GSBA Vision & Mission

MISSION: To combine business development, leadership and social action to expand economic opportunities for the LGBT Community and those who support equality for all.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Don't Just Take My Advice....

by Rachael Brister, GSBA Deputy Director

I love helping people navigate the wonderful world of social media. And for me it truly is wonderful. I enjoy using Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram, LinkedIN, Youtube, and at times Pinterest, for personal use. I use many of these tools professionally as well and enjoy learning the different ways each can be applied to market and promote one’s business. And there is a lot to learn and a lot to keep up with. So, I thought I would share some of the blogs and sites I follow and check frequently. I can easily give you a tip or some advice about the best times to post on Facebook, the optimal hours to send tweets or retweet content, or if your business should be utilizing the new Pinterest for Business platform, but I would encourage you to not only take my advice, but start reading up on these services yourself. Just take the Chinese proverb: "Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" and apply it to social media. I understand that the world of social media can be overwhelming, so perhaps pick one or two platforms that you can dig deeper into and keep track of their trends and changes. For many of you this might be Facebook and Twitter. But for others it may be Pinterest, especially if you have a business that relies on visuals or merchandising.  And Pinterest happens to be one of the fastest growing social media sites out there, so it is worth considering.
So, how do I know any or all of this? My interest in and love of all things social media has driven me to try and teach myself these tools, but I also follow an assortment of diverse blogs and tech news outlets to learn best practices, keep up on changes, and get ideas from experts in the field. Here are a few of the sites I recommend you peruse. If you like how the information is presented (and in some cases, the voice of the blogger/s) and find some useful tips, consider subscribing to their email list or following them on Facebook or Twitter (they will post or tweet when a new story is up on their site).

If you have a Facebook page for your business then you should be following (or “like”) these two pages from the social media giant itself: FacebookPages and Facebook Marketing

Also if Facebook is your primary platform for social media marketing, keep track of developments and updates with the comprehensive site Inside Facebook.

Social Media Examiner - Their tagline is “Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle” and they mean it. The site contains comprehensive articles to help businesses discover and how to use the best social media tools, along with original case studies, reviews of the latest industry research and expert advice.

Constant Contact Blogs - You do not have to be a subscriber to this email marketing service to take advantage of the wealth of information on their blogs. Many of their posts to focus on the tools they sell, however their social media blog is a great resource. Their email blog has contains effective tips on curating content, subject lines

Flyteblog - This blog is aimed at small businesses and some of its language focuses on generating leads and sales, but there is some great information about marketing your small business on the Internet, so this site makes the list.

Simply Zesty is a Dublin-based social media and marketing agency whose blog is chock full of great information segmented by topic.

SocialmediaB2B - If you’re specialize in B2B marketing, then this is the social media and marketing resource for you. I have recently learned of this site, but from what I have seen so far it is going to stay on my reading list.

Social Media Explorer - This is a great site for newbies and experts alike. Their “New Here” button is a great place to start. It will help navigate you to the right posts based on the information or topic you seek. It is often populated by guest authors who help keep the content fresh and diverse.

Beth Kanter - Businesses large and small can learn a few things about social media marketing from the non-profit world. And the go-to resource for non-profits who wish to harness the digital world is Beth’s Blog. Beth Kanter is the leading expert in her field. In 2009, she was named by Fast Company Magazine as one of the most influential women in technology and one of Business Week’s “Voices of Innovation for Social Media.”

Jeff Bullas - Jeff is a consultant and speaker whose blog focuses on helping business "get found online." His posts are usually in-depth and a longer than your average post, but if you take the time to follow his tips, you will definitely gain valuable knowledge about a particular social media platform or strategy.

And I can’t resist adding a list of the sites I follow for general news in the areas of social media, technology, gadgetry, and also how all of these topics intersect with media, entertainment, business, and pop culture. These sites help indulge my inner geek. Perhaps they can help bring out yours.

Mashable – their site is divided into channels so it is easy to just read about certain topics – social media for example.

Bits: New York Times Technology News - The New York Times + Technology = geek heaven.

And for some great locally based tech content try geekwire or Techflash, the technology news stream from the Puget Sound Business Journal.

I realize this is a lot of information to follow on a daily or even weekly basis. So I have a recommendation for keeping track of the articles you find helpful, but also might not have the time to read right when they come across your desk(top). 

Instapaper  A no-frills, simple tool to save web pages for reading later. You can create a free account, install the read it later bookmarklet into your browser and then with just one-click an article or web page is saved to your Instapaper account. Plus if you have an iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire or Nook, you can use Instapaper on any of these devices and they all sync up to one account. For example:  save a link on your iPad and then read it the next day on your desktop. You can also sort all of your saved links/pages by organizing them into folders. It’s one of the handiest online tools I currently use. You can also use any number of RSS feed readers or news aggregators like GoogleReader or FeedDemon. Instapaper's read later style is just what I prefer.

The above list is certainly not exhaustive. I recently read through a post of the top 70 social media blogs/sites of 2012. Even I was a bit overwhelmed. I offer this list up as my recommendations to start with and also so you don't have to cull through a list of 70. I have happily done it for you.

Do you have any favorite sites for social media news or tips? Post them in the comments section below.

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