Social Media For Dummies: Top 10 Guides to Getting Started

At the recent TAFA Conference in Washington, DC, several people asked me for some guidance on where to find more information for beginners on how to get started in social media. Of course, I think The Social Animal is going to be your best bet because it focuses specifically on animal welfare issues, but we don’t have too much content just yet.

I couldn’t think of any sites off the top of my head, so I said I would look into this and get back to you. Those of you who asked me to email you, I’ll send you a message; for everyone else, here is my top 10 list of social media guides and information for absolute beginners:

  1. Chris Brogan’s Social Media Starter Pack – Chris Brogan is an authority on social media, a great writer and just a genuine nice guy that you’d really like to hang out with. He has great advice. Some of it is more designed for people trying to sell products, but really everything is, in one way or another, “selling”. I recommend subscribing to his newsletter as well.
  2. From DoshDosh: Social Media Marketing Campaigns: How to Set Goals and Define Your Target Market – Before you can do anything with social media, you need to think about it and develop a plan. Trust me: it’s SO much easier to do if you have a plan and have established goals. This will help you do that.
  3. 35 Tips for Getting Started in Social Media – This has some great strategy tips for things to do to lay really solid groundwork for your social media campaign.
  4. How to Build a Social Media Cheat Sheet for Any Topic – This is great information and how-to (with screen shots) on how to find what other people are doing in social media in your field. It is very useful to see what other people are blogging, Tweeting, etc. so that you can learn what they’re doing. It’s kind of long and the steps are intensive, but the payoff is great; the information you gain will help you infinitely as you go forward.
  5. Problogger’s Blogging Tips for Beginners – Problogger is a wonderful site with a wealth of resources for bloggers of all experience levels. Here’s their guide for beginners.
  6. 10 Easy Steps for Twitter Beginners – A great, simple, easy to understand overview of Twitter and how to use it.
  7. IIG’s Social Media Beginner’s Guide – An easy to understand primer on social media: what it is, how to get started, how to use it. Really good primer.
  8. Beth Kanter’s guide to non-profits that tweet – Beth Kanter is the US authority on blogging and social media for nonprofits. I would suggest you follow her on Twitter and subscribe to her blog.
  9. Superlist of what NOT to do in social media – This is a very informative list, with some videos, about major mistakes and what not to do. It’s always interesting to chuckle and say, “Oh, I’d NEVER do that!” (or at least, you THINK you wouldn’t…)
  10. Here are a few books as well, if you’re interested in reading more in depth: Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies. This is a fascinating study in why social networks are so powerful. Well written and easy to read.  This study is based on comprehensive research.  Marketing to the Social Web: How Digital Customer Communities Build Your Business. This book covers extensive case studies and is very useful in understanding the big picture of social marketing.   Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion. Robert Cialdini is the master of understanding how to market to people. His book is illuminating on a personal and professional level. These are just a few books out there; much is being written and published every day on this topic. If you’re interested in reading more about the the theory and practice of social media, these are my favorites.

Do you have other web sites that you’ve found helpful? If so, please post comments here so we can all check them out!

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I'm available via most social media, so drop me a line! I'll answer your questions and I really look forward to hearing from you and helping if I can!

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