Staying tuned in is hard. And it’s underrated what it takes on a (daily) basis to follow the heartbeat of your customer, of your surrounding industry, even what your peers and colleagues are doing.
Don’t get me wrong. You don’t have to follow everything, or everyone. But there is an invaluable reward of staying just one step ahead. It’s about finding your “edge”.
Many of you never see me – physically – but you see see me post and comment (almost incessantly) on online channels. I sometime get asked what I get out of it, especially since so much of my interactions and learnings happen, surprise, strictly online.
Below is just a sampling of what I’ve learned from tuning in online. And how it actually helps me find my “edge”.
Offline Goes Online (news, gossip and such)
- Facebook. It’s become the visual, content source for all things news that MATTER to me. Yes, Yahoo! and the like have customized my homepage experiences to mirror content that I’d be most interested in. But honestly, it’s become my peers and what they’re sharing and following that I care most about.
- Twitter. This is the god-send of all things bigger industry news and buzz. It also clues me into great blogs, videos and more about the digital space, marketing and #smallbiz. Do_not_underestimate what an hour of Twitter per day will deliver to your eyes and brain.
Other advantages of Twitter? I can follow trending topics around very specific keywords, categories of ideas or topics and specific brands that I’m interested in (i.e. Flipboard, Yahoo!, NYT). Plus, if you’re really active and engaged you’ll take the time to comment, post and interact with the Twitter community. This is probably the biggest (investment) you’ll make online, but 100% worth it as you not only discover new things, but have new people engaging back in your conversations.
- NPR. I check this one – online – much less frequently than the above channels but I still love the fresh, insightful, even agnostic perspective I’ll get about topics that interest me beyond what peers or (endorsed) media outlets have to say.
Just For Fun (niche topics, creative injections)
- Pinterest. I am not an artist. But I am a designer. A designer of creative messaging and I am very focused on how we visually and contextually engage with users. The visual aspect of communicating (marketing) has more recently caught my eye. I am enamored, personally and professionally, with the art of images. And how a single image can make or break a piece of collateral to a prospect or current user. Pinterest also gives me some design tips, both on how to build (visual) content communities andwhat content is most engaging to the broader public.
- AMEX Open Forum. Most go here for small business news. I visit and follow OPEN for a few other reasons. First, to dream about featuring my content and work to their SMB community. But second, because I admire the marketing team behind it. The site design, while not Yahoo!, is still very unique in how it engages users and how CONTENT is creatively leveraged for cardmember conversion.