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The digital and eCommerce industry changes very quickly - so quickly that it can be hard to keep up with the latest trends on a daily basis.
Whether it’s a change to Google’s ranking algorithm, or an update to Facebook’s targeting options, you need to stay up to date in order to make sure that your digital strategy is still successful. This is especially important in the digital industry as some ‘best practices’ from five years ago can actually damage your marketing activity nowadays. So how can you stay up to date?
There are many blogs out there that are dedicated to keeping their readers up to date with the latest updates. They often publish on a daily or weekly basis so, for the most part, you can be assured that their news is up to date and relevant.
Industry blogs can be a great place to start when you want to stay on top of digital - especially as many articles will have an expert commentary. There have been many times when there has been a major technical update in the industry but it wasn’t exactly necessary to change any aspect of your marketing or business; so it can be beneficial to have an expert explaining the key takeaways from these updates.
Campaign Monitor has a huge list of just over 50 marketing blogs that you should check regularly.
If you have a LinkedIn profile, you may benefit from joining a variety of industry groups. There are numerous groups varying from general marketing groups to specific groups for Facebook marketing.
This can be useful if you’re focusing on a specific strategy at the moment - such as social media -and you need to stay on top of updates within this particular strand of digital marketing.
Another benefit from LinkedIn Groups is that you will usually be able to have conversations about these updates and you’ll have the opportunity to ask questions on anything you’re unsure of - to both experts and peers.
This list of recommended LinkedIn Groups for marketers, compiled by HubSpot, may be a good place to start.
Many industry blogs and specialists in the industry will have an email newsletter that will send you direct updates whenever they post an important article or if there is a huge change in digital.
If you’re on a marketing team or if you’re growing your own business, you can be very busy and checking websites like HubSpot can be time-consuming. Instead, signing up to their email newsletter will allow you to receive a snapshot in your inbox and if you’re interested in reading more about that particular topic, you can click through - but if you’re not, you can simply filter it out.
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Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Closely monitoring the activity of the market-leaders in your sector can be a useful way of not only identifying what the key trends are but also whether they work or not.
For instance, if your top competitor just signed up to a new social media platform and seems to be receiving plenty of engagement through it - then you may benefit from doing the same.
This is a good way of keeping up with trends if you either can’t find the time to read blogs or if you just learn better from actually seeing the trend in action.
If you’re on a marketing team or if you’re in a managerial position, the people around you can teach you plenty. If you dictate the overall strategy, your team members may be the ones who actually use social media or write content on a daily basis.
You often learn a lot from putting theory into action and so your team will have the experience and knowledge that you can’t easily get from reading blogs or watching competitors.
This can be very humbling and can also strengthen your relationships with your peers. You may have more marketing or business experience than they do - but that doesn’t mean that you know everything.
Similar to our last point, you can always learn a lot from actually getting your hands dirty and working on campaigns yourself.
How often do you sit with your team and craft social posts, publish content or send email newsletters?
By doing so, you receive hands-on experience of the platforms you want to learn about. Obviously, you may be very busy working on overall strategy or running your business but just spending an hour or two every few weeks looking at how much work your team has to do to keep the marketing activity running can be very valuable.
If you have any other ways of staying on top of trends, let us know by giving us a tweet at @Statement.