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The Rise (And Fall) of Social Media: 12 Ways to Capitalize on the Current Trends

This is a guest post by Uttoran Sen.

Social media is very much here, but as those at MySpace can tell you, it’s not always here to stay. The trick to capitalizing on social media trends is to find what is happening now and make it work for you.

This is a guest post by Uttoran Sen.

Social media is very much here, but as those at MySpace can tell you, it’s not always here to stay. The trick to capitalizing on social media trends is to find what is happening now and make it work for you.

1. Follow Your Target Market

Who are you selling to? Kids aren’t on Facebook as much now as they used to be. They are over at Tumblr – are you? Moms, on the other hand, aren’t hanging around Digg or Linkedin. They are over there at Pinterest. There are countless places to be social online, but there’s no sense in selling your craft projects to teenagers on Tumblr or Professionals on LinkedIn. Go where your customers are and develop deep roots in that particular area.

2. Go in Knowledgeable

What’s the point in starting a social media campaign if you’re not going to go in strong? Before you enter the world of Pinterest or Twitter, you had best take some time to scope things out and build your expertise. After all, stumbling around through social media doesn’t reflect well on you or your company, it actually makes you look a bit foolish.

3. Focus Your Efforts

There is huge temptation to jump into as many areas of social media as possible as quickly as possible. Resist the temptation – it’s not always wise. You don’t want to spread yourself too thin across the various platforms so do your market research and determine which platform is actually best for your business, make a plan for how you can use it regularly and well and then develop each element of your social media campaign one step at a time.

4. Choose Deep Over Wide

When you read about the social media campaigns of established marketers you may feel the desire to develop a wide campaign across a lot of platforms or keywords. This runs the risk of spreading you and your resources too thin to actively test any marketing strategy and it may wear you down as well. Rather than going wide over the possibilities, go deep instead and thoroughly investigate the possibilities.

5. Be Active in the Community

The crux of social media is the sense of community that is on the network. If you’re going to actively feel out the community and maximize your marketing efforts within in, you must also participate in it. This has two benefits: One – you gain the trust and respect of others for your name and brand. Two – you learn about desire and how to fill a need in the market from within.

6. Maximize Areas of Interest

You can start a social media campaign on virtually anything (that is legal, usually). The same is true of websites. But in the long term, you’re going to have far better luck with a campaign or website if you’re spending hours on a topic or subject you enjoy a great deal. There are so many groups, forums, trends and possibilities that you can easily maximize the possibilities within your area of expertise or interest rather than having to drum up fake enthusiasm for something else.

7. Test Markets

Once you’ve gotten a toehold in your original target market, start broadening your horizons to look for other opportunities where you can easily scale what you’ve learned by testing other markets. If you’ve cracked the moms of little girls at Pinterest, for example, why not look for ways to target the grandmothers? Or the childless aunts? Some demographics are hard to target, of course, but you’ll never know until you test the market.

8. Exhaust Research

Not only should you be doing your own research, but you should be reading profusely about other people’s experiences. Always read with a grain of salt, of course, the marketing stories written by other people – nobody gives secrets away for nothing in return – but there is a lot to learn even with that grain of salt firmly in place. In addition to market reading, you should also be reading about emerging trends and demographic specifics as well.

9. Avoid Distraction

The hardest element of social media is to avoid getting bogged down in the drama that can easily erupt on the platforms. Of finding yourself staring at someone’s brilliant fireplace remodel pictures instead of updating your own account. Create a routine and strategy for social media that allows you to be part of the community without being sucked in and wasting time. A time limit for your social media campaigning complete with an alarm may be a great way to start.

10. Invent Interest

It’s impossible to be the one finding the big story every second of every day, but you don’t have to always be the one breaking the news if you can create some interest of your own accord. Work to find fresh new ideas – not recycle the ideas and brainstorms of others, especially in your niche. Reader and followers want new material and something to really think about as well. Get creative and your followers will enjoy your material that much more and keep coming back for more.

11. Avoid Trending to a Degree

There is a temptation to jump on bandwagons with social media, and it’s not a bad idea. The trouble is, by the time something is exploding and going viral, you’re already behind the curve. It’s very hard to get ahead of it again, so you’d do best to look for ways to tweak or buy into a trend only if it seems to be long lasting. Going against popular opinion is one daring way to do this. Chasing trends can wear you down in the long run, however. It may be better to create engaging material in your own niches and platforms instead of chasing others.

12. Stay Savvy

Social media moves way too fast to ever get complacent. If you’re going to succeed in a social media marketing campaign, you have to be on top of your game at all times. After all, a social media platform and go from cool to drool in just a few months it seems – that’s not to mention rapidly changing guidelines, rules and legalities as well. Away keep your game face on in social media or you may be the last one holding the bag – it’s a crazy ride for marketers at times.

By Uttoran Sen

Uttoran Sen is a social media expert and a freelance author who writes for Shopify's ecommerce blog. Connect with him on Twitter or Facebook.