The truth is, simply using social media for business purposes does not make anyone an expert in the subject. At some point, most business owners say to themselves “OK, I need to get my head around this social media thing.” They head off on a social media workshop or book themselves onto a few webinars and then go for it. Unfortunately, what you learn today can become outdated within a day or a week, and sometimes even prehistoric within a month!
You'll think you know what you're talking about when actually – you're not even using the right lingo!
That's why so many businesses look for external support and outsource their social media management. It's a good way of bridging the knowledge gap, i.e. using someone who's job is essentially to stay ahead of the algorithms. Business owners use us here at GU for that reason – we have the knowledge they don't. From a social media perspective, we can help them brainstorm ideas or guide them on the best social media strategy to help them win business. They benefit from our knowledge.
But is that enough?
NO! it isn't! I realise that may sound a little counter-productive given what I do on a day to day basis, but hear me out…
You should not just outsource social media and leave it there. As a business owner, you need to understand the ‘Why' behind what is being done on your behalf by your social media partner.
You need to understand what the latest changes are and how that impacts your presence. And you need to understand what kinds of content are going to be most valuable to your business. An outsourced social media service can create content for you, but it’s not the same as that raw, authentic, fly on the wall content that's really going to stand out. If you understand the why and how of social, you will be able to identify the opportunities to gather the content that will drive your social media presence and also be able to understand the purpose of that content, and which platforms that content can be used on. You need to be able to identify that certain posts would work well on Facebook but not on LinkedIn, and the only way you are going to understand this stuff is by increasing your knowledge.
I am really passionate about ensuring that the people we work with are always learning from us, so they understand everything we are doing on their social media profiles for them, why we are doing it and how they can help us achieve their business goals.
How do I stay on top of what's new in social media for business?
I'll be honest with you, keeping up with what’s new in social media takes some time! It’s not as easy as a google search and reading a few articles – it's about constantly checking key resources, absorbing the information to understand what those articles mean (both in and out of context), and figuring out where the information might be applied; it’s also about sorting through the relevancy. For example, at the time of writing, there are articles reporting that Facebook is considering removing the like count on posts. What will that mean from a strategic perspective? A business perspective? A measuring results perspective? What does that mean in context for our clients? What does it mean in context for your business? Will it even happen? It's my job to understand and consider this and then communicate it to my clients in a way they'll understand – when the time is right and not before!
As you can imagine, for me personally, staying on top of this news takes a great deal of time. All the news that comes to me day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, I am reading pretty much in a real-time, but once a week, I sit down and I go through everything. Everything I've read, anything I might have missed, and all the key stories. I go through all of this content and read it again properly comparing reports and opinion. The point of doing that is to be able to get a fully rounded view of what is happening in the world of social media. Some of what I read is quite simple and accessible – but some of it can also be quite technical and understandably overwhelming for someone whose day job is not in using social media for business.
Social Media For Business News Sources
The purpose of this article is to point you in the direction of some sources of information that I believe will help you keep your knowledge up to date without being overly technical. I follow in the region of 20 different blogs, and that doesn’t include the related podcasts and other resources I follow too! So, from my personal list, here are five blogs I think anyone using social media for business should definitely be signed up to.
So, off we go…
- Hubspot – Informative blogs and some of the best downloads and tools around! Check out their tool for building personas!
- Social Media Examiner – Lots of How to / explainer articles mixed with opinion
- Social Media Today – Lots of what's new as well as general advice and guidance pieces. If you're visual, they also share tones of infographics!
- Adespresso – This for the social advertisers among you. I love that they test and test and test – and then write up their findings in their blogs!
- LinkedIn Marketing blog – Be careful here as there's a fair amount of content that's intended to sell LinkedIn upgrades. However, if you can look beyond that, there's also some fantastic insight into how to make LinkedIn work better and what LinkedIn is looking for in the content that is being shared on the platform.
And, go on, you can have a bonus resource… the Green Umbrella Blog of course!