Monday, November 15, 2010

Social Media: When Less is More

I am NOT a social media expert. But then again, who is?

One of the problems with the use of social media in marketing is the assumption by most ‘experts’ that they are their audience. If you want to build an Internet marketing company around social media, this may be true. But if you’re a business owner who wishes to use social media as part of your marketing initiative, you probably find the suggestions and requirements lined out by these experts to be overwhelming.

Recently, I heard someone speaking on social media who suggested that most business owners, after researching their options, decide on the ONE social media vehicle they are going to use and how they are going to use it. Then make it part of how they do business. If, after a few months, it makes sense to add another element, move forward and test it. I wish I could remember who said this so I could give him proper credit. It makes good sense for the vast majority of business owners who do not have the resources to mount a full-blown social media program.

Another way in which less may be more when it comes to social media is the number of contacts, friends, or fans we have. When speaking of social media and email lists, most people seem to contend that bigger is better. For some, this may be true. But, again, for the majority of business owners I’ll submit this isn’t necessarily the case.

The irony of social media is how un-social it is. Yes, lots of people see blips of what you’re up to. And, yes, you see lots of blips about others. But unless it is used to open one-on-one doors and nurture relationships, it’s largely useless.

Consider a strategy that gets you one-on-one with more of your audience members. Build relationships that matter to you and others. Focus on meeting others’ needs and providing value. That’s being social. That’s building community. And the reality of the matter is most of us can’t effectively manage more than a few hundred meaningful relationships anyway, much less thousands.

Start small. Be focused. Create high-touch scenarios with those to whom you are connected. If your following grows beyond those you can keep up with personally in that process, congratulations! This means you are providing value and have something significant to offer that others feel compelled to talk about and share.

If, on the other hand, you have thousands of ‘friends’ but aren’t adding value to their situations (and they aren’t adding value to yours), reconsider your reasons for engaging in social media. If it’s just to grow your list and make money, you’re probably barking up the wrong tree.

So who is a social media expert? I propose it is a mentor to whom you can look who has done what you want to do for the reasons you want to do it. Find that person or group. Follow them. Ignore the hype and stay your course. Be genuine. Make your approach to social media yours.

Here’s to your social media success!

Bryan Waldon Pope

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