The development and decline of trends were previously a straight line—planners could track where they started and grew, and the point when it became time to move on. According to recent Smart Meetings webinar host Kate Patay, however, social media has changed all of that.

Kate Patay

Chief Strategy Officer at Patay Consulting, a firm specializing in creating a brand voice for businesses and individuals, Patay is an industry veteran of nearly 20 years and an expert when it comes to tracking trends. But whereas the timeline of trends was once predictable, now “everything hits at once,” she says.

Referring specifically to fashion and the appearance of certain looks first on the runway at Fashion Week and then at the Emmys, she says, “There’s no longer that lag time. We used to have a season in between. But now it all is hitting instantaneously. So, you have to be paying attention to all of those outlets at the exact same time.” The immediacy of social media platforms such as Twitter and Instagram means new that looks, colors and patterns make an impact and can become implemented far faster than ever before.

Planners also need to recognize the effect social media has on their clients. With a platform such as Pinterest, posts from multiple years ago can surface in a client’s search. And since it is the first time the client has seen it, the idea in a new post is new and fresh to them, even if it is outdated in the eyes of a professional planner.

“This is why we couldn’t get rid of those mason jars for so long,” she jokes. “This is the difference with great planners—being able to embrace that, and understand why, and then maybe tweak and build it to another level, instead of doing the exact same thing.” But one way or another, modern trends last much longer as a result.

Patay’s webinar goes on to include the best ways planners can use social media to support their clients and their brands, down to hashtag practices and what kind of content to post when during the day.