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9 useful blogs to help you improve your social media strategy

This special issue of Web Digest features “boutique” blogs on Social Media with original content.

Out of the hundreds of blogs out there on Social Media, we’ve selected 9 that we think are worthy of your valuable time.

1. Social Media Optimization

David Wilson, who writes this daily blog, runs a search engine marketing agency so it’s no surprise that he views Social Media marketing through an SEM lens. His blog posts offer practical advice on incorporating Social Media wisely into a marketing program.

He’s not afraid to swim against the tide of conventional wisdom either. One recent post, “Don’t Build Your Brand on a Third Party Platform,” argued why businesses should not dump their websites for Facebook Pages.

Looking for case studies? Wilson devotes an entire page to them, many detailing his own company’s experiences. (Example: His company compared Facebook Ads with Google Adwords and found the Facebook program delivered a significantly higher ROI.)

2. Social Media Examiner

Calling itself “Your Guide to the Social Media Jungle,” this group-written blog generates one or two posts a day focusing on strategy and how-to advice for navigating the social networking wilds.

Besides covering the obvious B2C networks like Facebook and Twitter, SME also helps you look for ways to incorporate more focused networks, including B2B forums like LinkedIn, into your business plan. Look here for posts that tie Social Media firmly to business planning and strategy. One notable post is “3 Ways Twitter Analysis Can Enhance Your Marketing.”

3. Social Media B2B

This group-written blog focuses exclusively on Social Media in a B2B environment, especially lead generation and “social selling.” It takes a “just the facts” approach to business use of Social Media for marketing and PR. Posts are heavy on how-to advice, lists and reviews of SocMed tools, plus case studies, tips and tactics.

The blog’s landing page also sorts archive posts into useful categories. Want to read posts specifically about Mobile? There’s a tab for that. You’ll find posts about SlideShare (like Facebook for PowerPoint), interviews with various notables, Twitter and many more topics. For a fast start, check the list of popular posts on the right side of the landing page.

4. All Facebook

If your Social Media strategy includes Facebook, this blog should become your daily go-to source for news, trend-watching, advice, statistics and case studies. Although it’s an independent news source, the writers have inside knowledge and long experience with FB.

Besides daily posts, All Facebook also offers gratis and paid research and how-to guides, including a detailed guide to Facebook Pages (US $9.95), Facebook’s entry into location-based networking and marketing. One provocative post: “10 Killer Titles That Will Provoke Your Facebook Fans.”

5. Influential Marketing Blog

Rohit Bhargava is one of the titans of the Social Media world. His 2006 post, “The 5 Rules of Social Media Optimization,” launched thousands of discussions that are still going on today. As SVP for Strategy and Marketing at Ogilvy 360 Digital Influence, Bhargava’s blog runs a wide gamut, mixing practical advice with strategy and what looks like parking spaces for notes that will become white papers or future presentations.

Whether he intended it this way or not, Bhargava appears to aim Influential Marketing slightly over the heads of companies that have not yet implemented a Social Media strategy. Instead, people who have already launched a program, however small, will find his advice most useful. One such post is “How To Replace A Social Media Super Star.”

6. Buzz Marketing for Technology

This blog focuses on higher-level strategies in B2B Social Media, not just in implementing it at the corporate level but with a wider perspective. That’s not surprising given that the blog’s author is Paul Dunay, Global Managing Director of Services and Social Marketing for Avaya (call centers, data networking services, phone systems and other enterprise-level communications). The blog focuses more on thought leadership than daily how-to advice.

Although Dunay’s niche is technology, Social Media managers in other concentrations will find his insights valuable as they build and manage their own corporate programs. Consider this blog the graduate-level course in Social Media, with posts that include “Could AT&T kill the iPhone Brand?” and “PR needs to Focus on Conversations.”

7. Conversation Agent

This blog is author-speaker-brand strategist Valeria Maltoni’s personal collection of commentary on Social Media, branding and integrated marketing. Maltoni, who is also Director of Strategy for Powered, a Social Media agency working with over 60 global brands, mixes Social Media philosophy with hands-on advice for making your SocMed plan work better.

Some posts focus on strategy – for example, why you should create “customer communities.” Others offer practical tips based on her own experiences, such as her personal list of sources for illustrations and images for blog posts and other uses.

One of her most popular posts is “See How They Did it: 104 Social Media Case Studies,” (find it in Column 3 in the “Timeless” category on the blog’s homepage), which combines advice on how to write a case study with reviews of case studies including campaigns for the movie “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo”.

8. B2B Marketing Insider

Although this blog covers a wide range of B2B topics, it’s particularly strong on Social Media, with posts that mix information, advice and pointers to resources for both marketers who are new to Social Media and those who are experienced hands. Michael Brenner, Director of Online and Social Media Marketing for the software company SAP, writes his own material, focusing it toward “results-oriented” marketers. (Brenner also contributes to a companion blog, B2C Marketing Insider.)

Two notable recent posts that blend strategy and how-to advice: “Integrate Social Media Into Your Marketing Mix” and “The Role of B2B Marketing,” which sounds like a sleep-inducing think piece but is actually a lively discussion of Social Media use in lead generation.

9. B2C Marketing Insider

This group-written blog aims to “expand readers’ awareness of marketing best practices and to encourage participation.” The emphasis is on participation, and the blog posts are written not just to inform but also to explain to marketers whether they should wade in to changes or sit them out. Like its companion blog, B2B Marketing Insider, this blog covers all aspects of Online Marketing but calls out Social Media in particular.

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