorrect article about her company was ranking high in Google results. Although Tyson Foods had already written resources about this very topic, it was buried on page five.
So, what did they do to fix the problem?
They used Google Pay-Per-Click ads to drive traffic to the resource on THEIR site. Not only did this put Tyson’s information front and center when people were searching, but the traffic driven to that page eventually boosted the organic search results as well.
This is a great idea that you can steal and use for your organization.
Watch what other companies are doing and see how you can implement those ideas for your company.
3. Watch the trends.
Although you don’t need to obsess over the latest and greatest tools, it pays to watch marketing trends.
For instance, a number of speakers at Social Media Marketing World mentioned Meerkat, the live streaming Twitter video app that gained attention at South by Southwest. (Which now already seems to be decimated by Twitter’s rival app, Periscope. See? This world moves fast.)
Video has long been a growing trend in the social media space, so it makes sense to pay attention to what happens with Meerkat and other similar tools.
Am I working on a Meerkat or Periscope strategy for my clients or my company?
But, I am testing the tool and watching to see if it catches on. I’m looking at how others are using it and considering if there might be applications for us.
If you do that, you’ll have a good sense of what tools and trends are catching on. Then, you can test it out to see if it makes sense for your business.
What do you think? If you attended Social Media Marketing World, what did you learn?
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