Identifying Trends Within Your Niche
Five great tips to keep you and your business on top of its game.
The biggest risk for small business leaders is not in anticipating change, but in taking action too late.
In a world of accelerating transformation where markets are constantly being reinvented, leaders who are agile and act on them will likely be tomorrow’s winners.
San Antonio-based business coach Allyson “Profit Accelerator” Byrd and Ivana Taylor, an online marketing expert for DIY Marketers, share their tips on how business leaders can stay on top of the trends in their industries.
Carefully monitor social media to see what’s trending. “Organic conversations are happening daily between customers and trendsetters on social media,” Taylor says. All the major players such as Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus allow you to see what conversations are trending. Sites such as Reddit allow you to subscribe to relevant subreddits in your niche — and on Facebook, you can segment your news feed into industry specific lists.
Twitter is also a great market research tool. “You can create searches for whatever you’re looking for,” says Taylor. “You can even save searches and create a list of thought leaders who write about trends in your industry.”
Subscribe to RSS feeds. Stay informed with daily updates from websites that interest you. Subscribing to RSS feeds allows you to quickly scan what’s trending without having to visit each site individually. Free web services — such as Feedly — allow you to subscribe to RSS feeds and read them from a single account. Byrd also recommends subscribing to Trendwatching.com, a monthly newsletter focusing on worldwide consumer trends and related business opportunities.
Attend trade shows and conferences Expand your knowledge base, learn about competitors, new products and be the first to spot industry trends. Not only is this a great networking tool, but it also boosts your competitive advantage. “That’s a great way to make a lot of connections face-to-face where it really counts,” Taylor says. She also recommends joining professional organizations that host local, regional and national conferences. These conferences are an opportunity to network, learn new technologies, keep you informed on best practices and build your expertise.
Hire a business coach. Rather than day-to-day tasks, business coaches help entrepreneurs focus on high-level concepts, such as trend watching for profit. “Hiring a coach helps you rise above and really focus on the business versus being stuck in the business,” Byrd says.
Establish yourself as an expert. Byrd also recommends boosting your influence by educating and advising your audience via video chats, tutorials or podcasts. Establishing yourself as an expert in your niche will teach potential customers about your services, build trust and buy-in over competitors. When your audience has access to you, you create a direct connection to trends.
Byrd advises that you be multidimensional in your approach to finding trends. But don’t forget to listen and stay in tune with how your current and potential customers are evolving. The information and feedback they provide is extremely valuable to help you identify new trends, patterns and refine your service experience.