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The truth about success with social marketing

The Truth About Success With Social Marketing

There’s a lot of conflicting advice from Internet marketing experts on how to profit from the popularity of social marketing.

Social marketing is about growing your business through user-driven websites like youtube, facebook and digg (plus hundreds more).

Some advice says you should create a large number of different user identities on many sites and then start promoting your own sites to drive extra traffic.

The alternative view is that you should select one or two relevant sites carefully, building a personal profile on them and contributing value to the communities before even thinking about marketing anything of your own.

No doubt either of these methods can be effective and maybe the first one will work fastest.

But, leaving aside that it risks getting you banned by the sites, it seems a bit like joining 10 different local networking groups like the Chamber of Commerce or BNI – and rushing round them all just handing out order forms rather than concentrating on building strong relationships in one or two.

And, as most social websites are not business-focused – indeed many members have strong negative feelings about any kind of marketing or selling – it’s more like running around the golf club or the health club asking everyone to buy your products.

The Law of Friends, from Kevin Hogan’s Psychology of Persuasion, says that people will be more likely to follow your request if they believe you have their interests at heart.

This arguably applies even more in the rapidly changing online environment. People find it harder to know who to trust so they are looking for someone who will help them rather than sell to them.

The great advantage of the development of online social marketing and networking is that it gives business owners all over the world access to a much wider pool of potential contacts than just relying on local organizations.

There is little doubt that marketing in this way will become increasingly important but that it’s still totally new to most business owners.

These are some of the keys to success with social marketing:

Define your objectives: Decide what you want e.g. contacts or information.

Be selective: Stick to what you are looking for and don’t get sidetracked.

Manage your time: Set a specific amount of daily time for this task and don’t go over it.

Give before you expect to receive: Contribute to the communities.

Be consistent: When you have selected the sites you want to use, visit them regularly.

Social marketing is a fast developing field that’s still in its early days. Spending a little time to learn how it can help you build your business could be very rewarding.

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