How to Continue Your Online Marketing Education

It seems like there’s a new development in online marketing just about every day, right? Things evolve so rapidly that you might be having a hard time keeping up. For example, what exactly is a Pinterest and do you need one? You added people to your Circles on Google+ but now what do you do with them? The following tips should help you on your journey to continuing online marketing education.

Read relevant blogs.

Since you’re reading this blog post right now, you’re already on the right track to keeping up with marketing trends. For those who are serious about continuing their marketing education, it’s essential to stay organized. Once you’ve found more than one or two blogs you want to keep up with, you may want to subscribe via email or RSS feed – for example, using Google Reader.

Follow influential Tweeps.

You may find that many of your favorite marketing bloggers are also using Twitter to exchange ideas and engage in conversations about the constantly evolving nature of online marketing. Although these Tweets are much shorter and simpler than the thoughts laid out in a blog post, they are often posted much more frequently and allow for more one-on-one interaction. If you don’t know where to start, try following:

  • Your favorite companies – a Twitter handle should be easy to find on their official websites
  • Influential people from those companies – a simple Twitter search can help you find them
  • Accounts that influence those people and companies (simply see who they follow and retweet)
  • Our CEO Shama Kabani, @Shama on Twitter

If you start following more people than you can keep up with, try downloading one of the many Twitter desktop clients. You can organize your contacts into easily manageable lists, instead of trying to follow all of them in one stream.

Join LinkedIn groups.

Whatever your industry or concern, there’s probably a LinkedIn group addressing it, and it’s full of professionals just like you. Once you join a group, LinkedIn will suggest similar groups that you may also be interested in joining. If you have a question, you can ask it to your group members. Or you can pose it to the LinkedIn community at large using the LinkedIn Answers feature, which you may not have noticed since it’s buried in a submenu.

The Answers feature is a lot like Yahoo! Answers, except the questions are less outlandish and more professionally focused. You can pose your question into a specific category – marketing has its own, with multiple subcategories – and members of the LinkedIn community will answer for you. You can also answer other people’s questions, if you’re so inclined.

Attend a webinar.

There are tons of useful marketing conferences and seminars, but how are you supposed to get to all of them? Unless you have an unlimited budget and a private jet (and if you do, congratulations), you’re probably not going to make it to everything that interests you. The affordable alternative? Attend webinars. They’re generally free, and you can watch and listen from the comfort of your own office. Can’t make the webinar? Presentations are often posted online after the fact, either on the company website or Slideshare. Contact the specific webinar organizer for information.

Talk to an expert.

If you have a very specific question or concern, it may be more useful to contact an online marketing expert one-on-one. Reach out to your current marketing firm, or give The Marketing Zen Group a shout if you don’t have a designated online marketing team.

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