21 of the Best Social Media Marketing Guides of 2013 (So Far)

The use of social media and social networks for marketing has rapidly advanced in the past few years from the “should I do it?” stage to the “how do I do it?” level to the current “how do I measure and optimize social media marketing efforts?” phase.

You’ve seen the statistics on social media marketing: 93% of marketers use social media for business. 90% of Inc. 500 companies use at least one major social media platform. And 92% of small businesses say that social media is an effective marketing technology tool.

Yet most marketers still struggle with how to measure ROI from social media efforts, and with questions like: how we budget for social media programs? What are the best strategies for promoting social content (and which bad ideas should be avoided)? Which social media marketing tools are most useful? And how do we ultimately attract new customers through social media?

Find the answers to those questions and many others here in more than 20 of the best social media marketing guides, strategies, tips and tactics of 2013 thus far.

Social Media Marketing Guides, Strategies and Tactics

Social Media Priorities – Where Should You Focus? by Social-Hire

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Where should you focus your social media time and efforts? While acknowledging that the “audience you want to reach and your own professional goals will influence where your social media priorities for the coming year should lie,” Tony Restell nevertheless offers some concrete recommendations, like spending time on Google+ communities because of “the overlap between Google+ and Google search results.”

How to Effectively Budget Your Social Media Program in 2013 by ClickZ

Jasmine Sandler suggests marketers take six key considerations into account when budgeting for 2013 (or 2014) social media marketing plans, among them social media content development (“Content takes professionalism in design, writing skills, video production, photography, webcast production, audio development, and more”) and social media management (“Social media management takes listening, research, staying on top of trends and influencers, and ongoing creative thinking. Social media management, even for SMB organizations, takes a full-time salary worth of work. Don’t skimp on this and expect a junior person to take it on and run it”).

The Truth About Social Media by Forbes

Writing that social media is “not about how many tasks you can tick off your to do list but about nurturing your following and making sure they feel valued…about creating community, relationships and loyalty”), Suw Charman-Anderson offers eight thought-provoking if sometimes painful observations, such as “being a writer doesn’t make you special” and “accept that you can’t be everywhere.”

15 Strategies To Get More Shares For Your Content by Marketing Land

We’ve all had the experience: you produce a fantastic, thoroughly researched, though-provoking piece of content and…instead of sharing your wonderful piece, your network is busily sharing something just not as good. Argh! Why? Noting that “The secret of getting your content shared by more people isn’t always producing better stuff – sometimes it’s making better connections or just thinking a little differently,” Courtney Seiter shares 15 strategies for getting making your great content “go that extra mile,” such as forming alliances, joining communities and rewarding sharers.

30 Terrible Pieces of Social Media Advice You Should Ignore by HubSpot

Ellie Mirman advises marketers to ignore these 30 examples of social media “wisdom” that really isn’t, like “social media is the new SEO” (no, it’s a supplementary activity—and a valuable one—but not a replacement), “an intern can manage it all for you” (hmm, sounds like another post on social media marketing myths), and that you should “use a tool that autopublishes your posts to all social networks at once … to save time” (ach, no!).

How Small Businesses Can Use Social Media at Events by MyBeak Social Media

Guest blogger James Barnett offers helpful tips for using Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and blogging to run PR campaigns at live events, for example, on Twitter: “Use hash tags (#) to stay on topic with trends and create a buzzword around your brand. Re-tweet positive PR and update followers daily during the event. Request a re-tweet and support other exhibitors if they are willing to do the same.”

19 Things Successful People Do On Social Media by Forbes

Writing that, “Successful people believe they are adding value to your day, on and off social media,” TJ McCue details how social media pros use the tools effectively. Among their practices: they are genuine; they focus on quality over quantity; and they “believe in their network and leverage it.” They do not, however, send auto-DMs to all new followers or tweet what they had for lunch.

7 steps to rank your video higher on YouTube by iMedia Connection

Jon Whiting lists seven tips for improving video rank on YouTube. Beyond the obvious (keywords, title, description), he notes that “appearing higher than all the other videos targeted at the same keywords will depend on user engagement. This includes metrics like total number of views, likes, time spent watching, how many shares it gets etc. Try to encourage as many people as possible to view and like your video.” While this post isn’t an exhaustive guide to YouTube SEO, it’s a great start.

Social Media and the Sales Cycle by Marketing Wisdom for the 21st Century

Can social media help shorten b2b sales cycles? Perhaps, but here the insightful and engaging Margie Clayman skewers some of the arguments made on behalf of that premise. Prime example: “the argument that sending a message via LinkedIn thanking people for a meeting also seems to be a straw man argument. You don’t need to use LinkedIn to contact people you met with if you don’t want to. Email can work. Even better, send hand-written thank-you cards. That will really blow them away. It’s not a bad thing to use LinkedIn for post-meeting messages, but it’s not a convincing argument when debating whether social media can shorten the sales cycle.”

