Social Media Marketing – is it REALLY all that new?

new2Let’s be real – Social Media Marketing isn’t really all that new…

We were clicking, viewing, commenting and sharing, long before the term ‘social media’ was coined.

The world of business is going mad for social media, with a recent study suggesting 92% of businesses in North America are using it in some way.

This is exciting of course, but in this excitement, many seem to have forgotten that while some of the technology may be new, the phenomena is not.

In fact, this interactive methodology has been at the core of internet marketing since its very inception. Web pages are, after all, interactive and multimedia by their very nature. We were clicking, viewing, commenting and sharing, long before the term ‘social media’ was coined.

In fact, ‘social’ has always been as aspect of marketing. So, how can the lessons of the past inform the way we approach social media marketing today?

Mistaken identities

What is new to many businesses trying out social media for the first time is the idea of anything other than direct selling. On your website, if you want to you can say what you do, why you are the best at it, ask people to buy and no one will bat an eyelid. The same goes for advertising, of course. But in the social media space, this is not so. Or at least, it can’t make up the majority of what you say.

If you’re familiar with networking in the real world, this will come as no surprise, but if you’re not and you try to use your social media profile as advertising space, you’ll be sorely disappointed at the results. Put simply, your social media profile should be more akin to your whole business persona, not just the advertising part of it.

In real life, you wouldn’t just sell, sell, sell (I hope), you would be informative, knowledgeable and helpful. Knowing the value of word of mouth, you would build connections, have conversations and generally get involved in your community. You would take an interest in others and sometimes, your conversations would be with a view to selling, but sometimes they wouldn’t.

Once you think of it like that, your social media strategy should look a whole lot clearer.

Same game, new pitch

So once we accept that social media goes beyond simple advertising, what else can we learn from the marketing that went before? What can we do to ensure it’s not just chat for chat’s sake?

Three techniques that can work wonders in the social media space are: offering free information, helping promote others reciprocally, and giving exclusive offers to others in the online ‘community’. But, again, these techniques are much older than the space they now inhabit.

Ever given out a free fact sheet to anyone that visits your office? Or helped out a person you meet at a conference by passing on the details of a third party? Or offered a ‘buy on get one free’ deal via your shop window?

These classic promotional techniques existed way before social media, so what’s the lesson here? A lot of social media marketing isn’t about reinventing the wheel, it’s about taking what we’ve collectively learned from other marketing activities (in our offices, at networking events, on our websites) and looking at how these can be carried through to our social networking personas.

Making it work for you

The beauty of social media is that the initial outlay is exceptionally cheap compared to many other forms of marketing. Get yourself a profile and then listen carefully to the buzz that’s happening around you. Follow people you’d like to emulate, and those you’d like as customers. Engage as a useful resource long before you begin to add straight sales techniques to the mix, and above all, keep it up. Again, just like any other form of marketing, social media is about keeping a consistent presence. Drift away, and so will your audience.

Need some help with your Social Media Marketing strategy? Give our Mentoring tryout package a try!


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PR – the art and science of manipulating the media?

Public relations, the dark art of spin, snake charming – call it what you like, it has traditionally been seen as the art and science of manipulating the media – or perhaps inspiring them. Either way it was all about grabbing the headlines and dominating the airwaves and more recently cyberspace.

However high profile PR was, make no mistake it was the glamorous servant of the marketing department… But the internet has changed everything and the rules are now very, very different.

The advent of social media now means you can engage directly with clients and prospects and no longer have to rely upon the headlines to reach an audience. Indeed the converse it true, that audience no longer relies on the traditional media for news or to make known if they are unhappy with a service.

In a nutshell, now everything is PR – every interaction with the public, online or offline has the potential to impact on your image, so it is all now public relations!

This new 30 Day PR Challenge will help you through the minefield of PR and aid you in getting the exposure your company deserves!

Written by Nigel Morgan @nigel_morgan of Morgan PR, it’s an essential challenge for any business.

Prebuy your copy today for just £4 – tomorrow it will double in price!

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Free marketing ebook – 99 Tools to help you get business from Social Media

Image representing HubSpot as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

We’re loving the freebies that Hubspot are giving away these days, and this one’s a corker!

99 Tools to help you get business from Social Media requires that you sign up to a mailing list to get it, but it’s more than worth it.

In it you’ll find:

  • Tools to manage your Twitter account
  • Tools to manage your Facebook account
  • Blog and website management tools
  • Content creation tools
  • Tools for tracking and analysis
  • and more!

It’s most definitely worth a download so pop on over and get it (PDF) now!

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How to annoy your customers and kill your online sales

Angry Talk (Comic Style)

Image via Wikipedia

A guest blog by C. Loren Bishop

If you’re not seeing the results that you expected from your online business, all of your hard work might actually be driving your customers away. If your marketing strategy is annoying instead of engaging, prospects will instantly leave your site and delete your emails without reading them. You may even end up on their ignore or spam lists. Check to see if you’re making any of these mistakes:

1. Big, Bold Fonts
This is the equivalent of talking louder when people stop listening in the offline world. If no one is paying attention to your content, bigger fonts, bolder colors, or flashier graphics won’t make a bit of difference. In fact, a visual assault is one way to guarantee the user will change the channel, so to speak.

2. Not Listening
If you talk, talk, talk, and talk some more without stopping to listen to your audience, you’ll quickly lose their attention. Ask for their opinion, solicit comments, and encourage discussion and debate. A conversation is much more engaging than a monologue. An easy way to gather private opinions is to use online survey software to ask a question or two that customers can answer confidentially. It will be just between the two of you and show that you value their opinion.

3. Constantly Repeating Yourself
OK, we get it. We actually got it the first time. While it’s okay to repeat key points once or twice to make an impact, don’t repeat the same information 10 times. Treat your readers like the intelligent people that they are. The same holds true with email communications. If you have something new to say, go ahead and send the email. However, if your message is basically the same as yesterday or last week, don’t just send a rephrased version of the same old thing.

4. Not Making Sense
It’s tempting to show that you’re an expert by filling your content with keywords and technical jargon. However, your goal is to deliver a simple, easy-to-understand message that catches your reader’s attention. If they can’t weed out the actual meaning from the fluff, you’ve missed your target.

5. The Hard Sell
If you’re filling your message with a call-to-action that is too much of a hard sell, you’ll quickly irritate your customer. Avoid too many “buy now” or “hurry, time is running out” statements. While this might work on a used car lot, it’s not effective with savvy internet shoppers. Even if you’re the most trustworthy online business owner in the entire cyber world, this tactic screams scam.

6. Not Selling at All
Just like you don’t want a hard sell, don’t use a sales tactic that’s too soft. Don’t be so scared of annoying or offending your customers that you never ask for the sale at all. Be engaging, be sensitive, be appropriate, but above all else, provide enough information that your customer knows how to buy your product.

Once you eliminate these annoying habits, or any of the other internet marketing sins, from your online repertoire, you’ll be amazed at the increase in your traffic and your bottom line!

C. Loren Bishop is a lover of all things creative. She likes to write, and has an obsession with crossword puzzles. She’s recently started blogging, and you can follow her on Twitter @cbishopBG.

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