In tackling the world of social media I see staying on top of the latest trends as one of the most important strategies you can have. This seems like an obvious statement to make. Of course we want to be on the cutting edge of what’s happening in social media. Unfortunately most of us find ourselves lagging behind or not really seeing the result we want. Like I have mentioned in past blog posts social media is meant to be ‘social’, it is about connecting and communicating. It is an experience. We are constantly changing the way we do that. The things that were cool and trendy back when I was in high school are far from that today. The slang I used would go right over a young persons head now. And the rate of change is excellerating at a crazy rate. No one would argue with me on that.

Now let’s bring that into our social media strategies. Here are 5 ways that have helped me.

1. Pay Attention To Industry Leaders
This doesn’t just mean looking inside your own industry. I am currently reading Carmine Gallo’s “Innovation Secrets of Steve Jobs” and what has stuck out to me is how much Steve found inspiration from industries that were totally unrelated to computers. He looked at the 4 Seasons Hotel when creating the new Apple Retail stores. He did this because it was about the experience not moving product.

2. Read Expert Blogs
The internet allows us access to amazing training resources. You no longer have to spend thousands of dollars on a course or degree in order to learn. The same applies to social media. So stay in touch with the experts and what they have to say. I recommend mashable.com as well as Mark Ragan for great expert advice.

3. Listen To Your Audience
In the end it honestly doesn’t matter what the latest trend is if that trend doesn’t connect and relate to your audience. So if you try out the latest Facebook Post trend and it doesn’t get much of a response don’t keep doing it.

4. Try New Things
Don’t keep posting the same old types of links or quotes. Trends change and people get bored with content that looks and feels the same. They see it more as something manufactured by a brand instead of something that connects with them personally.

5. Don’t Stop
Consistency is huge in social media. I frequently see profiles created on the latest social networking sites that start off strong but then sit stagnant. Quality should come before quantity when it comes to this. So focus on what you find is working the best and keep it going.