We are always looking for new insight as to how we can be better utilize social media for our business. We have more choices than ever from which to learn about social media, whether it’s a Social Media MBA program like the one I help teach at Rutger’s University, the ever-growing number of social media conferences, or the numerous social media books that have been published. On a daily basis, however, it is the blog posts of individuals, and a growing number of companies, which might have the biggest impact on our understanding of social media.
As the mission of this blog is to become an educational resources for businesses globally utilizing social media, and we don’t expect you to consume your news from just one single source, we offer an annual guide to blogs that we hope you make part of your daily reading and content curating in 2013. You already know about the “famous” social media blogs – but what about those individual bloggers that consistently publish good information but just haven’t been exposed to the same traffic? Or perhaps they continue to thrive on a community of loyal readers, but are still unknown to many? Following in the tradition of publishing a list of social media blogs to follow in 2012 and 2011, I offer you a new list of recommended blogs for 2013.
As in past years, I tried to find those to recommend you follow that were not yet in the Top 50 of the AdAge Power 150 of top marketing blogs as well as those that were focused on social media and had consistently high quality of content. As a rule, I also did not include any blogs that I recommended you follow in the previous years. Similar to my recent post on social media books, I am also offering the recommendations of some of our contributors to make the list more representative of the community of bloggers that we are becoming. With that, I’d like to share with you our picks for the top social media blogs to follow in 2013, in alphabetical order by first name. Enjoy!
Augie Ray: Experience: The Blog
I can think of a few reasons why Augie Ray’s Experience: The Blog isn’t cited and promoted as much—or is as well known—as it deserves to be:
- Its name and format isn’t sexy or screamingly clever. Definitely not a “visual” blog.
- Because he is so darn pragmatic, unafraid to pull punches or pull away the curtain when it comes to thoughtful assessment of bright, shiny new toys and various communication channels related to a social business.
- Ray expects information offered to speak for itself rather than excessively promoting posts or indulging in cross-endorsement arrangements.
- Augie Ray tells it like it is. In his own descriptor Ray indicates readers “…will explore how organizations create, monitor, respond to, and participate in those social experiences that create trust, foster relationships, unleash advocacy and drive business results.”
As someone focusing on #socialpr, these are the things I want to read and think about—reputation, value and relationship building. Best of all, Ray combines his formal education (a degree in business administration) and long-time and varied work experience, including a stint at Forrester’s as a senior analyst in social computing, to thoroughly research and chart the long-term effectiveness of things related to a connected company, including case studies based on lagging indicators, rather than the too-often employed immediate impact or fawning and uncritical reception.
The post that brought Experience: The Blog to my attention (cited in Binary Byte) is Social Media Crises Aren’t Crises. Since time I’ve also been impressed by How Powerful Is Social Media Sentiment Really? Also, The False Promise of Pinterest for Financial Services. A big thumbs up and reco for those whose bailiwick is public relations to add this beautifully written, personal blog of Prudential Financial’s director of social media into your RSS feed for 2013.
Eric Wittlake: B2B Digital Marketing
Having a similar background in B2B, I have been a fan of Eric’s blog for some time. What I like most about his posts is that he sprinkles practical advice together with posts that truly make us, as social media marketers, question everything we do. For his recent practical posts, check out A New Way to Connect Twitter to Lead Generation and 3 Ways to Use the Value of a Like or Follow. On the other hand, you will definitely see social media in a new light after reading The Thin Line Between Social Media Marketing and Spam, Will Jet Engines Ever be Social?, and my personal favorite Mythbusting in the Social Media Echochamber. I look forward to seeing Eric’s further growth in 2013!
Gail Gardner: GrowMap
It might seem odd to see an icon in place of a human face in the image representing GrowMap, but since Gail does not provide her own photo on her blog, I decided it would only be natural to user her “growmap sign” to represent her. And while I will not connect with others on LinkedIn if they don’t have a profile photo, I have a connection with Gail that is deep because of my numerous interactions with her throughout social media, primarily on Twitter but also on the comments on this blog as well as Google Plus. I have come to appreciate that Gail is on a similar mission as this blog: To educate, and specifically, to help small businesses better leverage social media.
