Editor’s Note: This article was originally published by Web Marketing Today. Practical Ecommerce acquired Web Marketing Today in 2012. In 2016, we merged the two sites, leaving Practical Ecommerce as the successor.
I love free guides and ebooks on the topic of social media marketing. I have an entire Google Drive folder full of them that I update consistently and share with my team. Here are 11 of my favorites, to share with you.
2015 Social Media Tactical Plan
This ebook, from Marketo, is one of the best places to start when you’re just beginning to implement a social media marketing plan for your small business. Read it carefully, and complete all the steps before you even consider writing your first tweet.
The downloadable PDF will help you document your primary objectives and action items, the number of hours you’re willing to dedicate, how to differentiate your goals based on the social media platforms you use, and your key performance indicators for gauging success.
Sample Social Media Editorial Calendar
This ebook is a follow-up to the tactical plan above, and it helps you put that plan into action. You may want to consider printing this one and physically filling in the blanks, for maximum effect. You’ll further define your goals and objectives, build a consistent brand voice, and implement an editorial calendar that will help keep you on track.
The Social Media Content Calendar Every Marketer Needs
This template comes from Hubspot, my favorite source of information for all things related to inbound marketing. The company’s ebooks are typically a bit more advanced than Marketo’s, but this spreadsheet is the next logical step for you to take.
It’s imperative for any company to have a detailed content calendar, even if you’ve been marketing your business through social media for a while now. This spreadsheet has a number of different tabs, each focusing on a single social media platform, to help keep your calendar clear and uncluttered.
The first tab acts as an overview snapshot of the month, and each subsequent tab has a different format that is best suited to the individual platform. Just delete the tabs for the services you won’t be using.
These three downloads alone will ramp up your social media efforts to an entirely new level.
Strategies for Effective Wall Posts: A Timeline Analysis
This PDF, from Buddy Media, is my social media Bible. The information comes from a study compiled in 2012, but it’s just as informative now as ever. Buddy Media analyzed user engagement on over 1,800 Facebook pages from the world’s biggest brands and put all the information in an easily digestible format.
The ebook includes the best days to post, the best time of the day, how often to post, what types of posts are the most popular, how long your copy should be, and so much more. It also includes specific words to use and which ones to avoid. The best part is that it even segments some of the information by industry.
Save this one in a place you’ll remember, and return to it often.
The Definitive Guide to Social Marketing
This guide is similar to the above analysis but focuses mainly on B2B marketing. However, the information found in it can be applied to B2C industries just as easily .
What separates this guide from Buddy Media’s is that it tackles more platforms than merely Facebook, and it discusses how to inject social media at every stage of the sales funnel.
The Essential Guide to Social Media Advertising
This ebook, also from Hubspot, will help you grow your social media engagement and reach exponentially, as well as monetize your efforts. It covers the big three social media platforms: Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
The Social Media Cheat Sheet Series
To round out my list, here is a series of short PDFs that detail the best practices for the larger social media services. These include:
- Facebook Cheat Sheet;
- Twitter Cheat Sheet;
- LinkedIn Cheat Sheet;
- Pinterest and Instagram Cheat Sheet;
- Google+ Cheat Sheet.
There are a near-infinite amount of ebooks and free PDFs available to you, so don’t just stick to the ones listed here. Find the platform that best suits your business marketing needs and start scouring the search engines for the best ones to help achieve your goals. Remove the guesswork and trial and error from social media. Others have done the research already. All you need to do is find it.