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2013 was a great year for us here at UpCity. We witnessed many interesting stories unfold (Google Hummingbird update, Twitter’s IPO) as well as amazing innovations in social media (Snapchat) and technology (Google Glass). Much of what we are excited about is yet to come, but as we look back through 2013, we can’t help but reflect on some of the more intriguing stories to hit the inbound marketing scene.

Social media will keep growing bigger in 2014 (said every marketer ever last year), and we are pumped for the coming announcements. For now though, step on back to some of the best social media posts of 2013. We have twenty, and we are raring to share them with you. Some of these blog posts you may remember reading, and others you might have skipped, but no doubt you will recognize their relevance even now.

Sit tight, and get ready for our 20 favorite blog posts of 2013!

1. The Ultimate Guide to Google Plus Posts | Martin Shervington

Make no mistake, we are big Google Plus fans here at UpCity. Any resource that can point to the usefulness of Google Plus is terrific in our books. Martin Shervington’s guide to Google Plus posts stands far above the rest as he delves deep into every publishing feature on the platform.

2. Getting More Social Shares to Your Website | Jason Acidre

One of the top surface-level metrics for any blog or website is social share count. If you gain more shares in a single post, it will increase its influence and reach within its niche on various social networks as well. Therefore, it’s a no-brainer to increase your social influence. Jason Acidre shows us the tried-and-true to most reliably attain social shares in an excellently detailed post.

3. How to Use Hashtags in Your Social Media Marketing | Rachel Sprung

Hashtags are the topic nodes of social media. Most people know how to use them, but not many people use hashtags effectively. When utilized correctly, your content has the potential to reach a massive audience in multiple social media channels. Rachel Sprung’s definitive guide to hashtags is one of our favorites.

4. Amazing Correlation Between Google +1s and Higher Search Rankings | Cyrus Shepard

It is the post that started it all: the debate that argued the true relevance of Google Plus +1’s was sparked on the Moz blog. We like this post specifically for the discussion it sparked on whether Google places higher value on its social network than others in regards to PageRank and search. Thanks to Cyrus Shepard for creating an interesting collection of opinions on Google.

5. 12 Awesome Social Media Facts and Statistics for 2013 | Jeff Bullas

Everyone loves a good statistic now and again and Jeff Bullas presents data within a demographic context. Even though Pinterest is the fastest growing social network, this does not mean it has more active users than Facebook. Moreover, Google Plus is definitely catching up to Facebook in number of accounts, but may not necessarily be the most active platform for users. We urge you to take a look at the rest of the data, as it gives perspective on next steps r your business’s social media.

6. 6 Recent Twitter Changes You Should Know About to Optimize Your Tweeting | Belle Beth Cooper

Twitter was one of the bigger stars on the social media stage last year. Throughout 2013, the company released a host of new changes and features to optimize your business. Belle Beth Cooper breaks down some of the top tweaks to the Twitter platform in an informational post that will have you augmenting your Twitter strategy in no time.

7.  The Most Innovative Social Media Companies 2013 | Fast Company Staff

Sometimes we forget about all the other plays in the social media game than Facebook, Google, and Twitter. The Fast Company staff includes Pinterest, Tumblr, and BuzzFeed in its list of innovative social media companies, but that’s about it in terms of mainstream marketing platforms. The other companies are also shining examples that already live up to their potential, and that’s why this post sits at one of the year’s best.

8. LinkedIn’s Most Glaring Deficiencies And How To Get Around Them | Annie Cushing

It’s not everyday that marketers talk about the cons of their beloved networking platforms. Annie Cushing offers one of the best critiques to LinkedIn we’ve ever read. Here’s to hoping LinkedIn fixes most, if not all, of the glaring issues plaguing the network.

9. How I Use @Pocket @Buffer & @IFTTT to Make My Social Sharing Efficient | Dennis Goedegebuure

Social media automation is something marketers have been trying to effectively put in place for years. Dennis Goedegebuure has helped bring to light a formula for getting content published on different platforms using unique “recipes.” Still unsure on what we mean? Check out the rest of this post.

