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Social Media is Social

According to BizReport, 86% of B2B companies and 82% of B2C companies are now engaged in online social media. Almost everyone is doing social media, but not everyone is doing it right. When it comes to social media marketing, the “how” is infinitely more important than the “what.”

Social media is commonly treated like direct marketing. This is a mistake – nothing could be more detrimental to any social media marketing effort.

Social media is a new frontier of marketing. It is marketing, but not in the traditional sense. Social media is not promotion.

As a form of marketing, social is more akin to guerilla marketing than it is to direct marketing or mass marketing.

Simply put, social media is social. Social media marketing is the process of making individual connections, one person at a time, one day at a time.

Social media is not the quick fix for your business. It’s a tool for long-term sustainability.

Whether your business is B2B or B2C, remember that social media is always P2P (Person-to-Person).

A misunderstanding of what “real” social media looks like inevitably leads to false hopes and unfounded expectations. Don’t expect a ton of leads or sales right away. Social media is not some machine.

Social media is organic – it requires time and nurturing in order to grow… just like any healthily human relationship. Social media is your opportunity to connect with and influence others – connections which do not start as customers, but often eventually “grow” into customers.

Here is a quick quiz (really quick, ‘cause it’s only one question), which can provide some general guidance for your social media efforts: “Would I say this to someone in my professional network?”

If not, then give what you are planning to post a second thought before publishing. That’s not to say you should never ask for something (e.g., a call to action). Get to know your audience; let them know you are a real person, a real business… that they can relate to.

First, find common ground.

Second, find some way to add value for the person on the other end of Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus.

Then, after a relationship has been established ask for something (perhaps a purchase), when the time is right.

If the aforementioned steps are out of order, you risk turning someone off. And if that happens, you may lose him/her forever.

But chances are, if you follow the first two steps, step three may be unnecessary because your connection may have already become a customer.

Why? Not because you “sold” them on your product, but rather because they truly like you and trust you (and your company, which you are an extension of). So don’t sell. Be social.

Whether your business needs a social media ‘kick start’ or ‘kick in the pants’, you are welcome to download our free social media podcast (The ‘10-Step Social Media Quick Start Guide’); jam-packed with practical, motivational nuggets to help you get on track. Enjoy!

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