Larry BraunerMarketing is often as important to people as it is to businesses.

People seeking jobs, marriage partners or buyers for their personal property all need to target and reach out to their respective markets.

Social Media is Very Accessible

Old media such as TV, radio, print, mail — and even online advertising — tend to be very costly and are used most effectively by big corporations and by savvy direct marketers.

However, the new media such as blogging, video, online social networking and social bookmarking cost little or nothing to use and are as accessible to people and small businesses as they are to big corporations and direct marketers.

Ineffective Use of Social Media

The low out-of-pocket cost of the new media entices people and businesses to waste time and energy by using social media marketing more haphazardly and less rigorously than they would use more expensive old media marketing channels.

Many marketers further compound the problem by bringing to social media old media advertising and prospecting paradigms rather than a new media attracting, socializing and educating paradigms.

Marketers need to learn how to focus their social media efforts by applying rigorous standards and analytics to new media marketing campaigns.

Reaching the Right Audience

One way to focus your social media effort is through targeting. Simply put, targeting means reaching the right people, the people who can benefit from you, your product or your service.

Market segmentation is a form of targeting research that studies the characteristics and desires of different population segments. I assume for now that you know — at least approximately — whom you wish to target, and that you want to be able to tackle the how part of the problem.

Competitive Intelligence

Professional marketers, especially direct marketers, study what their competition is — and is not — doing in great detail. They may also try to understand why the competition is doing what it does, and if a campaign is used over and over, they’ll will assume that the campaign is profitable.

Watch your competitors and you’ll learn how they position themselves, what they write about, what keywords they optimize, where they bookmark their content, what tags they use, and much more.

Competitive intelligence applies equally to old and new media marketing.

Top Targeting Strategies

Here are my favorite targeting strategies:

  • Develop good content that is context sensitive, communicates who you are, what you do and how you might be different — all without reading like a sales letter.
  • Do keyword research, so that while you write for people, you can also help the search engines, as much of your traffic will come from search engines, especially form Google.
  • Fish where the fish are. Choose social networking sites that you believe attract the people you are looking to attract. If you find your competitors there, that can be a good thing. It indicates that your target audience is also there. Hopefully your content positions you in a way that you’ll stand out from the competition or address a need that they do not.
  • Cast a wide net. Don’t prejudge too much. Err on the side of targeting too inclusively rather than too exclusively. Participate on a variety of sites and expose as many people as possible to both you and your message. If you know me, you know that I pursue this strategy on Twitter, LinkedIn and Ning social networks.
  • Let people decide for themselves how relevant your content is and whether or not you might be able to help them. That’s an key element of both attraction and social marketing.
  • Don’t spread yourself too thin. Read The 80/20 Rule and Social Media. Cast a wide net but not too wide.
  • Get personal. Even if you’re a business, people will want to relate to you as a person. In social media you are an integral part of your brand.
  • Experiment and be ready to adapt and make changes as you go. Marketers know that they’re not likely to get it right the first time, so consider everything you do to be a work in progress.
  • Establish an ongoing social media presence. Be persistent. Timing is extremely important. Even if somebody is the right person, the time might be wrong for him or her. You will make a sale if you’re there when the time is right.
  • Use old media to supplement and complement your new media. Just because you use social media, you need not abandon any old media marketing that’s working for you.
  • Seek help if you don’t have all the expertise or writing skills you need to succeed. That help might include advice, project management or outsourcing.

This list is not intended to be complete. However, it should give you plenty of food for thought.

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Larry BraunerI revisit the 80/20 Rule (about which I wrote last September) because of something that I alluded to in my interview with Stacey Chadwell.

Web 2.0 is a virtual candy store, and our eyes, so to speak, are bigger than our stomachs.

Every day new social media sites crop up. We’d love to try them all, yet we can only hope to master and stay on top of a very small fraction of the myriad sites that are already available to us.

The 80/20 Rule to Our Rescue

The 80/20 Rule applied to social media sites would state that 80% of all results can be achieved with 20% of all sites.

However, the 80 to 20 ratio is no more than a concept or a rule of thumb. The actual ratio is quite often greater than 80 to 20. With respect to social media sites  the ratio could be as high as 99 to 1.

The 80/20 Rule applied to social media sites might be called a 99/1 Rule. We can accomplish almost everything we might want to accomplish with only 1% of all the social sites in operation — and almost everything is really enough!

I regularly use only a modest number of social media sites:

  1. Online Social Networking (my blog)
  2. Twitter
  3. Facebook
  4. LinkedIn
  5. Ning family of social networking sites (especially Small Business Network)
  6. Entrecard
  7. Business Exchange
  8. StumbleUpon
  9. Digg
  10. Delicious

You’d hardly call me an expert on social media sites, but the few sites I do use, complement each other in my social media marketing model, and I use them effectively.

