Four steps to stay on top of social media trends

social media trends

by Kiki Schirr, {grow} Contributing Columnist

Between Plag** (formerly Plague), YikYak, Meerkat, Periscope, and the hundreds of other apps that have sprung up in the last few months, Marketing FOMO, or “Fear of Missing Out,” can be a very real thing. While reports that teenagers still use Facebook might be comforting, that market share is rapidly dividing among smaller niche apps, even among some that have been available for a few weeks.

How can a busy marketer possibly keep up with these social media trends?

I’m here to tell you that it’s not impossible and that it shouldn’t take a large chunk out of your schedule, either. It does mean committing to experimentation, however. So first I’m going to discuss a few principles to help you stay on track, and then I’ll go over a few can’t miss apps you should check out now.

Strategies to Keep on Top of Social Media Trends

  1. Own an iOS (Apple mobile) device. Much as the average Android user hates to admit it, the newest and hottest apps usually start on iOS, Apple’s mobile operating system. If you carry an Android phone, consider investing in an iPod Touch just for testing purposes.
  2. When you hear about a new app, write it down.  I cannot stress the importance of this enough. Usually, you have to hear a new term 3-5 times before you bother to look into it—so if you check it out on day one, you’ll be that much further ahead of your competition.
  3. Spend a half an hour every evening using a new app: No amount of research and TechCrunch reading will ever provide a substitute for hands-on experience. Connect with friends, create a personal account, and use it like a real person would use it, not a marketer. Get a feel for how the app works, and try not to get sucked in for more than a half an hour—if you can!
  4. Subscribe to the Product Hunt newsletter: Product Hunt is a ranking site for new products on the market. You can visit every day to stay abreast of the hot new trends—or you can have the top 10 performers emailed to you daily. You decide which level of commitment is right for you.

The Top 5 Apps You Need to Know Now

  1. Meerkat/Periscope: These two apps are at the forefront of the live-streaming video trend. As a female, I have a slight preference for Meerkat, as it has a better anti-harassment setup. But otherwise the two apps are more or less interchangeable, and you should test out both to see with which you prefer.
  2. Product Hunt: So nice I’m going over it twice, Product Hunt has a vibrant community, with voting, live meet-ups, and now, even a community for the product makers themselves, MakerHunt. You should be familiar with this wundercompany and their meteoric rise.
  3. Slack: You might have used IRC in the past—in which case, you’ll wonder why Slack is so hot right now. But if you’ve never handled IRC, you’ll likely be stunned by the simplicity and beauty of this people-connecting software meant for company teams—but rapidly being hijacked by communities like MakerHunt.
  4. Plag**: I mention this once more because it is more like an interesting phenomenon than a useful tool (if you do make headway on this platform with marketing, please tell me!). Plag** is a cross between Tinder and Imgur, a place to share information and photographs for rapid dissemination across borders—just like an airborne virus.
  5. Kong: The latest thing from the makers of Path, Kong is a delightful advance in the art of the selfie, animating your best duck faces as a GIF-file. The genius viral nature of Kong’s share structure is that you’re not just limited to sharing on Path—you can also post to Facebook, Twitter, save to your phone as a GIF or a video, and send it as a text or as an email. This app has only been out for 1-2 weeks, but I predict it will go far.

If there’s an app that I left off this list that you think needs a little attention, please feel free to mention it in the comments section so that others can see it … and maybe I’ll blog about it in the future. Please also feel free to reach out to me directly on Twitter if you have any questions.

KikiSchirrKiki Schirr is a cofounder of the fitness app Fittr, and also does the company’s marketing. She is the author of the Product Hunt Manual and will soon be hosting her own blog at, launching in May of 2015.

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