40 Social Media Blogs You Should Be Reading

If you’re reading this blog (thank you!), you probably agree that social media is valuable. But given how quickly the landscape is changing, keeping up to date with the latest trends can be a challenge. With new content being posted constantly around the Web, trying to stay current can be a full-time job.

These are some great daily reads for keeping abreast of social media and social marketing. I’d recommend picking a few, browsing through the archives, and subscribing to the ones you find helpful. Some offer advice about how to leverage social media to your advantage, while others keep you current on the latest trends. I’ve included an excerpt from each blog’s About page to give you some idea about what each one covers. Here they are, listed alphabetically:

  1. 10e20: 10e20 is a New York-based Internet marketing company specializing in social media marketing and search engine optimization. Founded in 2002 in Brooklyn, NY by Chris Winfield and Danielle Lanzillo, they have since grown into a boutique Internet marketing powerhouse focused on increasing their clients’ sales and decreasing their customer service costs.
  2. a thousand cuts: Adam Cohen is a partner at the digital agency Rosetta, leading the Search, Online and Social Media business units. Adam has over 14 years of experience leveraging technology to drive and sustain business value for clients. He blogs about a broad range of ideas, including but not limited to interactive marketing, social media, team building, and other topics that are relevant to how businesses are leveraging technology to drive and sustain value.
  3. All Facebook: AllFacebook.com is a blog that was started by Nick O’Neill. The purpose of the blog is to cover all issues pertaining to Facebook including new applications, general news, and analysis about the future of Facebook.
  4. Altitude Branding: Amber Naslund is a social media and marketing type, and exercises her social media chops daily as the Director of Community for Radian6. She blogs here about social media and marketing stuff for businesses of all sizes.
  5. Blonde 2.0: Ayelet Noff has over ten years of experience marketing companies from various industries and specializes in marketing hi-tech brands. She founded Blonde 2.0 in 2006, back when almost no one knew what social media even meant. Blonde 2.0’s mission then and now is to help brands understand how to use social media tools (social networks, the blogosphere, social software, etc.) effectively in order to carry their messages to their target audience and create brand awareness, find users, recruit employees, or achieve any other goal online.
  6. Chris Brogan: Chris Brogan is President of New Marketing Labs, a new media marketing agency, and home of the Inbound Marketing Summit conferences and Inbound Marketing Bootcamp educational events. He works with large and mid-sized companies to improve online business communications like marketing and PR through the use of social software, community platforms, and other emerging Web and mobile technologies. He is co-author of the excellent book Trust Agents.
  7. Chris G: Chrisg.com is where Chris Garrett posts daily (or thereabouts) thoughts and advice on the business of new media, blogging, and online marketing. The aim is to teach you ways you can create compelling resources, provide your audience more value, build trust and loyalty, and generate more rewards for yourself.
  8. Collective Thoughts: Each member of Collective Thoughts is a known or rising star in their own field and they also have a passion and unique understanding on social media.
  9. Conversation Agent: Valeria Maltoni is a professional marketer with 20 years of real-world corporate experience, 10 online, across a broad array of mid-to-large sized companies. Hands-on work at a Fortune 500 technology company, a technology start-up, in health care, chemical manufacturing, risk management consulting, and the non-profit sector have provided her with a wealth of experience and insights.
  10. Danny Brown: Danny Brown has been providing business branding and social media consultancy services to the consumer and commercial markets, from small start-ups to Fortune 500 businesses, for more than 15 years and is the Social Media Strategist for Maritz Canada.
  11. Dan Zarrella: Dan Zarrella is an award-winning social, search, and viral mar­ket­ing sci­en­tist and author of the new O’Reilly Media book The Social Media Marketing Book. He has a back­ground in Web devel­op­ment and com­bines his pro­gram­ming capa­bil­i­ties with a pas­sion for social mar­ket­ing to cre­ate appli­ca­tions like the social URL shortener Votrs.com, Link Attraction Factors keyword tools, as well as TweetPsych, TwitterBrandSponsors, TweetBacks, and TweetSuite.
