Once thought of as a passing craze among young adults, social media has taken the online world by storm. The glory days of Myspace and Friendster may have fallen but other social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ have risen and now breaking ground, conquering unexplored markets and business sectors. Casual Internet users now are depending on social networks and social media to interact with family and friends, and companies are relying on the social movement to sell goods through online advertising.
Where should a casual user or startup start looking for the best resources about social media?
To give you a head start and avoid wasting time looking for what’s not there, we came up with OUR list of the top 5 social media blogs that you need to follow. As much as possible (we may be wrong), we searched for the blogs that are solely dedicating their time on news and topics about social media. Interestingly, all of them start with the word “Social.”
For those who have already visited any of the blogs below, drop a comment if you think they deserve to be on this list or if another blog is more worthy of a mention.
Social Media Examiner, arguably the largest online social media magazine, caters the business industry from startups and small enterprises to major companies. It provides advices on how businesses can take optimal advantage of social media, blogs, and podcasts to reach out to customers, increase website traffic, raise brand awareness and generate more revenue.
According to its website, which currently has almost 200,000 email subscribers, the mission is to guide social media enthusiasts through the continuously evolving social movement.
With an average of more than 5.5 million readers per year who await its posts daily its popularity drew accolades from industry experts – Advertising Age and Technorati ranked SocialMediaExaminer.com as one of the top 10 business blogs in the world.
Social Media Examiner hosts one of the most popular marketing podcasts on iTunes called Social Media Marketing, and the industry-leading Social Media Marketing World conference, which will kick off in San Diego on April 7, 2013.
The blog site provides a free Networking Clubs community, where thousands of business owners and marketers interact and offer each other advices.
Since it only focuses on one area, Social Media Examiner has some of the most comprehensive articles (and other contents) on the best tools to tap into social media. It also contains original analyses and reports, reviews from the latest research, and personal advices the industry-leading experts.
Founder Michael Stelzner, who writes books and heads major industry events Social Media Marketing World and Social Media Success Summit, helms Social Media Examiner. He hosts the Social Media Marketing podcast show on iTunes.
Social Media Today, founded by Robin Carey, launched as a company in 2007. It aims to connect industry-leading experts from different sectors through business conversations that connect organizations with people they want to influence.
When print media started to embrace the digital trend, and the online world was abuzz with social movements, the company saw social media as a major platform to help lead the communication between clients, employees, and experts from various sectors.
The firm chose to release its first platform in SocialMediaToday.com, which almost immediately rose through the ranks and became a major community for marketers and journalists to share ideas about social media.
After proving that independent online communities are the foundation of business-to-business (B2B) social media, Social Media Today expanded its network and TheEnergyCollective.com soon followed SocialMediaToday.com.
Led by experts, the Social Media Today network hosts online discussions on several topics through these platforms: MyVenturePad, TheSocialCustomer, SustainableCitiesCollective, SustainableBusinessForum, TheCustomerCollective, GoverningPeople, SmartDataCollective, HealthworksCollective, and others.
Other than regularly posting articles on its blog, Social Media Today also offers webinars (web seminars), eBooks, controlled Twitter conversations, and other kinds of content.
The company says it has more than 100,000 registered members and 1,800 bloggers on its network. It generates around 700,000 visits per month, which, it says, grows double digits every month. It has also received several accolades and words of praise from media frontrunners such as The New York Times.
SocialMouths is the brainchild of author Francisco Rosales. It is a medium for him to provide free advice and recommendations on what’s necessary to have a successful online campaign.
The blog focuses on discussions about blogging, content marketing, conversion, email marketing, social media, and web traffic.
In Francisco’s own words: “The goal is to provide massive value on a weekly basis with a 0% bullshit attitude.”
With SocialMouths, Francisco works with clients, most of which are startups and small businesses. He designs and develops blogs and websites, and creates social media and blogging strategies to generate traffic and drive sales.
Social Media Examiner – yes, the same one on this list – recently awarded SocialMouths as the top social media blog last year based on user votes.
Social Technology Review ranked SocialMouths as 59th of the Top 100 Influencers in Social Media.
While it regularly posts articles on the website, Social Media Explorer is actually a services agency and an information products company that focuses on the contents of social media marketing (SMM) and digital marketing.
Social Media Explorer is a platform for publishing views, editorials, and educational material on social media and digital marketing, online advertising, public relations, and communications.
At times, the site accepts affiliate advertisements on top of main advertisements and reveals the partnership with the advertisers.
Social Media Explorer occasionally publishes editorial content about its affiliates and advertising sponsors. According to the website, these offerings, similar to affiliate advertisements, have full disclosure of the business relationship.
It claims that it will not accept on-site advertising for products and services they do not use personally or support.
As a leading social media blog, SocialMediaExplorer.com received several honors from renowned award-giving bodies, including a first place on Advertising Age Power 150 Marketing Blogs. It is highly considered as one of the top social media marketing and general marketing blogs worldwide.
With several years of experience under their belt, SME CEO Nichole Kelly and her crew offer SMM and digital marketing strategy and management, information drives and events, and various research products.
Social Media Explorer, mainly written by founder and digital strategist Jason Falls and Kelly, has a roster of thought leaders in SMM and digital marketing.
5. Social Fresh
Social Fresh actually is a social media education company that creates advanced social media training resources for social marketers. Its mission is to revolutionize the creation of better businesses with the help of social media.
Jason Keath, the founder and chief executive of Social Fresh, is a renowned consultant and speaker of social media.
In 2008, Keath bought the SocialFresh.com domain to prepare for an annual conference on social media called Social Fresh Conference. Ever since the purchase, Social Fresh has organized top social media conferences in the United States, including two high-level annual conferences: Social Fresh EAST and Social Fresh WEST.
Two years ago, Social Fresh established InvestInSocial.com, a social media agency directory – by social marketers, for social marketers – that now includes vendors and software products.
Social Fresh started to offer online social media training in 2011 to accompany the conference series and cater to its rapidly increasing audience worldwide.
The company continues to build relationships with the top social marketers in the industry to offer various services and networking prospects for businesses that use social media.