Tips for Keeping Track of the Latest Business Trends
By Jolene Rutherford, Updated: 2023-03-16 (published on 2021-08-17)
Staying relevant and successful in business calls for having that unquenchable thirst for knowledge and tracking trends. An idea that might have been fresh a decade ago has now been replaced with ten of its more advanced variations, or it alone has evolved beyond recognition. Learning, as it turns out, is one of the most effective ways to improve your business life and grow your professional presence.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a business leader with multiple ventures under your belt, or a freelancer, knowledge is, and always will be, power. Even if you wish to become a trendsetter of sorts, a trailblazer, you first need to understand the trends that are currently shaping your market. This kind of open-mindedness will someday help you push past existing market currents and create your own.
To stay in the loop, and preferably ahead of the curve, you can develop a few habits for keeping track of the latest business trends. From your social media feed, all the way to dedicated news apps and digital magazines, there are various effortless ways to stay informed and advance in your industry. Here are a few to keep in mind:
Subscribe to industry journals
No matter which industry you’re working in, there are many location-specific and industry-specific regulations you need to keep in mind. From various forms of legal compliance to learning about different tax incentives in your sphere, industry journals can help you understand exactly what you need to do. The subscription to most of these journals will not cause a major dent in your budget, especially if you sign yourself up and perhaps a handful of your top-level executives, not your entire staff.
The main perk of keeping track of journals is that they are most often the first to publish official research papers, the latest trends even before they have fully formed, as well as expert interviews and insights that you’d never be able to read elsewhere.
- Look into niche journals that will cover some of those narrow, specific topics you’re interested in.
- Subscribe to a handful of major journals and resources such as The Economist or MarketWatch to stay in the know of the more general, but still vital market trends reshaping your business world.
- Check out what your competitors are sharing, quoting, or publishing in – their success can become part of your own, if you allow yourself to learn from them, too.
Social media feeds, groups, and pages
Chances are that you’re already doing your best to put social networks to great use when it comes to collecting data and understanding your audience. At the same time, these same channels can become your lifesavers in terms of learning about your industry. Social media engagement isn’t limited to customer-centric content, on the contrary, you can join a range of professional groups and discussion rooms meant for experts such as yourself.
- Follow influential and relevant experts in your field of work. Over time, you can become an authority yourself, if you have enough wisdom and industry knowledge to share.
- Join discussions in comment sections of intriguing posts that indicate a shift in your industry, you’ll find that some professionals will provide insightful answers in the comments.
- Find informative pages dedicated to your industry and profession. This is where many of your competitors are getting their information, too.
- Use your browser to set aside trends and topics that seem particularly relevant to you, so that you can research them further at a later date.
- Follow your competitors on social media, they are bound to share statistics, insights, and views that can help you progress, too.
Sometimes, your very own social media pages can become sources of information that you’d otherwise miss. For example, the built-in analytics tools will show you what’s trending on social media, while keeping track of certain hashtags lets you know what people care about.
Remember that your followers’ behaviour patterns also serve as pointers as to what they find relevant and what’s trendy from their perspective, allowing you to adapt your strategy.
Don’t shy away from kick-starting conversations and discussions yourself, too. Both in private and public groups and from your own profile, you can learn so much by asking important questions.
Dedicated news apps
Nowadays, we have apps for everything under the sun – we’ve started using them for everything from ordering food and clothes, to keeping up with our meditation practice. The practicality of apps is indisputable, so naturally, you should consider using one or two for keeping track of the latest business trends, too. When you start using a dedicated business news app, you get immediate access to the most vital information reshaping your industry.
You can set up alerts and notifications when something worthy pops up, you can enjoy the seamless experience on your phone that minimizes your browsing time, and you get a user-friendly interface that helps you make sense of specific news categories.
- Apps are easy to navigate, but you can also easily share the content you like by connecting directly with your social media account.
- You have immediate access to content as soon as it’s published, which means you’re at the forefront of the industry, and not the sidelines.
- Apps often come with live streams, and you can enjoy a variety of content formats to keep track of recent trends, from interviews, podcasts, articles, all the way to statistics-rich infographics and videos.
Worthy industry magazines
In addition to niche journals and research papers, somewhat lighter magazines are still packed with relevant insights you can use to advance your business. Both the opinion pieces, columns, and lengthy articles can be extremely helpful in grasping the impact certain trends are making in your field.
- General topics such as sustainability trends can be of relevance to your brand, as you can find new ways to reshape and communicate your values with your target demographic.
- News in the stock market might not be of interest to everyone in every single industry, but the latest changes in the world of banking might be. It’s important to know where the world is headed from that economic perspective to know what to do about your own business’s finances.
- Digital marketing trends remain relevant no matter your niche, so certain publications can help you refine your strategy and boost your brand presence.
In addition to visiting the websites of different magazines, you can also follow them on social media, download their news apps, or set up alerts. Reputable publications like Forbes or Bloomberg Businessweek are staples in the category, but you can expand your search based on your interests.
Networking events (online and offline)
The pandemic has pushed almost all professionals to change their routines. No more conferences with hundreds of people to mingle with, let alone presentations with impressive keynote speakers you can chat up after the event. Thanks to technology, the internet has become the place where business leaders get together, learn, and advance. As the pandemic slowly dwindles, you can expect in-person get-togethers to start once again.
In both scenarios, networking is one of the most effective ways to stay in the loop and get in touch with leading figures in your industry. Consider attending workshops, following podcasts, online events in any format, and do your best to contribute. The more you participate, the more people will be happy to share their ideas and views.
- Social media live streams are often a great source of news and trends discussed among experts. If some offer a live chat feature, you can ask your own questions and share your position in the comments.
- Magazines and other news outlets will likely promote upcoming events, so you can sign up and stay on course.
- Seminars and workshops are a wonderful opportunity to have the latest studies presented to you in a digestible, interactive way. Not to mention that networking helps you make connections and build relationships for the long haul, turning them into valuable knowledge resources for the future.
Employees can come to your aid
Unless you’re a solopreneur, there’s no reason to fly solo as you expand your knowledge. Working alongside your employees means allowing them to share worthwhile news pieces, articles, and posts with you. Among many ways to elevate employee engagement, inviting them to actively learn about the industry and keep their eyes peeled for relevant trends can be extremely helpful for your collective spirit and growth.
- Encourage teams to share their opinions and the news they’ve come across in meetings.
- Set up dedicated groups in your project management and business chat tools for sharing relevant articles and discussing emerging trends.
- Entice employees to provide suggestions on how these trends can affect your business in particular – active participation is always better than mere news sharing.
More often than not, your teams will be much more likely to come across an article or research study that you’ve missed since you cannot possibly spend all of your time online, reading. The goal is to divide and conquer and to encourage knowledge exchanges in your organization.
You’re probably already relying on some of the listed ideas, but the more you mix and match, the easier it will be for you to stay on top of all relevant, latest trends in your field of work. Taking a strategic approach to staying informed will ultimately allow you to position yourself as a relevant authority in your profession, but also elevate your brand’s reputation over time.
This article does not constitute legal advice.
The opinions expressed in the column above represent the author’s own.
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