  12. Digital Buzz: Featuring the latest digital ad campaigns, hot new Web sites, interactive marketing ideas, virals, industry news, social media, insights, and other great digital trends from all over the world.
  13. Dosh Dosh: Dosh Dosh is a blog offering Internet marketing and blogging tips, alongside social media strategies. Best consumed by bloggers, entrepreneurs, Web publishers, marketers, freelancers and small business owners.
  14. Groundswell: Two of Forrester Research’s top analysts show you how to turn the force of customers connecting online to your own advantage. Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff show how leading companies are gaining insights, generating revenues, saving money, and energizing their own customers.
  15. Influential Marketing Blog: Rohit Bhargavais a founding member of the pioneering 360 Digital Influence team at Ogilvy and author of the award winning new marketing book, Personality Not Included. He writes the Influential Marketing blog and teaches marketing at Georgetown University.
  16. Inside Facebook: Inside Facebook is an independent service of Inside Network, the first company dedicated to providing business information and market research to the Facebook platform and social gaming ecosystem. Based in Palo Alto, California, Inside Facebook focuses on Facebook and the Facebook Platform for developers and marketers. Inside Facebook was started by Justin Smith in April 2006.
  17. Instigator Blog: Benjamin Yoskovitz is the CEO and co-Founder of Standout Jobs, a venture-backed startup founded in 2007. He is also a blog and social media consultant. This blog is where he expresses his thoughts on startups, entrepreneurship, and business, as well as diving into social media, blogging, and online communities.
  18. Liz Strauss at Successful Blog: Liz Strauss is a social Web strategist and community builder. Coming from a background of publishing, business, and instructional design, Liz understands how people perceive a blog, a product, and an experience — how the head and heart engage to make a fiercely loyal customer.
  19. Mashable: Founded in July 2005, Mashable is the world’s largest blog focused exclusively on Web 2.0 and social media news. With more than 12.5 million monthly pageviews, Mashable is the most prolific blog reviewing new Web sites and services, publishing breaking news on what’s new on the Web, and offering social media resources and guides.
  20. Neville Hobson: Neville Hobson is a communicator, blogger, and podcaster, one of the leading European early adopters and influencers in social media communication for business. He is Head of Social Media Europe for WeissComm Group, an integrated communications company focused on the marketing and communication needs of the world’s leading businesses.
  21. NowSourcing: Brian Wallace built NowSourcing to cater to your social media needs. You’ll tend to find original content relevant to social media here, not just another top 10 list.
  22. Online Marketing Blog: Since December 2003, TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog has provided insights, resources and commentary on a range of digital marketing and public relations topics including search engine marketing and optimization, social media marketing, business blogging and marketing, and online public relations.
  23. PR 2.0: Brian Solis is Principal of FutureWorks, an award-winning PR and New Media agency in Silicon Valley. Solis is globally recognized for his views and insights on the convergence of PR, traditional media, and social media. Considered one of the original thought leaders who paved the way for Social Media and PR 2.0, Solis is co-founder of the Social Media Club.
  24. ReadWriteWeb: ReadWriteWeb is a blog that provides analysis of Web products and trends. One of the world’s top 20 blogs, ReadWriteWeb speaks to an intelligent audience of Web enthusiasts, early adopters and innovators. ReadWriteWeb was founded on April 20, 2003 by Richard MacManus and is now one of the most widely read and respected blogs in the world.
  25. RotorBlog: RotorBlog.com was founded in May 2006 by Maris Dagis in order to provide latest Web 2.0 news and startup reviews, later focusing on social networks and online communications. Reaching 160k readers monthly, it has became one of the most popular sources of information for people using the Internet to communicate.
  26. Scott Monty- The Social Media Marketing Blog: Scott is a marketing and communications professional focused on the digital industry — specifically on social media. His career spans a number of industries such as healthcare, pharma, biotech, travel, automotive, tech, and communications, and includes a wide range of clients, from start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. Currently on the staff of corporate communications in Ford Motor Company, Scott heads up the social media function and holds the title Global Digital & Multimedia Communications Manager.
