Social Marketing or How to Grow Your Business by Being Social
By Dave Cottrell
Social Marketing is a term that’s been floating around for years, often in its infancy as some great and mysterious “secret,” that only the gurus really knew about. If you wanted to know about it (and of course, you had to know about it), you had to pay a guru big bucks for his expertise and knowledge.
What part of “social” did they not understand? Perhaps it would do us well to first look up the definition of the word, thereby seeing how important the idea of social marketing is.
- pertaining to, devoted to, or characterized by friendly companionship or relations
- seeking or enjoying the companionship of others; friendly; sociable; gregarious.
- of, pertaining to, connected with, or suited to polite or fashionable society
- living or disposed to live in companionship with others or in a community, rather than in isolation
- of or pertaining to human society, especially as a body divided into classes according to status
- involved in many social activities
- of or pertaining to the life, welfare, and relations of human beings in a community
The idea and the use term, social, as it relates to marketing, actually came about in rebellion to the status quo of these very internet gurus and so-called network marketing experts who continued to pound away with their conventional wisdom that marketing is simply a numbers game. In other words, according to them, the more people you pressured – er, I mean – introduced your opportunity to, the more sign-ups you got and sign-ups equal success in network marketing, correct?
Not so fast… In reality, those with the highest sign-up rate usually have the highest attrition rate. That’s not exactly success, is it?
Marketing, especially network marketing is all about developing long lasting, very social relationships. It doesn’t matter if you call it network marketing, online marketing, internet marketing, relationship marketing or whatever.
You can spend hours and days and months and even years perfecting your ad copy, your headlines and your subjects. But if you don’t have anyone to send them to, they won’t produce.
Some people try to get around this problem by buying “targeted” lists or worse, using email harvesting software and offshore autoresponder accounts (aka, “bots”). Their idea is that if they fire enough bytes out blindly into cyber space, some of them are bound to hit their target.
If you are thinking about doing this, don’t! It is not only a waste of time and money; it is a great way to lose your ISP, annoy thousands of potential clients, and get blacklisted. In other words, it’s the perfect way to destroy your business. Furthermore, it is illegal and can land you with massive fines and jail time. You are no longer protected by sending from a country that doesn’t have anti-spam laws. If you send to a country that has anti-spam laws, you’re breaking the law. It’s that simple.
There is another even bigger problem. Even if you make some sales using such risky methods, they are only one-time sales and then you have to go through the same high risk process all over again. Not only are they not social, but most people today see them as downright anti-social!
Don’t waste your time and the time of other good people on such useless and annoying practices! Marketing is about developing social relationships. Get to know people. Be social!
Allow me to digress a little.
When you sell something online, you make a little money. It gives you a small amount of satisfaction, but it doesn’t last very long. The joy of the sale is soon overwhelmed by the fact that making the next sale is darn hard work.
On the other hand, when you set out to develop relationships, you make friends. That’s social marketing, and a terrific bonus is the fact that friends are still there whether you are making sales or not.
Friends will buy from you if you have something that is valuable to them, rather than buying it from someone else. This is a major benefit of social marketing over any other way of marketing.
Friends will also share tips and ideas they have discovered with you, making your efforts much more effective. That’s social marketing. Give something of value, because that’s what friends do.
Friends will recommend you to their friends. That’s a HUGE benefit of social marketing. You can’t buy that kind of advertising for any amount.
Are you getting the picture? Social marketing is the most effective form of viral marketing that there is. We once called it “relationship marketing,” but that is really just another name for it. People you have developed a good relationship with will tell their friends about you. They, in turn, will become your friends and tell their friends about you. That defines social marketing.
The argument against this is that it takes too long to “do” social marketing for those who want to get rich quickly. The truth is, there are no genuine, ethical shortcuts to wealth. If you want to be wealthy, you have to work hard, plan for success, and follow the plan. That includes social marketing. It is more important to be social in your marketing, today, than perhaps ever in history. It’s just too easy for people to check you out in the fast tech world of the 21st century. If you’re an anti-social, money-grubbing, con artist and cheat, you will not go far before you’re found out.
If you want to jump to the head of the wealth line, you will stay at the tail. You can’t jump the queue to wealth and pleasant sleep. Anybody who promises that you can is a liar and a crook who is trying to jump the same queue by draining sucker’s wallets. He probably also lives on sleeping pills and antacid tablets.
Social marketing first of all rewards you by expanding your circle of friends with similar interests to yours. Friendship is priceless. As you move along the road of life, you discover increasingly just how much more valuable friends are than money.
However, social marketing can make you wealthy beyond your wildest dreams if you make your number one interest people, you treat these people with integrity and respect and you happen to have a product or service that really is valuable to them. This is social marketing at its finest.
If you’re starting out and don’t have a great product or service at this time, don’t worry about it. Work on being social, getting to know people, first. You’ll find the rewards of doing that much greater than you can imagine. Your best source for good products to sell or excellent affiliate programs will always be the people you get to know and socialize with. They will be happy to share their ideas with you once they get to know you.
Spend lots of time on social networks like Adlandpro, Facebook, Google, Twitter and other popular sites. Meet people, meet their friends, and their friends, and so on. I have a circle on Google + called, “My Friends and Your Friends.” That’s how social marketing really works. I get to know your friends and you get to know my friends, and the more we are together, the happier and richer our lives become!
Here is a small word of warning: Remember that you are in business. Be social, but don’t waste hours of time playing games that lead to nowhere. Many people spend ALL their time playing games, and they are unlikely to be the type of people you will want to socialize with for very long, as they are not like you, if you’re serious about business.
Other than that, be friendly. Take a real, sincere interest in every person you meet. Pay attention to what they are telling you and find out their interests, likes and dislikes. In other words, be a friend. Go the extra mile to be extra helpful. Be a good friend.
Start a friendly, social newsletter. You can use a service like Mail Chimp or host your newsletter free with many domain hosting accounts, or you can pay for a very professional service dedicated just for this purpose. Constant Contact is an example of a good one. More and more social sites are also providing ways like bulletins and walls for people to keep in contact with their friends, and these are proving to be very effective, as email can be a real challenge to deliver as certain ISPs put up tighter and tighter mail munching programs in their futile effort to stop spam.
Remember this is social marketing. Be social. Don’t use a newsletter to fill your friends’ inboxes with hundreds of ads. Give your friends real content in your newsletter. It doesn’t have to be hard-hitting, cutting edge stuff. Just keep them up-to-date on what you are doing and how things are working for you. Tell them about your experiences, however humble. This is being social.
Most people who have been online for any length of time will find a simple article about your own experiences much more interesting than hundreds of respun articles from so-called gurus. (These are all over the place and mainly just the same old stuff rehashed and repackaged)
Remember, these people are your friends, or are becoming your friends. Social marketing is all about being a good friend, not about being an expert in sales. Treat them the way you want to be treated. It’s ok to include classified ads in your newsletter (as long as your list-server allows it). Just don’t put them before your main article, and don’t overdo it. Remember to be social: this is first and foremost a letter you your friends!
Social marketing (aka relationship, network marketing) is a wonderful, fun and profitable way to earn virtually any income you want, but it will only work when you realize it’s work… (but work that’s so much fun!)and that marketing is about being social and developing relationships. Be social and practice social marketing. The wealth will come with time.