Written by:  Aaron Elliott, from; Social media Trends

Re-posted from: Social Media Today

The world has been taken over by a tsunami called Social Media. There is no way to doubt this fact anymore.

If you are not leveraging social media for your online business then you may as well use smoke signals to get the word out about your products and services.  You may as well train a carrier pigeon to communicate your offer to prospective clients.

You may as well write a message in a bottle and throw it in the ocean.

Ok, ok. you get the point. 

The status quo has changed dramatically for modern businesses, but what’ else is new?  Things always change in business.  The only constant in business is change, right?

However, the top strategy consultants will tell you that consistency is the path to success.  This leaves some small business owners stuck in a conundrum.  How can you adapt to change and remain consistent?

It’s not easy but nothing worth doing ever is.

How to capitalize on Social Media Trends for Small Businesses in 2013:

1. Show Up and Show Out.  Be somebody important.  This is the shortest simplest advice possible.  “Yourself” is a role that you should play for your family and friends in your personal relationships.  You won’t get very far playing this role with people who don’t know you on social media.  The role you need to play here is “somebody important.”   What’s needed most is the interesting and  knowledgeable version of yourself.   While your friends may think you are a crazy goofball and call you odd nicknames there could be a client in Miami that thinks you are a talented genius.  The goal is to emphasize your expertise and professional experience in order to position yourself as someone important.  How to show up and show out:

  • Focus your social media efforts on the top 3 most popular platforms exclusively.  If its not Twitter, Facebook, or Google+ don’t waste your time until you see substantial progress here first, like 1000 new followers.
  • Use photos that reinforce your image as someone important.   Look at your industry leaders for ideas.  Hint, have fun and SMILE for the camera.  Don’t upload images of yourself just acting goofy unless you want to be known as a clown.   Dress for success.  If you wear a suit when you meet clients wear a suit in your photos.  If you wear a t-shirt make sure it’s a clean if you’re going with Mark Zuckerberg look.

2. Get Tribal.  The latest trend in social media for business in 2013 is the idea of tribes.   Seth Godin’ tribes book is now the de facto instruction guide for how to network on social media.  The first step is to identify the tribe leaders, gate keepers, decision makers, and thought leader in your industry.  Follow all of them.  The goal here is to position yourself as one of their peers in the eyes of your clients.  How to connect with key players in any industry:

  • Make a list and check it twice.  Sorry couldn’t resist the Santa Claus cliche, hey it’s Christmas for crying out loud.  You need to make a list of the top 25, 50, or 100+ websites in your industry.  Subscribe to their blogs and follow them on social media.
  • Research.  Get involved with the discussions on their blogs.  Only post comments that add value and will stand out.  If you are an expert on these topics start writing about them on your blog and share the articles on social media.  In the meanwhile watch and learn the leaders will literately show you how its done.

3.  Plan your move first, then strike.  The easiest way to know the future is to plan.  Even though it’s December imagine if you  planned to strike in late February with a product launch?  Planning is the latest trend for 2013 and is very important but just like too much chocolate cake can lead to a stomach ache; too much planning can lead to paralysis.  As they say,“study long study wrong”.  Stay focused on results, don’t get so consumed by planning that you forget about taking action. I just wrote a review for Guy Kawasaki’s latest book APE.  This book was launched two days ago and it already has over 100 comments on Amazon.  How did Guy pull this off?  Planning.  Here’s a couple things I noticed in his book launch that he did exceptionally well:

  • Built a network of stakeholders.  In the midst of all his sharing online Guy eventually leaked the idea that he was writing a new book to his social media followers.  He asked people for their opinion on key steps in the development process and before they knew it BAM he had recruited them as stakeholders.  When the book was released who do you think was the first to buy it and then write five star reviews?
  • Collaborate.  The latest trend that I have noticed on social media for 2013 is collaboration.  Guy K didn’t write that book alone you know.  Shawn Welch co-authored it.  The benefits of this partnership are dramatic.  Now instead of one blog with one tribe leader promoting the book you have two.  Talk about hitting two birds with one stone.  Find someone that you can collaborate with.  It doesn’t have to be a 300 page book it can be a 30 page report or a case study or an interview.  This type of collaborative content is what that separates the top professionals from everyone else.

In closing, the point is it’s not about adapting to change but anticipating and expecting it so that you can capitalize. Think about it like the changing seasons.  You’re not surprised in the fall when all of a sudden it starts getting cooler, why?  Well, you anticipate this change.

Social Media trends will always remain the same, that is they will change. Like a moving target that’s constantly avoiding a direct hit.  They goal isn’t to resist the change but flourish because of it.

Now its back over to you, how do you plan on taking advantage of social media trends?