  27. Shannon Paul’s Very Official Blog: Shannon Paul works as the communications manager for PEAK6 Online, parent company of OptionsHouse.com, OptionsNewsNetwork (ONN.tv), and WeSeed.com. She oversees the integration of social media communication into PR and marketing strategies for the company’s three brands, including an online retail stock and options broker, a Web-based options news and education site, and an online community that allows people to learn about the stock market through investing in virtual stock portfolios.
  28. Six Pixels of Separation: Mitch Joel is President of Twist Image, an award-winning digital marketing and communications agency, and author of the excellent book Six Pixels of Separation. He has been called a marketing and communications visionary, interactive expert, and community leader. He is also a blogger, podcaster, passionate entrepreneur, and speaker who connects with people worldwide by sharing his marketing insights on digital marketing and personal branding.
  29. Socialmedia.biz: This blog was created for two related reasons: To help busi­nesses and orga­ni­za­tions achieve max­i­mum impact with their social media strat­egy or campaigns, and to high­light news, trends, tools, and resources around social media, social net­works and Web 2.0.
  30. Social Media Examiner: Social Media Examiner is a free online magazine designed to help businesses discover how to best use social media tools like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to find leads, increase sales, and generate more brand awareness.
  31. Social Media Explorer: Social Media Explorer is the online home and blog of Social Media Explorer LLC, of which Jason Falls serves as principal. Falls has established himself as one of the leading thinkers in the social media, public relations and communications industries.
  32. Social Media Today: Social Media Today LLC helps large companies leverage the enormous power of social media to build deeper relationships with potential customers and other constituencies that influence the development of new business.
  33. Social Times: Founded by Nick O’Neill, The Social Times vision is “learning the skills and tools necessary to help businesses and individuals build social capital.” He is an industry expert on social networking, providing no holds barred commentary and insightful analysis on social networking and social media. He speaks at conferences nationwide and has been written about in multiple national publications.
  34. Soshable: People, in general, are social (or soshal, depending on how you spell it).  We like to interact with others, especially those who have shared interests. Whether in person, on the Internet, or both, human connections make us feel whole. By tapping into the minds and resources of some of the brightest stars and most knowledgeable people in the business, Soshable presents the social Internet on a golden platter for everyone to enjoy.
  35. Techipedia: Tamar Weinberg is a freelance writer and author of The New Community Rules: Marketing on the Social Web who specializes in social media consulting and strategy, blogger outreach, reputation management, and search engine marketing (SEO, link building, and pay per click marketing).
  36. The Future Buzz: The Future Buzz is a blog about Web marketing/PR strategies, spreading buzz in the blogosphere, and building long-term visibility for your brand, business, and art on the Web.
  37. The Social: CNET News’ Caroline McCarthy is a downtown Manhattanite who believes that, despite popular opinion, the Web can actually help your social life. She’s happily addicted to fun social-media tools from Twitter to Yelp to Facebook, sends an inordinate number of text messages, and has a tendency to waste time at the office reading restaurant blogs. Here, she explores all facets of the Web’s gregarious side, as well as the unique tech culture in her home city of New York. (Don’t call it Silicon Alley.)
  38. The Viral Garden: Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites.
  39. Twitip: Darren Rowse is the guy behind ProBlogger and Digital Photography School. His TwiTip blog is all about Twitter. It covers Twitter tips of all varieties including writing for Twitter, branding, growing a following, corporate tweeting and a lot more.
  40. Web Strategy by Jeremiah Owyang: As a Web strategist, Jeremiah Owyang strives to define and deliver user and community needs, business goals, and Web technology to craft and deliver long term successful Web programs for companies.

