A new year has begun, and it’s promising to bring further advances in technology and changes in the way we work online.As marketers, we already need to be aware of the many different marketing outlets available – whether on or offline – and know how to take advantage of them.
When it comes to the web, though, things are often in a much greater state of flux. So really, what are some of the best ways to keep up with a living, breathing beast like the internet?
This time of the year, the internet is full of articles listing the greatest tips from 2014, or perhaps some of the big up-and-coming trends to watch out for in 2015.
It’s always a great idea to have a solid list of blogs or newsfeeds that you can follow to be sure of the latest changes to your favorite apps, technologies, websites, devices, and more. Even better, they’ll help you be one of the first to know when new tools are arriving that could improve your work performance.
Sites like Mashable provide news on a wide variety of topics, and their tech-related sections can help to narrow your focus and find out what technology news is trending. On the other hand, sites like Smashing Magazine have a narrowed focus, and can give more in-depth looks into technologies for specific purposes.
Similarly, podcasts are a more personal, blog-like way to keep informed when you have a busy lifestyle and don’t have time to stop and read an article. Given the popularity of this year’s Serial podcast from NPR, expect to see podcasting grow in popularity in 2015.
And oddly enough, though not really that odd, in-person events and conferences are also a great way to not only learn about new and updated tech trends, but to meet up and coming industry leaders whom you can then follow and continue to learn from in the future.
Nearly any news source you find will have either an RSS feed or email subscription option that can help you to better keep up with all the information available. One of my favorite Chrome extensions is Feeder – or RSS Feed Reader for the free version – which helps you to easily follow and organize your feeds, and check off articles you have already read.
Now that you have a nice list of thought-leaders, blogs, and newsfeeds to follow, you already have the perfect setup to finding the solutions to any problems or questions that may arise from new technologies.
Not sure if that new app is helpful or harmful for your marketing strategy? Not sure how to get your CEO to back that new tech that you see as a marketing game-changer?
There is no better place to turn to than your newfound feed of information. It is now more focused on the topics and data that concern you and your business, and is therefore easier for you to search and sort. Even better, when you have followed a blog or individual for a length of time, you come to know when you can trust their advice and expertise.
Always Be Updating
Whether or not you decide to integrate that new app into your business’s marketing strategy, you must always be sure that the tools you are using are up-to-date with the latest trends and requirements and ready to help you pull in leads.
Make sure you are blogging regularly – this is one of the easiest ways to keep your website updated and relevant. Your site’s looks alone can make a visitor question the professionalism of your company, but if your latest blog entry is from 6 months ago, it shows that you aren’t invested in your online presence and that you don’t care enough about your online users to keep it updated.
The best way to go about this? Keep updated on the latest news in your industry and write about the topics that your target buyer personas are invested in. Pull them in by answering their questions and addressing relevant needs.
Social media, on the other hand, is a beast all it’s own. A day never goes by on which Facebook or Twitter or LinkedIn or some company won’t make an update to their app. Just as they are always adjusting to the demands of new technology and their users, so should we.
There are many apps like Hootsuite and HubSpot that help you manage multiple social networks and schedule out posts. Use these to make yourself more efficient and to increase the level of engagement you have with your audience.
To cut down on even more time, create templates for social media artwork, but be aware that those templates will need to be updated at some point.
Don’t Be Afraid!
I, for one, know how intimidating it can be when there are 100 more apps available that promise to help me do my job better and I feel like I don’t know where to start. And all this constant updating can be hectic, but it’s also great to keep us on our toes. A stagnant website will never help to bring in great qualified leads, and a Twitter account used once a week will get lost in the discourse of the web.
We know it’s going to be another big year for the web. Some of the new tools of the year are already debuting – just check out all of the unveiled CES 2015 tech. The online world isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, and your own online presence will always need to be at the forefront of any marketing strategy.
Technology and the tools we utilize as marketers is always changing, shifting and adapting.
And we need to be too.
That said, what are some of the ways you stay ahead or on top of the latest online trends and tools?