Could I use more sites?

Of course I could. However, the point is that I don’t need to use more sites, at least not right now.

Other Aspects of the 80/20 Rule

The 80/20 Rule also applies to you as a person, to the people who follow you and to how you approach learning.

Rather than re-hash what I’ve written in the past, I refer you to my previous article, The 80/20 Rule, which elaborates on these issues in some detail.

In Conclusion

My advice to you is to:

  • determine what you’d like to accomplish
  • devise a plan that uses a modest number of resources
  • learn to use those resources reasonably well
  • and apply yourself with great determination and enthusiasm

People will look to you as a leader and a source of inspiration.

I’m @larrybrauner on Twitter. I look forward to your tweets.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web. See also my Disclosure Policy regarding affiliations and compensation.

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Larry Brauner

Nearly a year ago I presented the Top Reasons Why I Blog. I’m a big fan of blogging, and I enjoy writing for you.

Now it’s time to list my top reasons for using Twitter. If you use Twitter, please feel free to comment and share your experiences. If not, this list may encourage you to begin.

These are the top 12 reasons why I use Twitter:

  1. Simplicity - Twitter is easier for people to understand than many other social media sites. There are only a few Twitter concepts to learn: how to create a profile, follow, update, reply, search, retweet, send direct messages and use hashtags. See Brand Yourself and Market on Twitter.
  2. Networking - With hundreds of thousand of people using Twitter, you’re bound to find, as I have, people with common interests to connect with. Advice I gave in Get More Personal applies here to networking on Twitter. Speak on the phone or meet in person, but don’t hide behind your computer.
  3. Traffic - Twitter is a blogger’s dream. Last week hundreds of people from Twitter visited my blog. A high percentage of Twitter visitors subscribe to my my RSS feed or blogcast.
  4. List Building - Twitter is a great tool to cultivate a following and build an audience in your niche. I presently have thousands of followers on Twitter. What will I do with these followers?
  5. Branding - I use Twitter to brand and market myself to my followers. Through Twitter many people are getting to know me who would otherwise not have had this opportunity. Even people who choose not to follow me can still learn about me. Keep this in mind: It’s not what you know or whom you know, but who knows, likes, trusts and respects you.
  6. Communicating - I can send direct messages or use hashtags to communicate with my friends.
  7. Twitter Tools - There are numerous Twitter Tools such as TweetAdder to make Twitter powerful and easy to use. Read Tons of Twitter Tools, Tips and Resources.
  8. Research - Twitter is an excellent tool for research and keeping up with world developments. You don’t necessarily need to follow people or for them to follow you to read their tweets and click on their links.
  9. Discovery - We can learn new things on Twitter, even when we’re not looking per se.
  10. Mobility - Wherever you are or wherever I am, we’re only a tweet away. As more and more people use cell phones and text messaging, the compact 140 character format makes Twitter easy to access.
  11. Brevity - To be honest, there are times when I simply don’t feel like writing a complete article. Fortunately, even at those times I can usually cope with a modest 140-character tweet.
  12. Fun - Twitter is a blast! It’s a giant party, and the black tie is definitely optional.

You’ll find more reasons for using Twitter in the comments below. I encourage you to add your own.

I’m @larrybrauner on Twitter. I look forward to reading your tweets.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Also, visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web.

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Larry Brauner

In past posts we’ve discussed what Twitter is and looked at some ways you can use Twitter.

In the current post I provide a Twitter resource meta list to help you explore a wide range of business and social topics in substantial depth.

I expect to add to this meta list periodically, so do watch for my tweets @larrybrauner or check back here from time to time.

Mainstreaming of Twitter

This, our appetizer, addresses two important questions:

  1. Is Twitter a serious social media venue for mainstream users?
  2. Is Twitter useful for businesses, or is it just for fun?

I hope the following presentations will persuade you that Twitter is a viable business and social tool.

Twitter Ideas and Tips

This, the main course, looks at how to use Twitter effectively.

Twitter Tools and Resources

Our meal wouldn’t be complete without delicious side dishes prepared to perfection by expert chefs.

My Interview on Blog Talk Radio

I was interviewed on the Blog Talk Radio Profiles of Success by @staceychadwell. To listen, click here.

I’m @larrybrauner on Twitter looking forward to your tweets.

Did you enjoy this article? Subscribe to my RSS feed or by e-mail. Also, visit my About, Services, Media Buzz and Connect pages to learn about Building Your Audience and Brand on the Web.

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