Social media is a unique marketing vehicle for a number of reasons. What other communication channel can be used to joke around with customers, swiftly solve customer service issues or joke about a marketing campaign where you killed off your mascot to be reborn as a baby peanut?
Social media is the wild west of digital marketing opportunities.
Social media is also unique in how rapidly it evolves.
When Twitter was founded in 2006, people were instantly enamored with the ability to quickly communicate with others. Within a decade, the speed of responses wasn’t a novelty – it was an expectation. According to the 2022 Sprout Social Index™, 13% of U.S. consumers expect brands to respond within the first hour of reaching out on social media, while the other 76% expect a response in the first 24 hours.
Social media continues to rapidly change today. New platforms are introduced, and others are consolidated. Once-beloved platforms can fall from grace (RIP Vine), and new features are introduced all the time to keep users engaged and entertained.
To the social media marketer, the fast-paced nature of these platforms is equal parts exciting and challenging. Staying relevant on social media is a must, and to do that, it’s critical to be tuned in to changes as they happen.
Reading industry blogs is one way to stay at the forefront of change. Here are some of our favorites:
1. Social Media Examiner
In 2009, Michael Stelzner had little knowledge about social media or how it worked, but he knew it was a brand awareness tool that could help businesses grow. He started Social Media Examiner that year to learn how to harness that power and share it with companies.
Today, Social Media Examiner has 430,000 email subscribers and has informed more than 93 million readers, the site boasts. It also has several successful shows (including podcasts and talk shows) and hosts the world’s largest social media marketing conference.
One valuable feature of Social Media Examiner is the annual Social Media Marketing Industry Report, which is the longest-running yearly look into how people and companies utilize social media and how these platforms are evolving.
Did you know that 1 in 4 digital marketers prefer looping short-form video? Or that 47% of social media marketers want to learn more about using TikTok for business (even though corporate adoption is slow)? Or Facebook is still the dominant social media platform even with declining numbers?
If you read their free report, you’d know all these industry facts and more.
2. Sprout Social
Sprout Social is one of the leading social media management tools available, so it’s no surprise that they know a thing or two about social media marketing. They share their knowledge through their own blog and social media channels.
Sprout Social knows the potential that interactive activities have on social media, and they demonstrate this keenly through their consistent use of Twitter hashtags to engage with followers.
Besides regularly tweeting industry expertise, advice and success stories, Sprout Social keeps up with digital trends to invite followers to the discussion. After releasing The Sprout Social Index with social media marketing trends for 2022 and beyond, Sprout Social hosted a live digital event where readers could ask the lead researcher Dr. Mike Blight any and all questions they may have.
In the above social media post, Sprout Social advertised its event via Twitter through the hashtag #AMA (ask me anything), which first gained popularity on Reddit and has since become a mainstay social media tool for user insight.
Twitter engagements like these are valuable for bringing voices together and allowing marketing professionals to learn from one another over a platform they know well which can stop them from considering Sprout Social alternatives.
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3. Buffer Blog
Buffer is a social media scheduling tool that has neat features like a browser extension, analytics and reports. It’s compatible with all major social media networks, including Pinterest (though that’s not included in the free version, so you may want to try Buffer alternatives), and is simple to use.
While the service helps people and organizations manage the timing of their social media posts, the Buffer blog dives a little bit deeper into how companies and other organizations can make the most of social platforms.
In one blog post, Mike Eckstein, a product marketer at Buffer, talks about the importance of making social media posts engaging. Without engagement, there’s no learning or interaction or potential for growth – there’s no conversation between audience and brand. Eckstein pointed out that many businesses aren’t quite hitting the mark on this, though.
He pointed to a Sprout Social survey that showed that for every response the average company sends to followers, it posts 23 promotional messages. That’s not a conversation, that’s a sales pitch – not what makes social media marketing successful.
4. Social Media Explorer
Social Media Explorer gets right down to business. The social media blog is powered by the consulting agency, Tork Media, and the writers are social media marketers themselves, speaking specifically to other marketers. Their articles are short, sweet and saturated with good advice.
Take a recent article about creating engaging social media marketing campaigns written by Adam Torkildson, owner of Tork Media. Right away, he highlights the importance of attracting loyal customers through improved social media engagement. He then jumps into the key strategies and trends that can turn your social networking campaigns into a success, from improving response times to keeping up with the latest social media trends.
For each social media and content marketing strategy tip, he details how it works and more importantly why it works to increase engagement rates overall.
5. Peg Fitzpatrick
Peg Fitzpatrick’s website starts humble enough, explaining that she’s “ … just a small town girl living in a lonely [digital] world. I started out with zero followers [just like you] and I’m figuring out things along the way.”
But Fitzpatrick has become a highly regarded social media strategy maven — especially for bloggers. Her wisdom has been shared across the internet and she continues to inspire her audience with up-to-date free marketing guides and resources on her social media blog. She explains in-depth how to nail hashtags, start blogging and, recently, added 50 calls to action to inspire any digital marketer! Fitzpatrick also utilizes her YouTube channel to share social media news and industry insights. She recently explained the ins and outs of Instagram Marketing Trends for 2022.
Outside of imparting her sage social advice across the digital landscape, Fitzpatrick has an active blog and website with a dedicated following. She’s proven she isn’t just in the game to win followers and influence companies — she genuinely wants to help marketers maximize their social media strategies. She even has courses that teach students how to intelligently utilize social media in general, as well as more nuanced courses that highlight Instagram and Pinterest.
What Are Your Favorite Social Media Marketing Blogs?
The above five blogs are some of our favorites, but they’re certainly not the only valuable social media marketing resources available today. There’s also Socially Sorted, the award-winning creation of digital content strategist Donna Moritz, and Social Media Today, a treasured social media news source for any digital marketing strategist.
When uncovering new tricks, techniques and tidbits about the vast world that is social media, it may be a smart idea to keep tabs on a variety of resources. Do you have a favorite social media marketing news source we didn’t mention? We welcome your suggestions. Don’t be shy – we’re only one tweet away.
Editor’s Note: Updated June 2022.