Back in 2009, when I first started presenting social media workshops, staying on top of changes was pretty easy. There was only Facebook. Twitter was in its infancy; Google Buzz had been resurrected as Google+; and oh yeah, Justin Timberlake had infused cash and cachet to repurpose and resurrect My Space!
Nearly a decade later, Facebook continues to top the leaderboard when it comes to social media platforms. Twitter has grown in popularity, but struggles to sustain its infrastructure. Google+ exists but struggles to remain relevant. And while “JT” successfully brought Sexy Back, he just wasn’t able to bring My Space back.
I can’t tell you how many times during one of my presentations, my Facebook page would change suddenly, and I’d have to scramble overnight or during a break to change my presentation to reflect the current version. That’s when I first discovered Social Media Today, a great resource that wrote great blogs on what was trending for each social media platform. It sponsored weekly webinars with experts to help navigate this new and ever-changing frontier. They could always translate who, what, when, where, why and how for any of the social media platforms!
Then in 2012 I discovered Social Media Examiner. I attended their first on-ground social media conference, Social Media Marketing World, in San Diego, California. I was blown away by this experience because of all the social media experts who attended. I could ask these luminaries questions live and in person. Everyone from the undisputed Facebook Queen Mari Smith to the original LinkedIn Expert Viveka von Rosen shared great tips and tools to help.
By 2012 though, there were way too many platforms for me to keep up with without a team. People coming to my workshops still expected a “guru” for social media marketing ideas for every platform. So I had to implement a way to stay on top of all the changes and the emergence of new technologies in a way that was not overwhelming, but manageable. So now I’m going to share the 10 things I do to stay current on social media. You can do these, too:
- Subscribe to a social media publication that will send you a weekly update of what’s new with social media direct to your inbox. As I’ve already shared, my favorites are Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner. Check out their links above. For me, getting the weekly update every Friday allows me to review it and share what’s great on my own social pages, and schedule time in my calendar to try a new feature or play with a new technology. If you have staff, you can forward it to them for follow-up.
- Sign-up for webinars offered through the platforms to help you understand emerging trends or learn how to execute a new feature. Facebook Blue Print is an awesome immersive experience for users, and with its acquisition of Instagram you can learn best practices for both via this learning portal. Event Manager’s Blog also offers webinars on various ways to use social media specifically for promoting your next event. Social Media Today also has a webinar tab and hosts a webinar every Wednesday about all social media trends.
- Become a student of established platform educational modules like You Tube Academy for lessons on best practices. Twitter for Business and Pinterest for Business also have great You Tube channels with great how-to videos. Just subscribe, and whenever a new video is uploaded they’ll send a link to your email.
- Follow the social media pages of influencers in the social space for innovation and ideas. Here’s a great list to help you get started.
- Listen to planner podcasts that talk about great ways to implement social media and other tips for making your event super successful.
- Read blogs from service providers like Bizzabo, Eventbrite or Intellitix to learn the best practices for how to provide specific services to attendees. Some of my favorite writers on this topic from these blogs are Stephen Kim, Brandon Rafalson, Nick Morpus and David Epstein.
- Attend one of the many event planner conferences each year to learn how to use social media at an event live and in-person. You may even find someone who can help you develop, design and or execute a social media strategy for your next event.
- Take advantage of Meeting Professional International and other industry association gatherings. Many chapters offer educational or annual meetings. Hopefully there’s a social media track that will allow you to learn best practices from other members.
- Aspire to put on an award winning event like the IEEE Women in Engineering International Leadership Conference, a Shorty nominee for its 2016 event. The “Shorty” awards have a category that honors the best use of social media to elevate events including concerts, conferences, marches, rallies and meetups. Previous winners in this category include Ted Talks.
- InterCom Magazine is creating articles in response to your questions on social media in every issue – so keep them coming. Be sure to leave comments so we can help you stay current with the ever changing world of social media.
Commit to picking one thing from the list that you will do every week to start building your social media knowledge. Then implement one practice that you’ve learned every month. As you become more comfortable and start making social media a priority for your events and your business, explore other options from the list. That’s how you stay current with the ever-changing world of social media!
Sherry Hayes-Peirce is a SoCal-based social media strategist helping organizations and churches inform, inspire and engage their communities. As a speaker, blogger, coach and trainer she shares strategies and tactics for effective communication in our mobile world. LinkedIn. Facebook.