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Making The Most Out Of Social Media

At last month’s Affiliate Summit in Las Vegas, I took a question asking “How do I effectively use social media in my business?”

Here is the long answer:

Social media (I would consider this as “blogging and the other stuff that goes with it”) is more than just a tool in my business. Up till now, it is the foundation of my business.

If HTML websites are billboards filled with information waiting for people to stumble upon them and read them, then blogs are like aggressive ticket scalpers running up to you and shouting in-your-face, in a direct manner. (this is a good thing).

And if you’re new to the social traffic, social networking game, here are some pointers:

seagulls

  • Go out and try everything: The best and worst part of social marketing is that it’s usually free to sign up and participate in. (Although if you forget to factor in the value of your time invested, you could be losing out in a great deal of opportunity cost). Heard about LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, Plurk, FriendFeed, Friendster, Orkut, Plurk, Hi5, Flickr, Craigslist, YouTube, Twitter? Why not sign up for an account. If you’re concerned about it (and you probably should be), make sure you register your personal name, your business, your brand, and get your related domain or account name before someone else does. Sure, you can go after “social network domain/account name squatters” after the fact, but it’s going to take time and resources to do that, so why not spare yourself the trouble now.
  • Learn to specialize: I don’t think it’s worth being a “jack-of-all-trades” and spread yourself across all the social networks and have merely superficial relationships with the people in those communities. Instead, I’d suggest focusing on specializing in one or two social networks and “embedding” yourself in them. Learn the social rituals, get to know the influencers, build YOUR own social influence within those circles. Some wannabe “gurus” would have you believe that your social influence is dictated by the number of followers or friends you have. In my opinion, that is utter nonsense and is at best a simpleton’s scare tactic. Just like wine, it’s quality than counts, not quantity.
  • Stay away from the Dark Side: Yes, the medium is a free one, but does that mean you should keep taking away from it (see: How NOT to be a tool on Twitter and How NOT to be a tool on Twitter part 2)? Believe or not, there’s a better course of action, that’s to build your goodwill bank.

Being “successful” with your social marketing efforts has a lot to do with your social influence and ability to shape opinions and behavior. And that’s going to take more than just a simple follower count to resolve.

how not to be a tool on twitter

4 comments on Making The Most Out Of Social Media

  1. Steve Pohlit
    February 5, 2009 at 8:54 pm (3912 days ago)

    Andrew’s advice regarding what I would call a footprint in a couple areas is one that I completely agree with. In deciding where to establish a presence, it is important to decide why you are there in the first place.

    It seems to me that many people are there for social reasons. No surprise as this is called the social media landscape. Then there are those who intend to develop a new or existing business. Another large category is those advocating a cause.

    Your purpose for being there makes a difference on how you proceed and where you spend your time.

  2. Sheila Langston
    February 12, 2009 at 4:46 am (3906 days ago)

    “Sign up for everything”?

    Quite possibly the worst advice I’ve heard. How about doing some research and seeing what medium would be best for you and your needs?

    Mastering three or four is far more effective than spreading yourself too thin on everything and struggling to gain traction.

  3. Andrew Wee
    February 12, 2009 at 6:25 am (3905 days ago)

    That’s precisely my point.

    If you aren’t sure which social network will get the best results, it’s worth the 2-3 mins to sign up for accounts at each of the major networks, then research which will give the best fit for your business.

    You can’t/won’t/don’t know ahead of time which has the best fit, so it’d be worth the 30mins – 1 hour to sign up for 10-20 different accounts if needed.

    In the worst case scenario, this prevents “social network squatters” from hoarding the twitter.com/(your brand name) account and gives you a fighting chance to rank for it, even if you aren’t active on every network.

    -
    In the end, you’d probably actively manage 2-5 accounts.

  4. Azam
    February 16, 2009 at 3:38 pm (3901 days ago)

    Before I read this post, I’ve registered to almost all of it. Now I’m still active with 2-4. You wouldn’t know which will suites you better. At least you will have new contacts from each one of the account and that’s worth registering.

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