Is something missing? Want to share your favorite blogs for staying on top of social media? Please leave a comment!

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Ford Sets Record for Biggest Tweetup Ever

Setting a Guinness World Record is a classic way to drum up publicity. One of my favorites of the holiday variety was the largest-ever gathering of Santa Clauses, when almost 13,000 people in Northern Ireland dressed up as Santa or Santa’s helper — nothing says Christmas like a sea of Kris Kringles.

Ford set a record of their own on Tuesday night, hosting its Fiesta Movement Awards Celebration and bringing together 1,149 “Fiesta Movement agents and Twitter friends” at the Hollywood Palladium for the world’s largest tweetup. (A tweetup is any gathering of two or more people who know each other through Twitter.)

ford-tweetup(Image Via Flickr)

Said Connie Fontaine, Ford brand content and alliances manager:

Time and again, our Fiesta Movement agents have shown how social media, adventurous spirit and unbridled enthusiasm can bring people together in new, exciting ways. Never before has a group of car owners created such a sustained buzz for a new car. We’re thrilled to celebrate their collective accomplishment.

The Fiesta Movement social media initiative entails having 100 young “trendsetters” test drive a European-spec Ford Fiesta for six months, then describing their experiences through an array of social media sites. So far, Fiesta agents have traveled more than 1.4 million miles and generated more than 3.7 million Twitter impressions, 740,000 Flickr views, and more than 6 million YouTube views.

Top 50 Companies That Make the Best Use of Facebook

The drumbeat by marketing and public relations experts about the importance of building a social media strategy is growing louder, and with good reason. The benefits to companies large and small in this new medium are legion, and more and more businesses are taking the plunge.

But not all social media strategies are full-fledged, with some companies exerting far more effort to engage their target audiences via Facebook and Twitter than others.

Slate’s TheBigMoney.com has devised a ranking of companies based on their social media engagment. The list ranks the top 50 companies that are making the best use of Facebook, with Coca-Cola and Starbucks leading the pack. The rankings are based on number of different metrics:

Companies had to have a minimum of 200,000 Facebook friends or fans before being considered for The Big Money Facebook 50. Qualifying brands were then assessed on whether they employ a dedicated social media staff, how long the brand has been present on Facebook, and how much money it spends on the social networking site. Companies were then ranked from one to five on how often they update their Facebook offerings; the variety of material they offer; how much user interest their pages have generated; how integrated Facebook is in to the company’s broader marketing; how easy it is to find the company’s Facebook page through a search engine, and creativity and effectiveness.

Later this week, the company plans to release the Twitter 12, a list of the 12 brands making the best use of Twitter.

On its site, The Big Money offers a window into the investment and engagement by assorted businesses. Most of the companies on the Top 50 are big brands, but the scales haven’t been completely tipped toward the largest names. Coca-Cola and Starbucks may top the list, but Dr. Pepper — a company with an international presence — is ranked 38th with 906,914 fans.

The Top 10 of the Facebook 50 are:

  1. Coca-Cola
  2. Starbucks
  3. Disney
  4. Victoria’s Secret
  5. iTunes
  6. Vitaminwater
  7. YouTube
  8. Chick-fil-A
  9. Red Bull
  10. T.G.I. Friday’s

The full list is available here, or you can view  the SlideShare presentation below. (If you can’t see the embedded media, click here.)

Retailers and Consumers Benefit from Social Media on Black Friday

For retailers that jumped on the social media bandwagon in 2009, the impact on Black Friday was significant. Before heading to stores and malls this Thanksgiving weekend, many consumers scoured Facebook, Twitter, and other Web sites that track Black Friday sales to decide where they wanted to shop.

Social media has become another avenue for shoppers to compare deals and find bargains. This is especially valuable in the current tough economic environment, where making a dollar go further makes a huge difference. The rapid growth in these tools, especially this year, has made them a practical alternative for bargain hunters ahead of the holidays.

Many retailers reached out to their customers via social media this year. With plenty of consumers already using platforms such as Twitter and Facebook, companies felt they needed to go where their customers are and engage them:

  • Best Buy advertised its $500 laptop deal on Twitter and Facebook.
  • Sears held a Facebook sweepstakes to win the chance to shop its Black Friday deals before Thanksgiving and a $500 gift card.
  • J.C. Penney tweeted about its 4 a.m. store openings.
  • Office Depot tweeted its Black Friday deals, including a Vivitar digital camera bundle for $49.99.
  • Staples sent its Facebook Page fans and Twitter followers a sneak peek of its Black Friday sale.
  • Toys”R”Us gave its Facebook fans the first look at its Black Friday deals.