10. How These Photographers are Making a Living on Instagram | Christina Farr

2013 saw the rise of innovation for Facebook’s Instagram app, including the ability to upload 30-second videos. This article highlights what can come from monetizing your social network. Thanks to Instagram, many people are easily becoming entrepreneurs. Christina Farr provides the full story in a superb article.

11. Why I’m Long Term Invested in Google Plus | Mark Traphagen

Since the launch of Google Plus, many people have written off the network as a platform that does not have an audience. However, this Mark Traphagen post exemplifies Google’s product strategy. In fact, Google Plus may soon become the top social network of all time.

12. How Are People Using Facebook? Survey of 325 Users | Eric Enge

Not everyone on Facebook likes or posts status updates via their Wall or News Feed. From joining Facebook groups to messaging friends, understanding how users  connect with Facebook greatly affects your marketing strategy. Eric Enge provides a report covering 325 Facebook users (not representative of the general Facebook audience by any means) that is indeed insightful.

13. Why the Instagram v. Vine Debate is the Wrong Conversation | Ann Handley

Vine vs Instagram: the two social apps are locked in a battle royale! Or are they? The best thing about this article is that the obvious questions are the wrong ones to be asking in this scenario. Ann Handley instead wonders whether Instagram’s new video feature could harm Instagram itself.

14. How SparkPeople Gets HUGE Traffic from Pinterest | Cynthia Sanchez

Seeing how other companies leverage their social media proves to be one of the best ways to learn how to improve your own social media. SparkPeople garnered an enormous following on Pinterest, and Cynthia Sanchez conducts a smart podcast interview with the digital marketing manager to learn tips and tactics.

15. 10 Expectations from Social Media Marketing in 2013 | Cygnis Media

With great power in social media (to market to whomever you want), comes great expectations. Are you spamming the same message repeatedly as a marketer, or are you sharing ideas and stories worth spreading? Cygnis Media expects social networks to use their power in a valuable way, in order to connect individuals and spark conversation.

16. 9 Pet Peeves from Running the UsVsTh3m Social Media Brand Accounts | Martin Belam

It’s not everyday that a marketer chronicles his experience managing a brand with nearly 10,000 followers on Twitter. Martin Belam lists his trials and tribulations while running the UsVsTh3m Twitter profile. This post gives us the perspective behind company lines, demonstrating how tweeting as a business may not be as simple as one believes.

17. Why You’re Doing Social Media Wrong | Kyle Kirkland

Check out the view from one who seeks to help companies improve their social media content. Ben Harper is the co-Founder of Zazzle Media. He deeply believes in the importance of social and how it should be a huge focus for every company. Kyle Kirkland’s presentation transcript receives a top spot in our books.

18. Free Analytic Tools: The Ultimate Guide | Ian Cleary

Various analytics tools can complex and empower your Twitter account. Analytics encompasses much more than retweet counts and @ reply mentions: There are competitive analyses tools to consider, demographics to delve into, and reports to curate. Mike Stelzner shows us the versatility of the Twitter platform and some noteworthy tools.

19. How to Leverage Power Words for Social Media Writing Impact | Courtney Ramirez

In your social media streams, there isn’t much time to stand out from the rest of the content marketed to your target audience. Power words give your content the extra “oomph” to be heard or seen. Courtney Ramirez demonstrates the optimal path to utilize power words to our advantage in social media.

20. It’s Time for Truth on Social Media | Emily Banks

It is safe to say that the power of the few has now become the power of the many. Social media proves that vocal minorities can make big changes. Not only that, accuracy and relevancy are key for content creators. Emily Banks fills in all the details in this op-ed piece.

There you have it: our top 20 favorite social media posts to read and learn. What are some of your favorite social media articles of 2013? Post them in the comments section below.