Executable Game Plan for Winning Ultimate Customers with Social Media by SocialSteve’s Blog

Steve Goldner lays out a practical action plan for moving “potential customers from interest to promoter step by step,” starting with gaining their attention (e.g., by determining and using they keywords your potential buyers use) and ending with nurturing advocates (when advocates “genuinely like you or your brand and what you deliver…you are now extending to the reach beyond your audience – to your audience’s audience”).

Expert’s Corner: How Manufacturers Are Harnessing Social Media by ThomasNet News

Mike Keating reports on how manufacturers are successfully using social media to increase awareness and sales, including blogs, YouTube, SlideShare, Quora, and most importantly, LinkedIn: “LinkedIn is the preferred social networking venue for B2B and B2G. You can reach out and connect with your clients (government or industry), define and demonstrate an area of expertise, develop a thought leadership position, and tie all your social networking back to your company website. Companies (including manufacturers) with an active social networking presence are growing much faster than those without one.”

Infographic: Size isn’t everything when it comes to social platforms by leaderswest

Jim Dougherty highlights an infographic which illustrates that which is the “best” social network for your marketing efforts depends upon several factors such as your goals (Google+ and YouTube are great for SEO, Facebook and Twitter for driving traffic, LinkedIn and Pinterest for brand exposure), target audience demographics, and the skills at your disposal.

31 Actionable Social Media Marketing Tips Based On Research by Heidi Cohen

The prolific and insightful Heidi Cohen here culls more than 30 tips from Social Media Examiner’s 2013 Social Media Marketing Industry Report, among them guest blogging, providing perks to brand advocates on social media, and answering “customer questions…Make a list of your customers’ top questions and respond to each one.”

Why B2B Marketers Still Don’t Get Social Media–And 7 Steps For Fixing That by Fast Company

Reporting that “while B2B social media spending increased 9.6% last year, the majority of B2B companies failed to integrate social media into their business practices,” the brilliant Wendy Marx offers guidance for how B2B vendors can improve the productivity of their online social activities, such as by carefully structuring a social media team, training employees, and establishing accountability.

Social Media Strategy: The Answer to the Top 5 Social Media Marketer Questions by Maximize Social Business

Neal Schaffer answers five common questions about social media marketing, including questions about the best social media management tools (see below), how to measure the ROI of social media marketing (see further below) and how to create a social media marketing strategy.

Infographic: Optimize your Facebook, Twitter, G+ and Pinterest posts by leaderswest

Writing that “People have an attention span of eight seconds, so it’s incumbent upon writers to make their content as accessible as possible,” Jim Dougherty (again) here presents an infographic that “offers some very pragmatic and practical tips” such as including images on Facebook posts, mentioning influencers in tweets to drive engagement, and tagging brands and people with the @ sign on Google+.

Social Media Tools and Reviews

50 Top Tools for Social Media Monitoring, Analytics, and Management by Pamorama
***** 5 STARS

Frequent best-of honoree Pam Dyer provides brief reviews of a wide range of free and fee-based social media tools, from Buffer (“An app that manages multiple Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn accounts, with the ability to set a tweeting or updating schedule unique to each. Includes detailed analytics for all your posts”) to UberVU (“Keeps track of all the major social media platforms in real time and delivers opportunities for audience engagement”).

SlideShare Is The Biggest Opportunity In B2B Content Marketing by B2B Marketing Insider

Writing that “With more than 50 Million visitors per month and more than 100 million pageviews, SlideShare is one of the top websites in the world and should be a key focus of any B2B content marketing program. According to Comscore, SlideShare is used by business owners and business executives at a rate 5 times any other social network,” Michael Brenner explains how to create an effective SlideShare deck and links to some noteworthy examples.

10 Must Have Social Media Tools for Small Businesses by iag.Me

Ian Anderson Gray reviews 10 vital social tools for managing and monitoring social media, including Feedly (one of the most popular alternatives to the now-defunct Google Reader), ManageFlitter (Twitter management), and Commun.it, which Ian calls a “social media relationship management tool.”

How To Calculate Social Media ROI

Social Media ROI: 14 Formulas to Measure Social Media Benefits by Search Engine Watch
***** 5 STARS

In what is possibly the best post ever about how to calculate the ROI of social media activities, Angie Schottmuller provides not just one or two but more than a dozen different formulas for tracking different types of return on investment, broken down into categories such as advertising value, content value, support value, and lead and sales value.

Social Media ROI: It’s Possible With These 7 Metrics by Kruse Control

Reporting that a MarketingChart study “reveals there’s a mismatch between marketing budget and effectiveness in key areas. Two are mass media and customer support, which are being overspent on versus their return on investment. Alternatively, email and social are being underspent on while they have a more effective ROI,” Kathi Kruse outlines a simple set of metrics for evaluating social media effectiveness, from “Engagement: number of likes, comments and shares” to value of sales closed.

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