I am truly fascinated by trends. You blink too long and overalls make their grand comeback.
You roll your eyes at the #InMyFeelings Challenge and then find yourself learning the dance. I saw a fashion influencer wearing baggy jeans three years ago and thought, “those are not flattering on ANYBODY.” So, explain why I was shopping for baggy jeans last week.
Long before social media (we’re talking 2000), Malcolm Gladwell wrote The Tipping Point explaining how ideas spread. Gladwell’s concepts explain how the right people with the right ideas can change an entire society. He lists three types of people who are critical for the word-of-mouth epidemic, basically the road your idea has to take to become a big deal. Since social media has drastically changed the way we view and experience trends, I’d like to take Gladwell’s list of powerful people and see how businesses can benefit from them in this digital age.
Connector - a person who spans many different worlds and has a special gift of bringing everyone together. They are curious, self-confident and sociable.
Think of the friend who knows everyone, the friend who always introduces themselves to strangers and the friend you go to when you can’t remember the person you met at a party two years ago. “People” is a language, and connectors speak it fluently. In today’s world, influencers—such as lifestyle bloggers and celebrities—are the key to getting your message out by digital word of mouth. Find these people in your industry and hold on to them tight.; most likely, they will come up to you first.
Maven - a person who has information on a lot of different products or prices or places. They are an expert in their industry and can provide the inside scoop on the marketplace. Mavens are smart, socially motivated and trustworthy.
What does a maven look like in your industry? If you’re in finances, then find the mavens who are making trending financial education videos and collaborate with them. If you’re in a trendy restaurant, then find the foodies who will feature your spot. One example of a company who is a digital maven is Insider, a media outlet that covers trends in food, culture, travel, etc. Their short videos on social media garner thousands of engagements and shares. Consumers trust this source to find the newest trends and products in the marketplace.
Salesmen - a person with skills to persuade us when we are unconvinced of what we are hearing. Without a doubt, salespeople are persuasive, charismatic and attentive to non-verbal cues.
Nothing would sell without our determined (and sometimes pesky) salespeople. These types of people are generally too aggressive for social media, but put in the right place, they can change a buyer’s perspective in an instant. Whoever your salespeople are—whether they be brand ambassadors, employees or loyal consumers—physically put them in front of your product. Invite them to popups, expos, guerilla marketing events or conferences. A salesperson is like the Energizer Bunny, they’re ready to go, just point them in the right direction.
Becoming a trend, hot topic or the next best thing is as simple as getting the word out through the right people. Find the connectors, mavens and salespeople in your realm of business and let them work their magic for you.