Social Media Marketing Tips

Building on social media marketing fundamentals, I want to spend some time looking at general tips and tactics in helping you make the most of social media as a sales and marketing tool. I will follow up this article with an in-depth review of strategies for Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn but for now I want to give you some ground rules for getting started using this powerful medium for furthering your business success.

Social Media Marketing

You may already have some exposure in utilizing social media sites for your business and may have had only limited success. If so, you have come to the right place because that is exactly where I found myself after 15 years of sales and marketing success in start-ups to Fortune 500 companies. I have had to rethink my paradigm of business communication and promotion and I want to share with you the insights I have gained in how to correctly use social media in order to network, engage and add value in order to build your brand.

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Social Media Marketing: Networking

Here's how to think about the value of social media in terms of propagating your brand: imagine you are invited to a gathering where millions of professionals at every level and in every industry are engaged in billions of conversations about everything under the sun, including everything related your field of expertise. Now imagine you can effortlessly float about and overhear conversations and then partake yourself in order to build acquaintances. Well, that is exactly what social media marketing is and the power that sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn offer you!

Social Media Marketing

The challenge with social media marketing is figuring out how it works! How can you do all that I have described above and wouldn't it be great if it was that simple? The answer is you can and it is. All you need to do is refocus your thinking from being a sales and marketing professional to being a social media user – like everyone else – who is an expert in and passionate about a given field or subject. There are two misconceptions related to using social media for business which I want to dismiss right away:

#1: Social Media Marketing is not about having the most personal friends / followers / connections

#2: Social Media Marketing is not about blasting your message to your friends / followers / connections

The number of personal friends / follower / connections you have is highly overrated and unfortunately many people take it as an indicator of social media prowess which it is not (necessarily). At the end of the day it really does not matter how many people you know personally but how many people you can get to know. Does that make sense? Far more important than your current address book of contacts and acquaintances – which is only someone you know and who may not even be interested in what you do – is your ability to find and connect with like-minded people to yourself. What I am trying to say is that while your goal at the end of the day is to build a large following, the number of people in your address book - who are your "real life" contacts - do not count!

Social Media Marketing

Like I have said before, you are not going to go up to your neighbor or someone at a party and ask them if they want to buy something from you. This is so obvious it is hardly worth saying but for some reason, people fail to make the distinction that social marketing is different from professional marketing. What you are doing on a social media site is simply looking for people who are passionate about areas that tie into your line of business. This may be through groups, associations, events, pages and countless other ways of meeting and interacting with new people.

The power of social media sites is that everyone is on them and and everyone is connected to everyone else. The natural human tendency to organize means that what you will find beyond each person's limited scope of personal contacts are networks, groups and organizations serving every conceivable genre and sub-genre of interest and activity. What you need to do, therefore, is begin exploring the social media landscape to find people that, while they may not be interested in your specific business, product(s) or service(s), nonetheless share common interests to yours.

Social media sites are controlled by consumers and not any one authority or interest. People are free to associate with whomever they choose and because of this, they will gravitate towards associations with those people and groups that form around ideas that they are passionate about on a personal level. This is the same as with any other social setting and so the goal of social media marketing is to broaden your horizons and seek out associations that serve people with similar interests to yours. They key is that while no one is interested in your business or you personally – yet! - there are many people who are interested in your industry and areas related to your field of expertise.

Social Media Marketing: Engaging

People on social media sites do not want to be sold and marketed to and this is Rule #1 for engaging with people socially. You must respect people's “virtual space” and approach your interactions with the soft touch of personality, just like you would do in making friends and meeting new people in real life. The value of social media marketing is that, as with Internet viral marketing, you now have the ability to connect with unlimited numbers of people instantaneously. What is more, on sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, people are self-organized into groups and associations through which it is possible to selectively target the kind of people you want to engage.

Social Media Marketing

However, beware of shooting your regular sales and marketing arrows at people! The secret to social media marketing success is that the rules of engagement are different and not new. Millions of business people scratch their heads thinking, “why can't I get the hang of this?” when the only thing you need to do is take of your professional hat and put on a social one. Would you go into a room at a party and start talking about your business and handing out business cards? Probably not (I hope!). However, what if you found a group of people in the same line of business as you and business came up naturally? Now just think: there are thousands of such groups and associations of people on social media sites having those conversations right now!

Your goal in social media networking is to give as well as receive. Business communications have gone from being one-way sales and marketing announcements to gradually becoming more interactive over the years. If you think about it, communication technologies have gradually evolved over the years making it possible to reach more and more people at once and turn monologue into dialog into mass interactions between hundreds of millions of people at once. While it may seem daunting, remember that at the end of the day we are simply back to having one conversation at a time with individuals and groups but in a social setting online! Your goal is still to develop those online relationship so that you can take them offline...

Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing: Adding Value

Social media marketing is like having access to a conference attended by 500 million people with the theme: "EVERYTHING!". It is up to you to learn how to navigate your way around this conference while learning the correct protocol for meeting people. In fact, the rules of correctly engaging folks via social media are not new at all and another way of looking at social media sites is that they are a one-stop-shop for all of the fragmented communities that previously existed on the Internet. Social media has simply provide a platform for everyone to connect to but basic human behavior has not changed.

The rules of engagement in using social media effectively actually predate the medium. The reason I say this is because, once again, all social media has done is broaden the previously limited scope of Internet groups, forums and associations to include everyone. The protocol for how to interact with groups and individuals through chat rooms, forums and mailing lists are the same as the protocols for engaging in social media marketing. It begins with respect for others and following the guidelines of whatever community you are engaged with. Do not try to control the conversation but rather go with the flow and look for ways to make meaningful contributions to the group as a whole.

Social media marketing is about connecting with people virtually in a social setting on a massive scale. You already know social protocol and learning the protocol of successfully interacting with others online is as easy as watching before participating (just like we are told to listen more than we speak in real life). As you explore the vast networks of people and groups that exists on social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn, you will get better and better at networking, engaging and finally adding value to conversations and people that you engage with. What comes next is an organic growth of your social capital which is simply the influence you will have as you visibility, credibility and trust continue to grow.

Get help with social media marketing!

Social Media Marketing FundamentalsSocial Media MKTG PrinciplesTop Social Media MKTG BrandsSocial Media MKTG StrategiesHow to Meet PeopleWhat is Internet Viral Marketing?Applying Internet Viral Marketing PrinciplesInternet Viral Marketing TipsInternet Viral Marketing SuccessesInternet Viral Marketing FlopsSales and Marketing for "You"Social Media Consultant

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