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SMB Tip: Make Twitter Your Research Librarian

A few good Twitter lists will make online research faster and more targeted, while giving you deeper insight into trends. With a couple of clicks, you can build a real-time research team to give you breadth and depth on business issues, strategies and challenges. I’ve put together a “Starter Kit” of lists to help you find the sources and eventually make your own list.

How to Use This Post

  • Subscribe to 1 of the Strategy & Ideas Lists, then choose 1 or 2 from the other sections based on what you are working on.
  • Take 15 minutes every other day to skim the lists for content that matters to you.
  • After a couple of weeks, start following 2-3 people from each list that have provided the most value to you.
  • Repeat for a couple of months, then build your own Twitter List that is focused on the sources you value (the ones you decided to follow).

[box type=”info” style=”rounded” border=”full”]Here is my Digital Signals list that I built this way & I use everyday.[/box]

Why These Lists

You’ll find that these lists are not the biggest. I put more weight on quality of sources than on quantity. You’ll also see that I shy away from lists that are too niche. If you are looking for info about a very narrow topic (e.g. marketing consumer electronics in Basque country), then leave a comment and I’ll see what I can find. For each list, I also show a representative tweet, so you have an idea what you are getting into.

Strategy & Ideas Lists

Small Business by Anita Campbell (smallbiztrends)

Small Biz Trends is a great resource for anyone running their own business & Anita is a major influencer. The list isn’t all marketing all the time, but you’ll come across some gems pretty often. The posts in this list run the gamut from how-tos to discussion of tax strategy.

Marketing by Cathy Harrison (@virtualmrx)

A better name might be “Marketing Execs”. You get a lot of CMOs and marketing professionals sharing their thoughts. Not a lot of how-to or tutorial content, but you’ll see interesting stats regularly and hear from execs about what matters to them or their thoughts on key ideas.

Analytics & Data Lists

Web Analytics & ECommerce by Kristina Medow

There are bigger lists out there, but this one highlights some key thinkers and always has something accessible for beginners. It’s a good mix of shops that publish regularly and personalities/speakers sharing their ideas.

Data Science by Jody Edmondson

Not always accessible to the laymen, but a good resource for learning about statistical analysis and best practice for working with data. Forbes just announced that 2014 is the year of marketing analytics…so you need to get your game up.

Marketing Channels

Search Marketing by Danny Sullivan

Danny is the founder, editor and prolific writer for both Search Engineland & Marketing Land. This list has a mix a of both search specialists, and marketing thinkers. I’d say it leans a little heavy on SEL and ML content, but that’s to be expected and isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Social Media by Mashable

I like this list because it features people with a great twitter presence instead of publishers that are just pushing a lot of volume. Great list to look at to see how to become better at Twitter and other social networks. The one downside is that you’ll have periods of the day where a few accounts tend to dominate. As I write this, every other tweet seems to be from Chris Brogan.

ESPs by Email Marketing

I feel a little guilty about this one because Email Marketing is an automated account. But you’ll find updates, blog posts and tools from all the major email service providers, list services and email marketing firms in one place. It’s great for finding integrations, segmentation ideas and updates on new features.

This is a Work in Progress

There are some topics and sources that I haven’t found yet. I’m looking for a good affiliate marketing list, more on demographic research, and a list with intro-level programming content. I also think I’need lists for platforms (WordPress, Magento, Drupal, ATG, WebSphere, Salesforce, etc.).

 

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