Target, Kohl’s, and many other retailers experimented with these tools as well. Twitter feeds were nonstop leading up to the hottest shopping day of the year, as companies maneuvered for top-of-mind position with the estimated 134 million Black Friday shoppers. Many of the consumers who crowded stores on Friday came armed with facts and advice they obtained via social media outlets and were prepared to take action the minute they walked through the doors.

There are many shoppers who aren’t interested in social media, and plenty of them still turn to the newspaper. A Deloitte study conducted by before Thanksgiving found that 40% of consumers planned to get their deal information in this manner — a considerable number of the shopping public. Some even clipped coupons, a tried-and-true recession tactic for stretching cash. Deloitte also found that 27% planned to check Web sites specializing in Black Friday deals, and 29% were going to look at flyers and mailers. Only 24% were turning to retailers’ Web sites for specials.

But for consumers who want advice from others before making purchase decisions for their limited dollars, social media is fast becoming a fundamental part of their shopping experience. Once deals are posted on Twitter or Facebook, shoppers often share them with friends and repost them. Marian Salzman, president of Euro RSCG Worldwide, said, “It’s almost crowdsourcing for opinions. We increasingly need affirmation from our peers and our loved ones and the people that create our lifestyle to feel good about where we are buying things.”

Salzman said that social media still needs to prove itself as a meaningful driver of retail sales. While companies may beckon shoppers by offering special deals — as when Starbucks let its Facebook fans print out an invitation to get a free pastry when they purchased a drink — customer loyalty isn’t always the result. “Success lies in a repeat customer,” she said.

The focus of reports on social media has been on the benefits to the consumer, but there’s a lot of upside for retailers that use these tools to engage their customers — upside that extends far beyond the ability to get in front of prospective customers in a new channel. Kasey Lobaugh, a principal at Deloitte Retail, noted social media’s market intelligence and tracking capabilities, saying many retailers like it because it enables them to track how many shoppers they’re reaching: “If you send out a URL via Twitter you know how many people clicked on that URL,” he said. Other forms of advertising, including print, can be virtually impossible to track unless there are additional mechanisms in place, like coupons or special offer codes “When you put a newspaper tab out, you have no idea of the traffic in your stores, how much was influenced by seeing an ad in the newspaper that day,” Lobaugh said.

Social media may still be an immature marketing tool, but retailers have recognized its capacity for generating sales and they are starting to take action. This year’s social media engagement was a learning experience. Next year, it won’t be optional.

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Enhance Your Brand: Create a Facebook Page

A large and growing number of some of the most valuable demographic groups are devoting more of their attention to Facebook versus other media channels. With 300 million active users and counting (plus 500,000 new users every day), Facebook is no longer just a virtual community for college students to share photos and news with their friends. Adults and professionals from around the globe have embraced the platform, including 90 million in the U.S.

This has businesses large and small asking themselves: Will Facebook really help my business? Does my company need a Facebook Page?

Why is Facebook Important to Marketers?

Facebook offers a unique marketing opportunity for businesses. More and more people are migrating to social networks, and that’s where they’re choosing to research companies, products, and services. Marketing on Facebook has a viral effect, as it does on most social media sites.

Microsoft’s recent partnership with Facebook to integrate Facebook updates with Bing paves the way for more real-time search results. Google likely will do the same with Facebook in the near future. So having an understanding of Facebook can open up new ways for marketers to reach out to their audiences and brand themselves.

