As social media marketers, we understand the fluidity of social media. We need to keep up with platform algorithm changes, adjust our strategies, revise our advertising to adhere to new policies and best practices, change optimized photo sizes, and then wait for the next big announcement and start over again. Because social media is ever-evolving, we need to ensure that we stay in peak condition for our clients or our own companies (and sometimes both).
Here are some ideas on how to keep up with ever-evolving social media platforms.
1. Take Advantage of Social Media Education Platforms. Much like a gym is a resource to keep our bodies fit, each social platform offers its own source of training designed to keep us sharp on best practices and how-tos, regardless of our level of expertise. With years of experience in the social media marketing field, we have found that using these educational tools regularly helps us keep our skills sharp and assists in providing best-in-class service to clients.
Some platforms offer training for free, others require payment and some offer a combination of free and paid educational materials. Certain platforms, like Facebook Blueprint and Twitter Flight School, provide comprehensive training tools, while others, like Pinterest Academy, are not as robust.
2. Follow the Experts. While we are busy reviewing content, diving into analytics, managing our social teams and clients, and even handling our own business pages, it can be hard to set aside time to keep up with best practices and changes. Maybe, as a manager, you rely on your team to get granular and spend time on the social media educational platforms so you can continue to manage the day-to-day fires that always seem to pop up. But a strong leader still should have knowledge of the movement happening within the industry.
With the limited time many of us have, we can rely on those who make it their jobs to be experts on each platform. These industry experts can serve not only as a news source but also as an aggregate for all of the moving pieces that make up social media. To keep up with various platforms, we check in with the Queen of Facebook Mari Smith for all things Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Jon Loomer is a must-know resource for Facebook advertising. We look to Mark Schaefer for all things content marketing (and a bit of inspiration and never-ending positivity). Madalyn Sklar nails it with Twitter expertise. And there are so many more. You can also bookmark Social Media Today and Social Media Examiner as two of the best places on the web to visit for information. And don’t forget about following the respective social media platforms’ own pages or accounts and their blogs, too.
3. Let the Experts Come to You. Start your day with a cup of tea or coffee and some time with your inbox before turning on Slack or attending your early morning meetings. Taking 15 minutes every morning to get settled in is not only a great way to start the day, but it also gives you time to read industry news from trusted sources. While there are many e-mail newsletters you can subscribe to, the ones that are the best sources of timely and relevant information that I can’t wait to devour include SmartBrief on Social Business (and any of SmartBrief’s suite of newsletters), Social Media Today’s e-mail newsletter, Digiday Daily, and Social Pro Daily from Adweek. These are just a few of the newsletters that contain important information that helps influence the everyday social media actions we take at Clearbridge Branding Agency.
Some of the social platforms have their own newsletters as well, like Facebook IQ or Twitter for Business, that you can register to receive, although they don’t necessarily come daily.
Setting up a Google Alert with keywords that you want to be the first to know about is also an easy way to stay in the know.
As policies and best practices change, and even as governmental regulations affect the major social media sites, it is in our best interest as social media marketers to educate ourselves and stay on top of how to fully use these platforms. We don’t need to spend a lot of time doing it, but it’s important to use the online resources right at our fingertips.
As originally published on Forbes.com.