The best way to describe GrowMap in more detail is to allow Gail’s introduction to best describe her own blog:
Every Web site or business – online or off – can benefit from growing and could use a map to get there. Each user of a map travels a different path to growth, so this blog will provide multiple customized routes to generating more business, sales, leads, or visitors for different types of Web sites and businesses.
While her blogging goes beyond social media to talk about causes that she feels strongly about, she has a plethora of blog posts that range from being extremely practical how-to content all the way to insightful content that will make you question a lot of what you do in social media. Recommended reading for starters: Twitter Best Practices: How to Use Twitter Effectively ~ Make Twitter Work for YOU, Instagram Hits 100 Million Users ~ How to Put Your Business in Front of Them ~ Instagram Video Tutorial, and Are You Destroying Your Brand Without Realizing It?
Glen Allsopp: ViperChill
Although only 22 years old, Glen has been blogging for years now, so many of you might already know about him. But seeing that he comes from the Internet Marketing and Affiliate Marketing space, many of you in social media might not be as familiar with him. While his content is more geared towards individuals, his advice can be followed by businesses of all sizes – especially his advice on blogging.
What makes ViperChill stand out from everything else out there in the blogosphere is the sheer brutal honesty in which he presents his thoughts – and his own experiences. Who else would first reveal how the P.S. in a Blog Post (and SEO) Landed Me a Book Deal followed by a detailed post as to why he ended up pulling out of the same book deal? No wonder why he averages more than 100 comments for every post that he publishes!
While I definitely recommend you start by reading Glen’s posts on blogging (5,867 Words on Becoming a Conversion Machine: A Guide of Bloggers, Q & A: How to Solve Every Blogging Problem You’ll Ever Have, and The Future of Blogging: I Had to Tell You This are good posts to start on), he writes on a number of topics that would be of interest to readers of this blog, including his recent How I Reached #1 on iTunes: A Guide to Launching a Podcast.
Heidi Cohen’s blog provides marketing related insights grounded in digital and direct marketing. Served with a creative twist, Heidi includes practical tips based on her extensive experience that readers can apply to their marketing. Heidi Cohen simplifies the complex concepts behind today’s evolving digital marketing challenges into an easy-to-understand format that facilitates readers’ grasp of new topics.
Almost every single post that Heidi publishes is 1) backed up by actual data and 2) presented in an actionable format. It is her adherence to this format, guided by her mission, which makes her blog truly stand out. If you’re not familiar with her, start with some of her recommended recent posts, including the timely 13 Step Blog Checklist to Make 2013 Your Best Year Ever, Content Curation: 12 Ways To Add Value, and the extremely practical yet insightful Social Media: What Works and What Doesn’t.
Jeremiah has probably been the biggest influence in my personal understanding of social media since I started following him – and seeing him speak – in 2009. Hopefully many of you have heard of him, but if you haven’t, you’ll enjoy going back through his blog posts and see how things he wrote about one or two years ago are still being discussed today. I featured Jeremiah in my top social media thought leaders post, and to repeat what I said there in introducing him, he is the leading industry analyst at the leading social media think tank Altimeter Group. Jeremiah is truly one of the few people who have been accurately able to practically describe and predict the future direction of social business. If you’re looking for a place to start, check out his detailed analytical Breakdown posts such as Breakdown: A Strategy for Engaging Passion Communities, Breakdown: Corporate Social Media Team, and Breakdown: Converged Media Workflow (Coordinating Paid + Owned + Earned). He also has a unique regular column updating us on People on the Move in the Social Business Industry.
