According to a 2016 study by Statista, there are over 1.7 billion registered social media accounts in the world, and in 2015 alone over 78% of all Canadian businesses had an online presence. This makes social media an excellent source of industry information. By using your personal account, you can tap into these resources to locate educational materials and inspirational tips to develop your own small business social media presence and to expand your understanding of your industry.
Hashtags are an integral element when following topics or items of interest on Twitter and other social media applications. A hashtag refers to the pound symbol when used immediately before a word or group of words. Use capital letters to differentiate between different words rather than placing spaces between them. Let’s say you are looking for information on accounting methods, you could search for #AccountingMethods. All letters and numbers are supported when using hashtags, but most punctuation marks are not. When you include a hashtag in a post, you join a worldwide conversation on that topic. To find other posts on the same topic, click on the highlighted hashtag. If you are unsure of an appropriate hashtag for a topic, search Twitter for a keyword, and then scan the results to see what keywords others are using.
Following Fellow Entrepreneurs
One of the most popular ways to acquire industry information is to follow fellow entrepreneurs. A quick search takes you to their profiles. Canadian small businesses should follow well-known accounts regardless of the specific industry. These accounts offer expert information on increasing productivity, managing finances and many of the daily tasks all businesses require. By reading the feeds of professionals and government entities, you can stay on top of current trends, rules and regulations for your own business. Take a look at the following:
- @CanadaBusiness – Government of Canada services for entrepreneurs
- @Startup_Canada – National community for Canadian entrepreneurs
- @VLennox – Victoria Lennox, award-winning social entrepreneur
Locating Industry Trends
One of the most useful methods for pinpointing industry trends is by using Twitter lists. Check out the profile of an industry leader whom you admire. Once on the profile, click the Lists section of the profile. A list is a curated group of followers with something in common. From there, you can view the lists the individual has created or the lists they are a member of. After choosing a list, you only see the tweets from that lists’ followers. You can choose to subscribe to an entire list or follow certain individuals within the list. Social media puts a wealth of information at your fingertips. By using your personal account as a learning tool, you can understand how to grow your business, learn how to communicate better with customers and follow your competitors closely.