OK, tell the truth, what is the first thought that enters your mind when I say the word marketing? I'll bet if you are honest you will say something like "used car salesman". Most of us have this negative picture about marketing that conjures up words like shyster and charlatan maybe even snake oil salesman. If the truth be told none of us like the thought of being "sold".
It's not really fair you know because without marketing no one would ever know where to get the products and services they need. Even more important than that, there are lots of things you would not even know excluded without marketing. Now it could be argued that we need a lot less stuff anyway but that is a whole other conversation. So in order to "sell" our products and services on the social networks without offending our readers or prospects we need to learn how it is different than traditional marketing.
The first difference in social media marketing is you must develop a relationship with your prospects before you do anything else. You must be willing to spend the time it takes to get to know them and what they want. Then you must provide authentic, valuable, and timely information. The more you give in the beginning the more benefits you will reap in the end.
What I love about Social Media from a consumer's point of view is that the tables are turned. The second difference in social media marketing is the consumer is in control. In traditional marketing the marketers hold all the cards. They have a captured audience like on TV or radio with commercials or in magazines and on billboards. We may try not to pay attention but a certain amount still leaks through. For the most part we resent the intrusion.
On the social networks the consumer votes for the businesses who provide the most relevant and useful information. There are many ways to vote such as answering a blog post, or using social bookmarking, or by clicking on a link, or joining in surveys, or by re-Tweeting a post, or commenting on Facebook or by viewing andoting on a You Tube video. The most important way to vote, of course, is by doing business with the person providing the information.
The final difference is you must learn is, do not spend too much time with sales talk or promotion on the social networks. The unwritten rule is about 80% – 90% relevant information and then 10% – 20% promotional material on the social networking sites. I think you will discover that the people with the most followers are the ones that provide the most relevant and useful information for free. Of course it is still up to you to consider the source and research what you are given.
In our world, which has become increasingly more complicated, more rushed, and where everyone is much more isolated, it makes perfect sense to me that the newest trend in marketing is the old fashion word of mouth marketing which has always been the most effective anyway .