By monitoring the latest developments in technology, client patterns and general opinion and receptiveness to certain ideas, you’ll be giving your brand the best possible chance of success moving forward. And while all that might seem to be pretty straightforward, there’s actually a lot more to it than you might think. The phrase “trends” is one that has become widely used when referring to social media in the modern world, but it’s just as relevant when it comes to other aspects of your business.
Regardless of which trends you want to keep on top of, we’ve put together some emerging trends monitoring tips to ensure that nothing passes you by:
Pay Close Attention to Your Social Networks’ Emerging Trends
We’ll start with the most “modern” use of the word, by applying it to social media. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you will, at the very least, have heard about Twitter’s “trending topics” at least a handful of times over the last few years. Essentially, this refers to topics that are being discussed by a large volume of people at any given time.
In order to leverage this kind of information for business purposes, it pays to monitor a range of relevant social media channels, groups and outlets, with a variety of metrics to find out what is resonating with your target markets, what your competitors are up to, and how your industry as a whole is evolving.
Identifying a trend early can be hugely important to the success of future products, services and marketing campaigns – but, be warned, it can be tricky to sort the wheat from the chaff through all the regular social media noise!
Read a Wide Variety of Publications
If social media is the high tech approach to monitoring trends, then traditional publications are most definitely its low tech counterpart! However, just because digital content is becoming increasingly ubiquitous doesn’t mean you should ignore print, because there’s a huge amount of information and data to be found by religiously scouring a wide variety of publications each month.
Checking out industry-related publications will help to give you an insight into the way your market is moving, and can definitely help you to identify ways to improve or evolve your business in the short term. It’s also worthwhile to keep an eye on non-industry related publications, or at the very least ones that only loosely pertain to your business model, as these may offer you unique insights into techniques, concepts and campaigns that you might otherwise have missed.
Monitor Your Competitors
It’s absolutely essential that you know as much about your competitors as possible: how they work, how they advertise, the social media channels they use and the reach they have when it comes to speaking to customers/potential customers.
By keeping a close eye on your more forward-thinking competition, you should be able to decrease your chances of being blindsided by their early adoption of a new social media network, or a change in their advertising policy in an attempt to corner a new section of the market.
Watch Out for Relevant Survey/Study Results
While it’s always a good idea to do as much research as you can yourself, there’s not always enough time in the day to get everything done, and monitoring trends is often one of the first things to fall by the wayside when other issues become more pressing. For this reason, you should always ensure you pay particular attention to surveys or study results that focus on your business model, target demographic or industry, no matter how tenuous the links may be.
Impartial third party research is often a great indicator of how markets and industries are changing, and they offer a unique insight into what the future may hold.
Okay, it may not be quite the same as poring over reams of digital data taken from countless hours of research, but good old-fashioned networking remains one of the best ways to identify trends.Speaking directly with your colleagues, peers and industry experts, enables you to keep up to date with all the latest news and developments both internally and externally.
Stay on Top of Your Company’s Raw Data
For all the insights that can be gained through the methods we’ve touched upon so far, none can hold a candle to your own internal data – at least when it comes to identifying your company’s own trends. Everything from sales data to customer engagement reports to web analytics to social media insights should be logged and reported regularly.
Keeping on top of this task will ensure you’ve always got the latest and most relevant data to work with, greatly improving your chances of success
Use Google Trends
Finally, whether content marketing is part of your overall business plan or not, you can gain some potentially critical information by keeping an eye on the incredibly useful Google Trends. Essentially, this tool allows you to see the most popular search terms, or the volume of searches you are interest in, over a period of time and within certain geographical areas.
It can be particularly handy if a client has recently launched a new product, or you want to keep an eye on your own reach among your customers, but mainly, it’s an awesome tool to give you a snapshot at what the citizens of the web are searching for, and therefore interested in, at any given time.
It would be easy to simply dismiss trends as a social media thing, but that would be foolhardy in a word where data is king, and knowledge means everything. By keeping on top of trending data, you’ll be positioning your company in a way that will allow it to capitalize on emerging trends, or very quickly disassociate itself from recently undesirable ones.
If you’re struggling to identify the trends that’ll really make a difference to your company’s growth, Pixel Durham’s digital marketing and content creation services are just the tonic! Contact us today to set up a free consultation with our marketing experts, and set your business up for the growth it deserves!