Using Social Media to Learn about Business Trends
Social media isn’t just for cute cat videos and staying in touch with friends and family. As an entrepreneur or freelancer, it also allows you to tap into and connect with a vast network of professionals from around the globe.
In this article, we’ll discuss and share examples of how to use the top social media platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube to stay up-to-date on current trends, learn the tips and tricks of your industry, and connect with other professionals in your field.
As one of the most popular social networking websites, Facebook has a robust network of Facebook groups for career-minded individuals and business owners.
A Facebook group is a place for group communication centered around a certain topic or interest. Some business owners even offer access to their Facebook group as an exclusive bonus for customers and followers.
For example, The Copywriter Club (TCC)’s closed Facebook group contains a community of 10,000+ copywriters. TCC members are encouraged to ‘talk shop’ by sharing resources and insights, asking and giving advice, and even sharing job leads. One of the helpful benefits of a group like this is the ability for members to get feedback on their work from other professionals. This is invaluable for freelancers that work from home without the luxury of coworkers for collaboration.
Since Facebook allows you to join up to 6,000 groups, it is unlikely you’ll reach your limit anytime soon.
Pro Tip: we recommend joining no more than five groups at a time, so you can actively engage in each and get the full value of being part of the community.
Here are some tips for finding a Facebook group that’s a good fit for you:
- On the left side of your Facebook feed, look for the Discover column and click Groups. Here you can browse through suggested groups, which include groups your friends belong to, groups close to you, and group categories like Business, Hobbies & Interests, and Education.
- For more niche communities, you can do a keyword search. Type in a keyword into Facebook Search Bar for a group that interests you. This will give you a list of relevant groups to choose from.
Twitter is another platform with business development benefits. One of the best ways to use Twitter is to participate in Twitter chats—aka tweet chats—which are moderated public discussions that take place at a specific time on a specific topic using a branded hashtag. They allow participants to discuss a topic in detail in a live format.
Brands often use them to build a community around their product or service. For example, Hootsuite hosts a regular, hour-long Twitter chat—#hootchat.
In addition to gaining knowledge from the wisdom of others in the chat, there are networking and marketing benefits to posting your own insights since the posts are available afterward so people searching for advice on the topic can find your comments later.
Here are a few places you can find relevant chats:
- Tweet Reports: This database contains the world’s largest list of Twitter Chats. It’s easily searchable and breaks the chats up by topics such as writing, advertising, and social media.
- TWUBS: This directory gives a visual representation of upcoming chats. You can even schedule your own chats here so the Twitterverse can find it.
LinkedIn is designed for business networking, and the algorithm works to put you in front of others in your industry and deliver content that’s relevant to your business.
LinkedIn also offers great educational resources. For one, people share articles and offer advice on business practices in their posts. In addition, Linkedin acquired Lynda.com in 2015. Now, subscribers of LinkedIn Learning get access to Lynda.com’s instructional videos and LinkedIn’s Premium Career features, including InMail and job applicant insights.
For example, if you wanted to sharpen your Excel skills, you could go to the Business Software and Tools topic and pick an Excel video that best matches your skillset. This Excel Tips Weekly course features a new tip each Tuesday so you can improve your Excel skills with an ongoing series.
As the second largest search engine, YouTube has no shortage of educational videos and tutorials. You can find information on just about any topic, such as creating your own website, content marketing strategies, and general business advice.
For YouTube channels with an engaged following, the comments section can prove just as beneficial, if not more so, than the actual video content.
For example, in the video titled “eCommerce SEO: How to Bring Organic Traffic to Your Online Store,” a follower commented on the video saying they hoped the tips would help them. The follower had lost thousands of visitors to their site within the past month. Neil Patel responded by saying there was a big Google update in June that could be the cause. This insight wasn’t mentioned in the video and wouldn’t have been revealed without the follower’s initial comment.
Here are some ways to find valuable YouTube content:
- Go down the rabbit hole: Simply type your topic of interest in the YouTube search box and see where it takes you.
- Tap your other social channels: Ask for recommendations within your other social networks like Facebook groups. Some professionals within your network may even have their own instructional videos to share.
- Browse Reddit for tips: This subreddit r/youtube is a hub for YouTube discussion. While you won’t find specific channels to follow, this is an excellent way to expand your network and learn more about using YouTube to share your own content.
In sum, the underlying theme for these social media platforms is that they all have educational benefits for visitors, but to get the full networking and professional growth benefits, it pays to engage in the community. Actively participating in your chosen platform(s) allows you to make connections, share your knowledge, and learn how to tackle the business challenges that may be holding you back.