How To Learn Social Media Marketing: 20 Free Resources
Social media can be a frustrating marketing channel if you're pouring a lot of effort into your pages but don't have the know-how to run them effectively.
I'm a big advocate of using the plethora of free resources available on the Internet to improve your skills and knowledge. Whether you dip into these resources every now and then, or become avid followers of them like I am; this list of 20 free places to learn about social media marketing has you covered.
Not only do Buffer run a super affordable and easy-to-use social media dashboard, they also have a blog full of thoughts on social media and online marketing. I'd recommend using their 15 social media templates to save you time if you're a beginner at planning and scheduling your social media.
Another popular social media dashboard, Hootsuite also run a blog full of tips, tricks and practical advice for using social media effectively. Their comprehensive guides are very handy for deep-diving into one particular topic. Check out this one all about social media ROI if you want to learn more about measuring and analysing social media activity.
3. Social Media Examiner
The Social Media Examiner blog helps businesses to figure out how best to use social media to connect with customers, drive traffic, and increase sales. They also publish an annual social media marketing industry report that examines which social channels marketers will be investing more time and money into in the next year.
The American business magazine Forbes is always on the cusp of trends in technology and marketing. I recommend adding it to your 'regular reads' list so that you can stay up to date too.
TechCrunch focuses on network acquisitions, user figures and funding news for all of the major social media channels. If you're running social media for a start-up, B2B company or digital disruptor, it's a must-read.
For those who have mastered the basics of social media but want to indulge in some clever thought pieces, head over to Entrepreneur. Get an insight into what the next year looks like for social media and take a look at their predictions for where social media is headed in 2018 and beyond.
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7. Neil Patel
Neil Patel is an investor, entrepreneur and influencer who writes for Forbes, Inc, Huffington Post and more. He shares a whole range of content (including blogs, videos and podcasts) on how to master social media and other digital marketing methods. Sign up to his email newsletter to get lots of wisdom straight to your inbox.
8. Jasmine Star
Jasmine Star is a marketing and branding expert who helps entrepreneurs to grow their social platforms. Follow her on Instagram to stay up to date with her photo challenge competitions and join in with her live question-and-answer video sessions.
9. Grant Cardone
If you work in sales, property or recruitment then it's likely you're already a big Grant Cardone fan! Follow his social media channels, watch his YouTube series and listen to his podcast for brilliant examples of how to cross-promote and repurpose quality content.
10. Ask Gary Vee Show
Hosted by marketing legend Gary Vaynerchuk, the Ask Gary Vee Show is an online question-and-answer show focused on business advice. Gary is a prolific content creator on social media too, so be sure to follow him on Twitter and Instagram to pick up even more nuggets of wisdom.
11. Ted Talks
TED Talks are influential videos from expert speakers on hundreds of different topics, including social media. Take a look at their YouTube playlist of talks on ideas such as how to build your brand, the importance of spreading your message and why we should create communities.
12. Twitter chats
Using social media itself is one of the best ways to learn more about social media marketing. A Twitter chat is a public Twitter conversation focused on one topic and hashtag. Users will come together at a designated time to discuss the topic and answer questions, using the hashtag as a way for others to follow the discussion. Some Twitter chats I'd recommend getting involved with are #ContentChat, #HootChat, #BufferChat and #SMLondon. Plus, the more Twitter chats you join, the more new connections you'll make - they're a great way to grow your followers.
Pinterest is the best social media platform to discover new ideas to try out and learning about social media marketing is no exception. There are thousands of pins on the topic. Start off with some of these infographics about content marketing.
If you have a question about social media marketing, Quora is the place to go! It's a question-and-answer site moderated by its community of users. Make sure to check out the credentials of the person who answers your question, so that you can be assured they have prior experience in the area.
Known as "the front page of the Internet", Reddit has entire threads dedicated to marketing and social media. Ask questions, advertise jobs, get feedback on your latest social media campaign - just submit a post to get started!
16. Emma Gannon's Ctl alt delete
Emma's podcast is chock-full of interviews with celebrities, influencers and trailblazers with unique stories to tell. The conversation in each episode focuses on how the Internet and social media has changed their lives forever. It's a brilliant place to listen to inspiring conversations on topics like blogging, writing, social media and fame, digital mental health and more.
17. Sara Tasker's Hashtag Authentic
Hashtag Authentic - for Instagram, Blogging and Beyond is a weekly podcast presented by Sara Tasker, who guides you through the secrets to finding an audience online for your creative work. If you're trying to find your online tribe on social media, this podcast will provide all of the inspiration and know-how you need.
Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are free online courses available for anyone to join. FutureLearn run two courses in collaboration with experts from the University of Southampton on digital marketing and the power of social media. Keep an eye on when they're next running and sign up for free.
Skillshare is a learning platform with online courses taught by the world's best practitioners. I recommend watching this 45-minute Introduction To Social Media Strategy class hosted by Buffer's Brian Peters. It covers getting started with finding your social media voice, curating content, and using paid social media advertising.
20. Facebook Blueprint
If you want to learn more about launching paid Facebook advertising, Facebook themselves offer an online course to help small businesses, marketers and agencies learn everything there is to know about running successful paid advertising campaigns on Facebook. With the Facebook algorithm now encouraging businesses to "pay-to-play", it's important to know how to get the most out of your advertising budget if you're thinking about investing.
If you have any other resources that you use for learning about social media marketing, let us know! Post a comment below or tweet @CorrieFJones, we'd love to hear them.