Consider some of the benefits of using Facebook as a business branding tool:

  • Customer acquisition: As people become fans of a company’s Facebook page or post comments on it, they get a notice posted on the wall of their own page — where their networks see it. This increases visibility, and the viral aspect often leads to new fans. Facebook pages can also be linked to other social networking sites, increasing a brand’s reach.
  • Customer interaction: Facebook provides a forum for dialogue between a brand and its customers. This enables companies to build better relationships and to demonstrate to their customers that they care about what they think.
  • Reputation management: Direct contact with customers via comments and feedback helps companies gain a deeper understanding of  how their brand is perceived online and offers an avenue for brand enhancement and, if need be, damage control.
  • Traffic generation: As traffic increases on a company’s Facebook fan page, traffic to the its Web site increases, too. Facebook Pages also appear in search results.
  • Targeted advertising: Facebook ads enable businesses to advertise an event, a Web site, a product – any content, really. Companies can target the reach of their ads by gender, age, interests, and location. With custom filters, Facebook automatically updates the count of people who fit the criteria and gauges the size of the target market on Facebook.
  • Increased exposure: An important reason to invest time in creating an engaging page is that all the activity of your fans (from becoming a fan to posting a comment) is shared with a greater network.
  • Branding: In addition to a company’s Web site, a good Facebook Page can create brand awareness for new audiences and reinforce it for current customers by sharing valuable information with its fans and emphasizing the company’s position in its industry. Developing and nurturing an active community enhances a brand.
  • It’s free: What’s not to like about using a new, viral channel for customer interaction without paying a cent?

Here are some brands that have embraced the Facebook Pages platform and successfully leveraged it to engage their audiences and create a real community for their fans:

Coca-Cola (4 million  fans)

Starbucks (5 million fans)

Pizza Hut (1 million fans)

Sears (148,000 fans)

Best Buy (1 million fans)

Walmart (55,000 fans)

Nutella (3.3 million fans)

Pringles (2.8 million fans)

9 Things to Think About As You Create a Facebook Presence For Your Business:

  1. Start with a strategy: Just like any kind of marketing, having a solid strategy in hand from the beginning is key. What is your message? Who are you targeting? What’s in it for them? How will you reach them?
  2. Be creative: You need to have a strong creative execution. What is exciting or interesting to your customers/friends/fans? How does your page content add value? Creative execution includes sharing photos and videos, running contests and promotions, having lively conversations with members, and doing things that are just plain interesting that will keep your fans coming back.
  3. Engage with your fans: Many businesses create a fan page, invite people to join, and then seemingly forget that the page exists. Active fan engagement is the key to an effective Facebook presence. Have a content plan in hand that’s engaging and germane to your target audience. What will you post? When will you post it? How will you inspire your fans to participate? Don’t just create a page – create an engagement plan.
  4. Communicate consistently and frequently: The most successful and fruitful social media campaigns promote a strong message that is repeated often and is consistent in voice and tone. This increases brand awareness and sales potential by keeping your brand messaging top of mind with your target audience.
  5. Own your fan page: Some company fan pages are created and managed by an actual fan instead of the company. Fans expect company pages to be run by the company itself, and they want the company to play an active role. Issues around having a fan own a company’s page might not immediately present themselves, but not having control of a brand’s messaging might cause problems down the road – even if the owner is the company’s biggest fan.
  6. Monitor discussions: It looks pretty bad when a business is inactive and doesn’t respond to its fans. It’s important to monitor your fan page for activity and respond to relevant questions and comments. It’s a good idea to have someone who is dedicated to this effort and empowered to engage on behalf of the company.
  7. Pay attention to analytics: Facebook fan pages offer analytics and insights, so you can learn how engaging your page is. These great tools will help you understand what is and isn’t effective, aiding you in your efforts to constantly improve and refine your page.
  8. Don’t focus on the number of followers/friends/fans: Many businesses focus on the number of fans they have. This measure lacks relevance, since it’s not difficult to get followers or fans. These numbers shouldn’t be used as a key metric – what matters is how you engage your followers. A balanced approach measures what’s really important based on your strategy.
  9. Be transparent and honest: The importance of establishing integrity, honesty, and transparency up front cannot be overstated. Once credibility is lost, it’s very difficult to get it back.

The Takeaway

Facebook has quickly morphed from a fad into a highly effective business tool. If you have the time to devote to building and using social media for marketing, Facebook may have potential for your company. It can be a powerful avenue for establishing and enhancing a strong online brand identity.

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