Who would have imagined being able to monitor people shopping nearby, then having a message pop up on their phone telling them about your sale? Small business owners who keep an eye out for new trends—that’s who. One way to do that is to monitor what key business leaders are saying. Social media makes it easy (and it’s free). Consider adding these leaders to your social media reading list.
Whether you’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or any of the other social media outlets, you can connect with business leaders who offer tips and report on trends they are seeing in the small business marketplace. Start by “following” these individuals on Twitter:
- Guy Kawasaki (@GuyKawasaki) – Former chief evangelist of Apple, Kawasaki offers marketing ideas for businesses of all sizes along with links to general interest content.
- Melinda Emerson (@smallbizlady) – Voted #1 Influential Woman for Entrepreneurs by Forbes. Emerson offers information about start-ups, social media and reinventing a business. In addition, she hosts a weekly Twitter talk show where she interviews small business experts.
- Richard Branson (@richardbranson) – CEO of Virgin, Branson describes himself as a “tie-loathing adventurer” who offers information and advice on turning ideas into reality as well as other business management topics.
- Mitch Joel (@mitchjoel) – Author and CEO of Twist Image, Joel offers information and advice on social media. He also hosts a podcast, Six Pixels of Separation, where he interviews noted business leaders.
- Anita Campbell (@smallbusinesstrends) – CEO of Small Business Trends, Campbell offers information on small business trends. Forbes calls her one of the top 25 most influential women tweeting about entrepreneurship.
- John Jantsch (@ducttape) – Small business marketing consultant and author of Duct Tape Marketing, Jantsch provides real-world marketing advice.
- Elon Musk (@elonmusk) – Cofounder of PayPal and CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX, Musk talks about innovation and trends.
- Tony Hsieh (@tonyhsieh) – Author of “Delivering Happiness” and CEO of online shoe and clothing website Zappos.com, Hsieh is passionate about delivering exemplary customer service and developing productive business (and personal) cultures.
- Beth Comstock (@bethcomstock) – CMO at General Electric, Comstock shares ideas “at the intersection of design and technology.” She is passionate about innovation and change.
- Rita Gunther McGrath (@rgmcgrath) – Columbia Business School professor, McGrath writes that businesses should stop trying to achieve a “sustainable” competitive advantage and concentrate on a “transient” advantage instead.
There’s no telling what the next greatest idea will be. But connecting with small business leaders using social media can make you more aware of trends in the marketplace. Having that knowledge will help you plan more strategically.