How to know which trends to incorporate into your social strategy

Social media does not sit still. There is always a new platform popping up that Kids Today are using and new features being tested all the time on more established platforms. It can be hard to keep up, even when that’s your job. So how do you which trends are worth experimenting with and incorporating into your social strategy, and which are just a flash in the pan, destined to be forgotten in six weeks time?

We’ll lay down some guidelines for determining just that.

And as always, if you have a question, comment or concern (preferably social media related; we’re not doctors) you can find us on Twitter @UnionMetrics.

Do some quick research: What’s new?

If you use something like Feedly to keep up with industry news, be sure you add some sources for social media news in there too. That way you can quickly skim the headlines to see any new platforms that are popping up or new feature announcements on existing platforms.

Make a quick list of everything from the last month or so and decide what sounds like it would be a good fit for your brand and its existing social strategy. You also want to take into account your current resources as well as everything you know about your existing customers, fans and followers.

Once you have this together, you’re ready for our next point.

Ask: Where does my audience like to hang out?

You hopefully already know which platform you audience likes to spend most of their time on because you’re already working to meet them there, but if you don’t now is the time to put some work into answering that question. It’s also possible that their activity and time spend has recently shifted, so even if you think you know it’s never a bad idea to do a check-in.

This information makes it easier to decide if you should test a new feature or whole new platform; if your audience loves Facebook and you haven’t tested Facebook Live, schedule a Q&A and promote it across platforms. If they used to love Snapchat but are getting really quiet there, figure out where they’ve shifted their time spend (possibly Instagram Stories) and experiment with a presence there if you don’t already have one.

Decide how much time you can dedicate to this before you begin though, to avoid slipping on your other obligations.

Have a strategy

Sometimes it works to just jump in blind and start experimenting; that depends on your brand and what your audience expects from you. Usually it’s best to have a strategy outlined before you start posting anywhere. Spend a little time listening to your audience in a new place or see how they’re using a new feature before you use it. If none of them are, who else in your industry is? How are they using it and how can you do better, or solve a problem with it they haven’t noticed yet?

It’s also a good idea to see how other brands outside of your industry are using a new feature on a platform. That can give you ideas no one else in your industry has thought of yet and a really fresh way to connect with your audience.

Measure audience response, lather, rinse, repeat

Be sure you’re measuring your audience’s response to how you’re using a new feature or talking to them in a new place. Every time you know what’s working and what’s not you have data to inform your strategy going forward. Of course we’d love it if you chose Union Metrics to be your social media analytics provider- our Social Suite or other plans put all of your analytics in one place at one time for easy reporting- but the key is to find a provider who matches your needs  and resources.

Just never stop measuring, planning and experimenting based on those measurements, and repeating until the next big thing comes along.

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