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You Do Know That Social Marketing Isn't A Fad, Right?

social marketing is not a fadIt’s funny to me that people are still asking whether social media is viable for business.

Obviously, the advertising industry picked up on blogs and social media pretty early on and revenue streams based on advertising has matured quite rapidly. And like with anything on the web, the internet marketing crowd, with their usual approach, moved into the social media space.

But for the most part businesses that offer services are only beginning to scratch the surface of how to use social media to create a space in the market and grow their business. And with the constant growth and massive potential blogging and social networking provide, it’s pretty obvious that social marketing is anything but a fad.

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Why Your Business Needs To Focus On Relationships More and On Money Less

hamster-wheel.jpgEvery business owner wants to make more money.

Doesn’t matter whether you sell products or pitch a service – you probably want more clients, customers, buyers, patrons, consumers, subscribers, users, etc. Doesn’t matter what you call them – you’d like more.

After all, doesn’t more subscribers equal more people to market too? More patrons mean increasing sales? And increased sales equals more revenue. Isn’t that how it works?

Most of us know that. Yet many business owners set their focus too strongly on increasing revenue. They spend their time, their energy and their resources focused on making more money. And so they become like a hamster running around the wheel of trying to increase their profits – often, getting nowhere.

But what if you took some of that time to build relationships with your clients and customers? What if you took some time to build relationships with some of your leads? Better yet, what if you spent some time and resources to build relationships with other business owners? Businesses that compliment yours in one way or another. Or grew relationships with other business owners you have other interests in common with? What could happen?

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Which Blogger Would You Most Like to Meet?

I get this question a lot from people. I guess I’ve been fortunate enough to meet so many bloggers that it’s hard to say. Would I like to meet Darren Rowse or Brian Clark? Sure. I’d love to look them both in the eye and thank them for everything they’ve taught me about blogging.

one2one-sm.gifIt’d be great to meet Seth Godin – oh, wait, I did meet him last summer when he was on his book tour for The Dip. Great ideas, nice presenter, but didn’t find him too engaging personally. Maybe it was the setting.

I’ve also had this odd fascination with Robert Scoble, though truthfully, I’m not sure why. Maybe he just gets it in a way I’m still trying too. Or the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto. That book solidified how I look at business and it’d be great to bat it around with those guys a bit.

Gosh, really, there’s tons of bloggers I’d like to meet. After all, I’m blogging because I love the conversation. I love to learn. I love to share what I know. I just love meeting people. People from all walks-of-life. I want to hear their stories and learn from their experiences. So really, there’s tons of bloggers I’d like to meet…

Like you!

But since in our last one2one conversation Liz asked me who’s the person I’d like to meet, I’ll go ahead and choose someone.

muhammadsaleem.jpgBut you know, the blogger I’d like to meet most at this moment is someone I should have met last May at SOBCon07. He was there. I saw him around. We just never got a chance to meet. Who is it? Muhammad Saleem. Why? Because this guy knows social media and I’d love to pick his brain.

I’d call him a social media expert. Just take a look at what he writes on his own blog, [muhammad.saleem] or at Pronet Advertising. Or check out his numerous guest posts on sites like The Blog Herald, Copyblogger, Search Engine Land. And don’t forget to search for the huge number of interviews he’s given around social media. He’s even a top Digger and one of Propeller’s “professional social bookmarkers.

Really, just follow this guy’s trail and you’ll learn everything you’d ever want or need to know about social media, social networking, social sharing, social marketing, etc. Maybe I don’t need to sit down and pick his brain.

Nah, that wouldn’t be any fun now, would it? Not to mention, I’d miss learning who Muhammad, the person, is. And that just wouldn’t be any fun.

So is there a blogger would you most like to meet? Who? Why?

And for Liz, since this is a one2one conversation…

What’s one way you’d say social media has changed the way you do business?

Of course, when I’m asking Liz, I’m asking you too. So please, answer away. And Muhammad, if you happen to stop by, I pose the same question to you.

Small Business Marketing Tip: Use Word of Mouth

bullhorn.jpgWant to know one of the biggest secrets to social marketing? It’s really quite simple…

People share things they find enjoyable, helpful or interesting with people they know. In other words, people pass it on. That’s what social marketing is about – passing it on.

But sometimes we forget. We’re rushed or tired or just ‘messing around’ on the web and we may not think to always share things we find with people that might like or benefit from them.

So why not remind them? And when you remind them, make it easy.

Andy Sernovitz, author of Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking, and one of my favorite marketers, suggests just that. In is book he suggests:

Someone is on your website, looking at something that you are selling – and they feel the urge to tell someone else. Make it easy. That person is about to advertise for you, for free. Or they need to ask someone a questions before they buy, Or they just like what they see. Do whatever it takes to let the word of mouth happen.

I couldn’t agree more. Make it easy for people to share what they find on your site, on your blog and in your products and services sections. Really, everywhere. You never know where people will be on your site that will inspire them to share with a friend. So make it easy.

On page 124 of Andy’s book, he offers the secrets to creating effective tell-a-friend forms:

  • Make it fast.
    Design a form that can be filled out in less than 15 seconds. Get rid of optional fields, passwords, or anything that gets in the way of the referral.
  • Ask for several referrals.
    Be sure to explicitly ask users to forward the message to multiple friends. The more you ask, the more you get. Design the form so it is easy to add lots of names without confusion.
  • Use the sender’s name.
    When you deliver the message, make sure it is from the referrer, not your website. The recipient isn’t expecting mail from you and might delete it. He will open a message from his friend.
  • Include a personal message.
    Let the sender add text to the message. The referral is far more powerful when the talker gets to put it in his own words.
  • Make it forwardable.
    Take a look at the message that recipients get. Is that message a ready-to-go viral email, or is it some cryptic link?
  • Protect privacy.
    And brag about it. Be clear and explicit that you respect the privacy of the senders and recipients using the form and that you won’t use their emails for any other purpose (and stick to what you promise). Usage will skyrocket when you do this.

Just to drive the point home a little more, here’s a short video I found of Andy talking about how tell-a-friend is worth 1.6 billion dollars.

How do you ask people to pass it on? Oh yeah, and by the way, please feel free to share this blog with anyone you’d like.

(note: image from Duncan Davidson on Flickr)