Are you connecting with your fans, friends, and followers?

Creative Commons License photo credit: 416style

Social media marketing, at its core, is about developing relationships. I’d even go a little further and say it’s about developing the kind of relationships that produce both tangible and intangible profits… Money and irreplaceable friendships. Cold hard cash as well indispensable contacts and connections.

It’s no mistake that the word “social” comes before “media marketing.” However, far too many times, more importance seems to be given to the latter portion of the phrase instead. In the spirit of full disclosure I, too, had to resist the urge to do so.

When, I stumbled into this niche/industry, I was absolutely fascinated by the idea that I could profit financially from something I thoroughly enjoyed doing: connecting with people using social media tools (Facebook, in particular).

Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s nothing nefarious about wanting to make monetary gains by doing something you love. In fact, being able to do just that is one of life’s greatest joys. That said, the problem wasn’t in my desire to profit by doing what I love. The error was in my priorities — not the financial opportunity.

I was looking at social media marketing as a vehicle I could use to make money FIRST. As a result, helping others and their businesses to do the same (make money) fell to second place. The two desire should have been reversed.

In social media marketing, the desire to assist your connections, to add value to their lives and businesses, should be the principle motivating force behind our actions.

Many times, we can forget that social media is, for the most part, nothing but a reflection of our offline realities. That fact tends to get lost behind the digital clutter of the Internet where the line between online and offline behavior become fuzzy.

But, make no mistake about it… Someone who is placing cash before the client in “the real world” can just as easily be spotted online as he or she can be offline.

Instead of considering how we, as social media marketers, can exploit our “friends” we should, instead, connect with them, engage them, include them.

A woman once told me “everyone has a story to tell, everyone has a book to sell.”

Social media allows us to tell our unique story — and telling stories is one of the most powerful tools of engagement known to man.

It’s the way we pass down oral traditions. It’s how many soothe their kids to sleep. And it’s the way the most effective authors and copywriter magnetically draw our eyeballs to their words.

Social media sites like Facebook, Myspace, and yes - even Twitter - allow residents of Web 2.0 to tell their stories. Whenever you upload a picture on Facebook, write a blog post on Myspace, or answer the question “what are you doing” on Twitter — you’re telling your story.

Have you ever noticed the most “popular” people on these social networking sites are also the most active? That’s not mere coincidence. Those social site leaders/celebs recognize — whether consciously or not — that people want to connect.

Otherwise, those follows wouldn’t be leaving photo comments and wall posts. They wouldn’t be taking time out of their day to send messages and gifts. And the leaders of those communities are eager to reciprocate the gesture. That’s how you become visible. That’s how you get to the top. That’s how you stay there.

What’s brilliant is that social media sites like Facebook are viral. You’ll generate attention and attraction simply by participating. The more you participate, the more exposure you’ll receive.

Once you have that, leveraging your network for profitable gain will be like a walk in the park.

Takeaway Points:

  • Social Media Marketing is about “relationships first, sales second.”
  • Tell your story simply by participating: adding photos, leaving wall posts, sending messages.
  • Once you’ve attracted attention, engage your fans, followers, and friends by connecting with them.
  • Add value to their lives and endeavors, then - and, only then - focus on financial gain.

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#1 Katja on 08.28.08 at 10:06 pm

Thanks for a great blog post! I agree - it’s all about communicating - social media is a two way channel, not one way, as some people/companies are trying to unsuccessfully use it.

#2 Megan on 08.30.08 at 7:32 pm

Thanks for the awesome blog! It was very informative and I learned a lot about social media.

#3 Dali Burgado on 09.18.08 at 10:19 pm

I’ll give you and AMEN for this one! Providing value come first always.

Once you provide value your clients will be attracted to you and loyal raging fans.

I appreciate you.
Dali Burgado

Last blog post from Dali Burgado:

#4 deontée on 09.19.08 at 6:24 am

@Dali Burgado - Thanks for the kind words. And like you said, providing value is what it’s all about. Once I slowed down and wrapped my mind around that concept, things took off.

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