“Try not to be a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value” -A. Einstein

Social Media Marketing is all the rage right now. Going viral or hitting the front page of Digg, Reddit, etc… seems to be the Internet Marketer’s Holy Grail. I have to admit it is very useful for:

  1. Getting immediate feedback from customers
  2. Managing a company’s brand
  3. Connecting with likeminded individuals that would have otherwise not have been exposed to your product.

And the list goes on, but what is often left out of the hype is the idea of doing it “right”. Take one social media outlet Twitter. I’m a fan of Twitter. The best way I can describe it is image wandering through a big cocktail party listening in on various conversations. In one corner you’ve got people talking about the latest stock tips. In another you’ve got techno junkies discussing SEO or the latest iPhone gadget. If you listen to the right conversation you can hear what your customers think about your product or your company over all. You can hear what they have to say about the virtues and shortcomings your competitors.
What makes this social ecosystem go round is the idea that real people are talking about their real feelings and experiences. The tech-savvy online crowd has industrial strength B.S. detectors. Like sharks who can detect a drop of blood from miles away, the social media crowd can quickly sniff out a sales pitch in the midst of the social media sea. And once that happens, your social media street-cred goes down significantly.

So what does this all mean and how can it help your business?

The first thing I would tell you is to drop the hard-sell in-your-face type of advertising. It just doesn’t work in the social media world. Spam an affiliate link or two via Twitter and your followers will unfollow you faster than fair weather sports fans dropped the Cardinals after they lost the Super Bowl. The goal is to be a part of the community, whatever community that may be.

How to Get Started:

  1. Sign up for a Twitter Account
  2. Upload a photo and customize your page as much as you can. This is important because it is a quick and easy way to separate yourself from the fake spammer accounts.
  3. Download and install a program called TweetDeck that uses Adobe Air. Don’t worry both are free.
  4. At the top of the window will be several icons. One of them looks like a magnifying glass. Click on that one to search for specific keywords related to your industry.
  5. Start following people who are tweeting about your area of expertise.
  6. When someone tweets about your area of expertise contribute a comment with a “Reply”. Just hover over their photo and click on the icon that looks like a curved arrow.

You’ll find that a lot of the people you follow will follow you back. Make sure to tweet regularly with useful tips, news, insights, etc… that would be interesting to your audience. Remember you don’t want to come across like a spam bot but as a real person that adds value to the community. Once you are established as someone who adds value, then you’ve tapped into a powerful network of people who see you as an expert in your field. This can be used to find clients, get valuable answers to your own questions, and can help you spread a message across the Internet. Not a bad ROI if I do say so myself.