You Are What You Read

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You are what you read. So we’re glad you’re reading our blog, packed with content tips and social media management tricks. After all, we’re experts. But what else should you be reading to ensure you get a balanced diet of noggin nutrients to maximize your digital engagement strategies?

Social media watcher Mark Hayes recommends Social Media Examiner, an information-dense, main dish type of resource. It’s the meatloaf of social media information consumption, if you will.

“This user-friendly site offers valuable tips for leveraging your opportunities on Facebook, Google+, Twitter et al,” he writes. “Whether you’re using Facebook for contests, Twitter for quickie ads or message forums to provide links to sites, you’ll find ways to enhance your marketing strategies. Social Media Examiner offers everything from advice on how to deal with website emergencies (such as security issues) to how to set realistic goals for your marketing campaign.”

Favorite side dishes around the office here at Brandsplat include Social Media Today for timely insight and analysis (like a spinach salad to add muscle to your social media plans), 12 Most for list-building inspiration (sweet potato fries, anyone?) and the smart, once-weekly Brain Pickings for discovering interesting new things (our version of spicy Indian-inspired green beans).

We also like Mashable for dessert. You don’t want too much of this sugary, image-dominated sweetness, but it’s a nice way to wrap up your reading. If you’re more of a cheese plate aficionado, try Forbes’ Social Media section. Less fluff, more substance.

Still, like any good diet, variety and moderation are the keys to good health. You wouldn’t want to consume information from just one of these sources and consider yourself well-informed. And don’t forget to exercise: Take some of the ideas you read out for a walk with you. Clear your mind and use them as a springboard for fun ideas you’d like to implement in your own diet (ahem, website). Then give us a call and put us to the test as to how we can help you realize those dreams.

But what say you, readers? Which blogs, news sites or other web-based sources do you rely on to ensure you’ve got a healthy amount of social media know-how? Sound off in the comments section below!

2013-style Social Media Marketing is So Last Year: What to Expect in 2014

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It’s safe to say we’re all finally on board the social media marketing train. Everybody, from billion-dollar-budget-wielding CEOs to small business owners, now recognizes the value of social media marketing. (True, some of them still don’t understand how and why it works, but at least they recognize the results social media marketing brings to their businesses. Phew! Glad that’s finally over with.)

But now, as companies are finally figuring out how to take advantage of social media darlings like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to advertise their wares and get public reactions to both old and new products and services, the times they are a-changin’ again.

Take note, because in 2014, you’ll want to get on board with these social media marketing trends. Then again, why wait? Maybe it’s that Halloween is right around the corner, marking the official retailing kickoff to Christmas, but we’re in the mood to give you a head start.

Google+++

Are you still not using Google+? Sure, Facebook may still be the pack leader in social media marketing, but Google+ is now the second-highest social media outlet in terms of visitors (343 million monthly). This social networking wonder continues to prove that it is on its way to becoming a key aspect of Google’s SEO and social signals. This is especially true when you consider the only-months-old Google Authorship, which allows users to connect a piece of content with the Google+ profile of its author, which will be a cornerstone of the service by the end of 2014. Google+ will likely the “go to” social media outlet for businesses in 2014 because of its one-stop-shop ease. And let’s be honest: Google sets the rules on SEO, so it pays to play by them.

Image-ine All the PR

Social networks like Flickr, Mobli and Instagram are gaining far more exposure this past year than social media outlets that are text-based. In terms of marketing, pictures and videos say a lot more than words ever could. They also pose a shareability factor that words cannot live up to. In 2014, companies will be turning to video and picture sharing networks more. But don’t make the mistake that pictures are not content and therefore do not need to be managed accordingly: If a picture says a thousand words, you’ll want to make absolutely certain that all of them align with the messaging goals of your brand (hint: an outside reviewer helps).

Micro is the New Macro

Micro videos are becoming more popular than ever, thanks to easy-to-use apps like Twitter’s Vine and now Instagram’s video sharing feature. Real-time video sharing is basically providing you with quick and easy, organic commercial ads that can be made from your smartphone. No big budget required.

I See You Already: Let Go of Foursquare…

Foursquare is quickly becoming obsolete as other social media outlets (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) continue to offer location-based features. The social media network already has reported a huge loss in 2013, and that is likely to get worse in 2014.

…But Don’t LinkOut

LinkedIn continues to be the most useful social networking site for professionals, and the site only continues to get better. The site’s Influencers program is helping to ensure that 2014 will continue to make LinkedIn the go-to website for B2B communication.

How about you, dear readers: Got a new favorite social scene? Scoop us in the comments section below!