How to Learn Social Media Marketing: 41 Resources for Beginners

March 13, 2015


Social media is one of those marketing channels that can be very powerful or very boring. You'll either have a lot of success interacting with your customers, or you'll see little results. Few do social media really well, and those who do see great things come from it. But for everyone who does social media well, there are hundreds of others seemingly spinning their social wheels with no results.

For many, social media is simply a place to post links to content they've created in hopes that thousands will see it, click through, and share with their followers. So they have profiles on every network, and every network looks exactly the same; line after line of self-promotion. This is not going to bring results.

Half-heartedly sharing your content on social media is not social media marketing. It's spamming.  (tweet this)

Social marketing is a lot of work, and it takes time listening and responding. It's social, and anything social takes an investment of effort and skill. 

Check out these 41 resources that will help you develop the skills needed to be effective on social media. You may want to bookmark this post so you can easily refer to it again later.

Blogs on Social Media

Social marketing is a science involving special communication skills. And the landscape changes constantly. 

One of the best ways to develop your social media prowess and to stay up-to-date is to follow experts in the field. These blogs are always fresh with actionable information you can use to improve your marketing:

1) Social Media Explorer

SME is both a strategic services agency and a blog with a bevy of social media and marketing experts. The SME blog is consistently considered one of the most insightful in the industry, and several of their authors have written popular books on several aspects of digital and social marketing.

2) Scott Monty

Scott is a marketing guru who covers a ton of subjects. However, his social media articles are always eye opening. If you haven't heard of Scott yet, check out his "this week in digital" posts, these will keep you up-to-date with all the news on social, and every other aspect of digital marketing as well.

3)  Social Media Examiner

Not to be confused with Social Media Explorer, the Examiner is one of the top blogs in the world for social media. Their social media reports are filled with all the important data social marketers want. Their blog posts are filled with valuable tips as well. If I had to pick just one social media blog to follow, this is the one I would choose.

4) Social Media B2B

Social media is a science, and connecting with consumers is a different world than connecting with other brands. For B2B social marketing, you have to take marketing to another level. For any B2B company, this is a blog I would follow for social marketing insights.

5) Must-Read Blog Articles

ebooks on Social Media

These ebooks will provide deeper information on specific networks and topics.

1) An Introduction to LinkedIn for Business 

Other Introduction ebooks by HubSpot:This step-by-step guide explains the reasons to created a LinkedIn company page, the anatomy of the perfect company page, and step-by-step instruction on how to setup a company page.

2) A Visual Guide to Creating the Perfect LinkedIn Company Page 

If you're building a company page for the first time, or trying to upgrade your page, this guide will show you exactly how to do everything from crafting an engaging company description to creating an eye-catching banner image.

3) How to Attract Customers on Twitter and Vine 

This 61-page ebook will show you how to use Twitter to drive real business results, and generate leads.

4) The Guide to Facebook Business Page Timelines 

Over 11,000 marketers have downloaded this ebook, which covers the best practices business timelines, including examples and explanations of the features you need to know.

5) The Definitive Guide to Getting Started on Social Media 

This ebook is chock full of useful information for marketers who are just getting started with social media. it covers the basic best practices for each of the major social networks. This one is definitely worth the download.

6) The Essential Guide to Social Marketing Campaigns

This ebook will teach you the 5 pillars of running successful social media campaigns that will drive business growth.

7) The Beginner's Guide to Social Media 

Last, but definitely not least is this amazing guide from Moz. The 12 chapters in this book are filled with valuable information that every marketer absolutely needs to know. Bookmark this guide, you'll refer to it more than once!

Videos on Social Media

Videos are my second favorite medium to learn, behind books. Being able to glean from the brightest minds on any subject like you're face to face is powerful. These videos will give you valuable insights, just how to do social media, but you'll get insights into the  why and what as well.

1) The #AskGaryVee Show

You can't talk about social media without talking about speaker, author, and social expert Gary Vaynerchuk. On the Gary Vee Show, he takes questions from his audience and answers them as only he can. If you have a burning question on social media marketing, send it to him.

2) Ted Talks: Social Media Marketing

If you aren't in love with Ted, you need to check your pulse. This is a playlist of videos from Ted Talks on social media. There may not be that much actionable advice in these videos. But if you want to become an expert on social media, these videos will give you insight into the deeper subject like, "the hidden influence of social networks."

3) Learn Social Media Marketing -

If you're really new to social media, and you want to learn through a structured lesson experience, consider Lynda's massive library on social marketing classes. 

Podcasts on Social Media

If you like to learn while you chill, work out, or commute to and from work, podcasts are one of the best ways to do it. And these podcasts will help you develop your social media expertise.

1) Social Media Marketing Podcast - By Michael Stelzner

Michael, from Social Media Examiner, brings you success stories and expert interviews from leading social media marketing pros.

