By Katt Stearns. If you type “social media” into a search engine, you will be inundated with a never-ending list of blogs, articles, resources and “Gurus” sharing their professional opinion and expertise. It’s hard to dig through which information is right for your business and figure out how to make sense of it all. I also find that reading through all of this information is overwhelming and can make you feel like your running in circles.
One of the questions that I am constantly asked is, “Where do I learn about social media and online marketing?” It has not been just one source but a blend of experimenting, testing new things and continually learning from others. Over the years there has been a number of blogs and resources that I follow closely on a daily or weekly basis. There are a number of other sites I follow to keep up to date but I find that these top 6 resources have helped me to sort through the clutter and maybe can help you out too:
It’s probably safe to say that these guys are the #1 most popular social media resource website online. What I like most about Social Media Examiner is they have articles on almost everything to do with online marketing. They interview the best of the best consultants, small businesses and big brands to not only tell you about the latest changes but to also share the latest strategies, tricks and tips to help you use each platform.
If you are looking for step-by-step instructions or examples of strategies for your marketing, check out Social Media Examiner.
Marcus Sheridan has probably had the most influence on me when it comes to content marketing. Marcus has a “You Ask, He Answers” strategy. If you have any question regarding online marketing you can bet that he has written a blog post about it—if he hasn’t you can contact him and he will write one on the subject.
What makes Marcus different is that he not only focuses on using content to tell a story; but, more importantly, to help you grow your business through content marketing. He has helped a lot of business and industries that originally didn’t think that content would work for them and showed them that it can! His amazing e-book, blog and podcast help you understand how to get started with content marketing, teaches why it’s important, and shares how you can measure results.
If you don’t think your company or industry can do content marketing contact Marcus and he can show you how it can!
When I want to learn about a new platform, Hubspot is the first stop I make. They have a strong blog and a library of e-books that are in-depth, step-by-step and packed full of helpful advice to make sure that you start your marketing off right.
They are constantly posting new articles for FREE to help you learn from real business and provide you detailed instructions with screen shots so that you can learn from them too. If you want to make sure your platforms are setup correctly or learn new strategies from the ground up, check tem out.
If you want to dive a bit deeper into your online marketing strategy, Content Marketing Institute may be the best resource to you. What Social Media Examiner is for social media, Content Marketing Institute is for content marketing. They provide some great getting-started resources to help you develop an overall strategy, understand your goals, develop a plan, and get key messages to the proper audience.
They share examples and case studies from a number of organizations that can help you get ideas for your content.
Content Marketing Institute is perfect if you are a larger organization or if you want to learn and understand how larger organizations are doing content marketing.
Amy Porterfield has a great blog but I tend to consume more of her podcasts. What I like about Amy is that she is known as a Facebook expert but she explains how you guide someone from being just a fan on Facebook through to becoming a dedicated client/customer. She shares strategies for using Facebook in conjunction with other social media platforms, contests, email marketing, campaigns and so much more.
Amy also reviews some of the different tools available to help manage your online marketing; so if you are trying to figure out which auto responder to use, which contest app is best, or which tools will design amazing images for your content, she gives you an unbiased opinion to help you decide.
If you are looking for someone to help you understand the strategies and pull all of your marketing together, Amy offers a great road map to help you stay focused.
Social Bakers brings a different spin to their content by providing detailed stats from organizations doing social media and content marketing. What I like about this site is that it’s a great way to do some industry research and learn about some of the online marketing trends. They are also one of the few companies that I have found that can provide data and stats on companies in Canada using social media.
Social Bakers is a great resource if you want to understand what other organizations in your industry are doing when it comes to social media and understand where the bar is and how you can stand out.
Hopefully this list of social media blogs will help you find other tools and resources to get you started. There are a number of other key influencers including Mari Smith, Jay Bauer, Gary Vanderchuck and the list goes on. If you can find and connect with an individual or organization that is helping you move forward with your online marketing, then stick with them.
What is the one resource you always go to?
We all have a story to tell. Capturing it in a manner that engages, educates and entertains your audience requires Strategic Social. Katt Stearns is a social media marketing consultant, speaker and trainer. She has worked with numerous organizations including BC Hydro’s Power Smart, Thompson Rivers University and Mission Folk Music Festival to develop strategic social media strategies that help them share their stories, and make a difference in the world. Katt is also the Director of Social Strategy for We Make Stuff Happen. You can find Katt at KattStearns.com, Google+ or on Twitter at @KattStearns.