Kristi Hines: Kikolani
I have been a huge fan of Kristi for some time, and unless you’ve been living under a rock you’ve probably seen her name in the blogosphere as she does guest blogging for a number of prominent sites. Kikolani is her own blog where she writes primarily about blogging and blog marketing. Truth be told Kristi saves some of her best content for her frequent posts at KISSMetrics, Social Media Examiner, and Unbounce, but she still delivers her popular Fetch Friday posts on her own blog, helping all of us stay up to date on everything that is noteworthy from the blogosphere (check out one of her recent Fetch Friday posts for an idea of their resourcefulness). For some of her great recent posts, check out 20+ Commonly Asked Questions About Blogging & Online Marketing from her own blog as well as The Ultimate Resource Guide to Blogger Outreach and Guest Blogging published on KISSMetrics and Measuring Social Media ROI & Goal Conversions with Google Analytics 5 published on Unbounce.
Leo Widrich: Buffer
I like to use this annual blog post to showcase the work of individual bloggers, not corporate bloggers, but the posts – and social media engagement – by the folks at Buffer clearly put them in a league by themselves. Just as their Buffer application (read about it in detail in Twitter Tools and Apps I Use Every Day) gives you higher productivity for your social media efforts, their blog parallels the value of their application by providing regular articles on productivity, life hacks, writing, customer happiness and business. From a social media perspective, their application is unique in that it is quickly becoming an operating system for social media posting throughout the Internet. With that in mind, while Leo has been an aggressive guest blogger on other sites (an activity for which he says helped Buffer grow from 0 to 100,000 customers), the posts on the Buffer blog that I have found to be the most valuable give us more ways of improving our efficiency in social media through the use of Buffer integration with another application that we might not have used before. Other more “general” blog posts to check out include The Ultimate Guide to Smarter Social Sharing, The 4 Reasons to Optimize Timing of Social Media, and 7 Twitter Habits To Adopt In 2012 To Double Your Followers.
Marcus Sheridan: The Sales Lion
When describing the blog of Marcus, it should be known that his blog is more about content and inbound marketing than it is about social media or sales (or lions for that matter!). That being said, there is enough overlap with social media, especially on the blogging front, to make a subscription to Marcus’ blog a wise investment in your time. You see, more than any of the other bloggers in this list, Marcus blogs personally, from the heart, and makes a connection with you in a way very few bloggers can. It’s no wonder that over the past year he has risen to become a keynote speaker at Content Marketing World 2012 – and I expect 2013 has great things in store for Marcus in whatever he decides to do. While his blogging style is personal and always blogs from experience, his posts, similar to those of Eric Wittlake, tend to be part practical, part questioning everything we do. For his more practical posts check out Blogging vs. Podcasting: Which is Better for Building Brands, Followers, and Trust?, The Challenge that is Building a True Online Community, and 7 Reasons Why Blogging is Failing to Generate Leads For So Many Marketing Agencies. For insight into a social media world that we take for granted, check out Why Finding Your Blogging and Online Voice is a Total Myth, Why a Popular Posts Widget may be a Bad Idea for Your Blog’s Sidebar (I’m sticking to mine but he raises an excellent point), and A Rant on Why I Disagree with so many Blogging and Content Marketing Experts.
Thomas Morffew: The G+ Resource
Since many are still trying to “figure out” Google Plus, I couldn’t think of anyone else better to ask for a G+ blogger than our Google Plus expert Mark Traphagen. I’ll let him describe his selection in his own words:
Tough to find a personal Google+-centric blog. I know a number of bloggers who sometimes write about G+, but none I’m familiar with (of any quality) who center their personal blogging on that topic. The G+ Resource is run by Thomas Morffew, a very active and engaging daily user of Google+, with over 48,000 followers on that network. The G+ Resource does a great job of both keeping us up to date on the latest changes and providing tips for using Google+ for both beginner and more advanced users. Not to be missed is the Resource Page on their site, which provides a handy listing of tutorials and guides for using Google+. They share even more G+-related content on The G+ Resource Google+ page.
Now it’s your turn: Which of these blogs are already on your list of content that you curate from? Any other bloggers not mentioned this year or in previous ones that you would add?