Where to begin when exploring the wide world of social media? We’ve got a comprehensive guide to help you get started.
Have you ever asked yourself how it all works with social media? Who are those people behind websites, ads and social media profiles, promoting the next collection of shoes to shop online, or the brands politely chatting with you every day?
If you’ve ever considered social media as a hobby, a full-time job, or an extension of your business, but you’re not sure where to start, stay tuned because we have prepared the essential SM starter pack!
Back to basics
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter or LinkedIn nurture very strong relationships with other businesses and agencies in order to help them promote and advertise their services or products through these platforms to the end users and building one big digital ecosystem. So, how can an ordinary flower shop create a huge number of followers on Facebook page or have that lovely content on Instagram?
Well, we all had to start somewhere, right? So, let me begin with lesson one – start with the basics, and get familiar with the possibilities that these platforms provide.
All these SM networks have developed a great solution – platforms for business users, like Facebook for business, Instagram for business, LinkedIn for business and many more, which can help you to get started and guide you through the basics of advertising. And, most importantly, you can find the latest news and new features, like new generation of 360 or livestreaming videos, Dynamic or Canvas ads that we have today.
Also, don’t forget their blogs – Instagram blog and YouTube blog which are very useful when it comes to their own practices as well as best practices of other businesses, that can give you lots of awesome ideas to promote your business or brand.
Between theory and practice – blogs
Oh, those social media bloggers. We are in love with them too, because they work so passionately writing about latest social media trends, news, tips, opinions, reviews and data-backed information.
Written by agency ’geeks’, these blogs have plenty of interesting tips and tricks for social media and advertising.
Hubspot blog is one of my favourites – it is oriented on content marketing, CRM and sales. I’ve even subscribed to their newsletter, so that I can always be up-to-date with their freshest articles. Agora Pulse blog is also great when it comes to social media marketing tools, and Buffer Social blog provides great news and cases in SM and online marketing.
I often visit Social Media Today blog when I want to find out more about on social business and content marketing, WeRSM, a blog about social media platform news, or Socialmedia Examiner, which explains how to use social media to connect with customers and drive traffic. They are the leaders in this field, and thanks to them now you can really take advantage of social media.
Learning from someone’s achievements and mistakes and collecting valuable social media tips from them makes your path easier, so dig into Peg Fitzpatrick’s blog, or read about Danny Brown’s experiences with SM and marketing.
For those of you who considered taking a more serious approach to SM and your digital channels – you should definitely visit blogs with data-driven takes on social media strategies, content marketing, creativity, user behavior and metrics.
Socialmouths is a blog with where you can always pick up some valuable information about content marketing, and Convince and convert combines content marketing, social media, analytics, email and organic search. Also, Marketing insider group is a blog which connects content marketing with measurable results.
Video libraries – sit back and enjoy the show!
On a typical Friday evening you just want to watch series with a bunch of popcorns, right? Well, I dare you to turn off that new episode of your favorite show, and instead watch video tutorials on Lynda and learn new business, creative and tech skills from industry experts. Lynda really helped me a lot with figuring out not just SM, but all other spheres of digital marketing.
Familiar with worldwide known TED talks? Their mission to spread ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks about business, technology, design or global issues is building an online community of inspiring people eager to share their ideas and curious souls.
I recommend these short talks that made me realize how strong an impact SM and digital marketing have – Let’s design social media that drives real change by Wael Ghonim, A year offline, what I have learned by Paul Miller, How social media creates a better world by Jan Rezab.
Online courses & Certificates – validate your knowledge
When it comes to continuous learning, online courses and certificates are my biggest recommendation – taking these courses can enhance your knowledge and skills beneficial for your working career.
Social media courses on Coursera, Udemy and edX are just one of the hundreds of courses created by the world’s top educational institutions. The advantages of these online courses are huge – you can choose your favorite topics to learn, organize your lessons around your daily activities, test your knowledge and have a certificate from the best universities in the world. Coursera and edX provide free courses with a possibility to pay for an university certificate after the course, while Udemy requires a fee before you enroll.
Back when I began my SM exploring, I have also tried Dot Native and The ADBL free bootcamps for learning how to begin with building your social media and digital campaigns, so I gladly recommend that you give it a try. And, after you take the course, they provide you the certificate badge to add on your LinkedIn profile as proof of your knowledge.
Not so SM, but very useful to get a wider picture of digital for me was Google AdWords Certification. It helps you in learning how your small business can easily grow online with low budget investment, have more online visits, make more conversions and, most of all, with the right target audience rapidly become a leading star in online advertising.
Like Google Certification, Digital garage powered by Google also offers free courses which unites SM and online advertising, and can help you with growing your business or career. You can learn about Google Display and Search advertising, mobile ads, video promotion, and test yourself after every course. Passing these courses earn you a certification from Google and IAB Europe and you can add them to your CV and LinkedIn profile, too.
Webinars – face to face
If you haven’t experienced the priceless value of webinars, now is the time! Webinar sessions are great because you can get answers to your questions in real time and they often turn into great discussions with the presenters. Social Media Today webinars or Content marketing institute webinars have interesting webinars about social media.
Some of my friends recommended that I try on-demand free Hootsuite webinar, and these 60-minute webinars with extraordinary speakers are an amazing way to adopt new directions of digital strategies in various industries. You can try it too and give us your feedback. :)
You can also visit Degordian webinars and enjoy discussing with us!
Good old books
Enjoying in good reads of the greatest names in this field can also help you see the other side of the coin. For example, I’d like to thank Joe Praveen Sequeira for writing a book Unleash the Power of Social Media Marketing, which introduced me some basic SM terms and strategies in a simplified and understandable language for a beginner.
Mark W. Schaefer’s Social Media Explained explains fundamental strategies of social media marketing, and Content Chemistry by Andy Crestodina can help you understand search engine optimization, social media and email marketing.
These are just some of the great books often recommended for beginners, as well as professionals eager to improve their game.
Trend news – stay informed
While you’re making your first morning coffee and preparing yourself for reading a bunch of emails, catch a moment to read some of the best trending social media and tech news in Digital Trends, or if you’re more into tech, digital culture and entertainment content, try Mashable.
I also found Think with Google very interesting and useful when it comes to trends, research and behind-the-scenes looks at digital campaigns across various industries, platforms and audiences.
Covering the best insights and analysis, with trends in media, marketing, advertising and technology, it always amuses me to read Ads of the world, Ad week, Ad Age and Entrepreneur, which are great online sources for campaigns and digital strategies of global brands you most likely look up to.
Workworkwork – working online, best practice
As in the real world, so in digital ‘Theory is nothing without good practice’, so if you want to earn some extra money and yet upgrade your expertise and skills, you can always get a gig on Fiverr, the world’s largest marketplace for services. It’s recommended for beginners to test their skills, and also for freelancers who are not the 9 to 5 job types. If you are focused on creating a high-quality product as quickly as possible without advertising your service, Fiverr is great place for you.
Still young but rapidly developing, social media demands constant learning and a steady pace with all new technologies that come along. You may be thinking ‘It’s easy for you’. Now, yes, but believe me, it was not. Lots of reading, exploring and learning were and are, as digital marketing grows, in front of me.
It may seem like you are beginning from scratch – just remember that it will be the hardest, but most valuable road you shall pass.
And, if you ever get on the crossroad and the path leads you to social media and digital in general, just remember that you have it all in one place right here in this blog.
And you SM ‘geeks’ – feel free to share your cool sources with us!