2) The Social Media Examiner Show

social-pros-album-artRather than deep dives, the SME Show gives you small, bite-sized content for social media every day. This is a great podcast to get actionable quick-tips on a daily basis. It'll keep you motivated while you develop your skills.

3) The Social Toolkit - By Social Fresh

If you like to stay up-to-date on digital tools, apps, and software for social media marketing, this is the podcast for you.

4) The Social Pros Podcast - By Jay Baer

Every episode of the Social Pros Podcast shines the light on real pros doing real work for real companies. You'll get insights from Jay Baer of  Convince and Convert, and Jeff Rohrs of Salesforce.

Slideshows and Infographics on Social Media

If you're a visual learner, these slide decks and infographics is another great way to learn social media.

1) Social Media 101 - Slideshow

This slideshow gives you a high-level overview of social media.

2) The B2B Social Media Palette - Slideshow

This slideshare walks you through the channels and tools you'll need to be most effective at B2B social media marketing. Sometimes, success is in using the right tools and channels for the right audience.

3) The Complete Guide to the Best Times to Post on Social Media - Slideshow

4) A Complete Guide To The Best Times To Post On Social Media (And More!) 

Timing is very important with social media. Posted at the wrong time, your update can go completely unnoticed because of the flood of updates in your audience's feeds. Being able to master the timing of social media is critical to effective marketing.

5) 58 Social Media Tips for Content Marketers - Slideshow

This slideshow is from the folks at Content Marketing Institute. This deck shows the proper methods for promoting your content over social media. This is a must-read for any social marketer who wants to use those channels to promote content.

6) The Best and Worst Times to Post on Social Media - Infographic

Again, timing is everything. This infographic lays out the best and worst times to post on each major network. You should save this infographic for referencing when you schedule your social media posts.

Books on Social Media

Books are my favorite way to learn. Many experts agree that if you read a book a week, on your area of expertise, for 5 years, you will have the equivalent of a PhD on the subject. That may or may not be true, but reading books from the experts definitely doesn't make you a worse marketer. Here's some books to get you started:

1) The B2B Social Media Book - By Kipp Bodnar and Jeffrey Cohen

This book covers the specific application of social marketing to B2B companies, to leverage social media to drive leads and revenue.

2) The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users - By Guy Kawasaki

You've got to read this book by the legendary former Chief Evangelist of Apple. Guy is one of the pioneers of social and content marketing, and this book is filled with expert advice from one of the best.

3) The Tao of Twitter - By Mark Schaefer

This book is supposed to be for busy marketers who need to get the basics of Twitter down quickly. This book shows you how to connect and start creating meaningful connections in less than two hours.

4) The Ultimate Guide to Facebook Advertising

Facebook is one of the most effective advertising and PPC platforms available. You can target on a plethora of metrics, allowing you to drill down and advertise to a very specific audience. This book will show you how to optimize your Facebook ads.

5) Jab, Jab, Right Hook: How to Tell Your Story in a Noisy Social World - By Gary Vaynerchuk

Gary gives insight into how he uses a conversational, reactionary approach to engaging his audience. He gives concrete, visual examples of great social marketing, and not so great as well.

6) The New Rules of Marketing and PR - By David Meerman Scott

David's book on digital marketing is an international bestseller and worth every penny. It should be required reading for any marketer. Just read it.

7) Likable Social Media - By Dave Kerpen

Dave claims the secret to viral social marketing is to be likable. When someone likes you, they'll recommend you. But being likable on social networks is easier said than done. This book will help you crack that code.

8) Social Media Marketing for Dummies - By Jan Zimmerman

One of my mentors taught me to read children's books on a subject if I just couldn't grasp a concept. This principle gave birth to the "Explain It Like I'm 5," movement. Sometimes you just need it broken down like you're a dummy. If that's you, this book is valuable. Go ahead and buy it, we won't call you dummy. 

The #1 Secret to Social Media Success

No matter how many social networks you set out to master, or how long you work in the social marketing field, there is one secret that will ensure you're successful: Never stop learning!

This list is massive, I know, and there's no way to consume all these resources in the next week. But if you set yourself to learning every day, every week, every month, every year, you'll eventually be the one writing the books that help others learn social marketing. 

It all begins with learning.

10 Things I've Learned About Social Media:

  • Social marketing requires listening.
  • Conversations should be the goal of social marketing.
  • Team #Followback is a waste of time.
  • Social marketing isn't broadcasting, it's communicating.
  • Never auto-post your content to your social profiles.
  • Never copy/paste the same message to every social profile.
  • Social marketing requires time. It's relationship-building on a massive scale.
  • Be helpful. Period.
  • Social is faster support than live chat, email, or phone calls. Embrace it.
  • You don't have to be on every network. Go where your customers are.

What have you learned about social media marketing? Please share in the comments!

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