Larry Brauner

The Case for Social Media Marketing

It is becoming increasingly more difficult and more expensive to reach potential customers using mass media. That’s one reason why so many marketers are turning to Web 2.0 social media marketing.

Not only do marketers want to reduce their advertising expense, they also want to connect more directly with people and learn how to better serve their target market.

Social media marketing is especially attractive to small business owners operating on modest budgets, since most social networking sites and other social media sites are generally free to use.

Steep Learning Curve

They read a story such as Beyond Blogs in the June 2nd issue of Business Week, and they rush off to embrace Web 2.0 social media unprepared for the steep learning curve that lies ahead.

The social media landscape is uncharted and sprawling. Social media sites are vying for your attention, and searching the Internet for advice turns up sharply conflicting recommendations.

Need for Mentor

Clearly you need a mentor, somebody smart and knowledgeable with especially strong communication skills. You should find somebody with whom you feel comfortable, because you’ll definitely be getting to know each other. Picking a mentor is difficult.

Effective Communication #1 Challenge

Once you find your mentor mastering essential social media marketing skills will be difficult. To get fully up to speed might take a year or even longer.

That is the bad news.

In my opinion, the hardest part of social media marketing training is learning effective communication, i.e., to write, speak, listen and persuade well and in a professional manner.

There are certainly plenty of technical challenges to overcome, but by far communication is the chief obstacle new social media marketers face. If you happen to have the right mix of communication skills, you’re way ahead of most newcomers.

Your mentor can teach you personal and business branding, online social networking, blogging, video marketingsocial bookmarking, SEO and other important skills. He or she can also critique your communication style, but it will be you who will connect directly with your target market and build vital business relationships.

Get Started Now and Learn as You Go

Now the good news.

You don’t have to master every skill, dot every “i” and cross every “t” before getting started.

Find a good mentor to guide you, jump in and get your feet wet. Learn by doing.

As Mike Litman always says: “You don’t have to get it right, you just have to get it going.”

Your results will serve as feedback to help you to make the necessary corrections along the way… and that is good news.

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14 Responses to “Social Media Learning Curve”

  1. Bruce Symons on August 3rd, 2008 9:15 pm

    Hi Larry

    Very good article Everyone should have a mentor.

    Having someone leading you on the do’s and dont’s can really peed up the learning curve and keep from falling for all the false ways to do everything. Not to mention you can save a great deal of time and money having someone to guide you.


  2. Linda Morton on August 3rd, 2008 10:56 pm


    I agree that most people need a mentor to guide them through social marketing when they first start.

    There’s so many sites. They all have different rules and perform differently. I know I prefer to work with someone like you than to tackle it by myself.

    In the long run I believe I’ll save more money by getting up and running faster.

  3. TeasasTips on August 4th, 2008 8:37 am

    Thanks Larry for the info. Being a member of DM helps as well. It allows for open networking, where people no matter their skill set or level of experience can get something out of it. Great post.

  4. Larry Brauner on August 4th, 2008 11:34 am

    Hi LaTease,

    Thank you for commenting and subscribing.

    I have been an Executive Member of Direct Matches for nearly three years and love the site.

    Originally I considered Direct Matches to be a social networking site.

    However, since the vast majority of members are unable to read or write messages, I have long considered Direct Matches to be an advertising site and quasi social media site.


  5. Sandee Robbins on August 4th, 2008 1:42 pm

    Yes, Larry.

    Me too. I am exhausted learning ALL the different connection sites and their rules!

    This is a challenge. However, I do feel good knowing that I AM LEARNING…. and that is most important!

    Thanks for all your time and efforts!
    Mentors ARE the best way to succeed.

  6. Andrea Goodsaid on August 5th, 2008 6:50 am

    I think the “take action” message here is the best thing you can mentor another to do — even those who don’t think of themselves as mentors can begin down that path in this way.

    It’s terribly easy to get overwhelmed and the Internet can be a lonely (and expensive) place without genuine friends at email’s reach to brainstorm with and ask advice and guidance.

    Social media has made that sort of isolation a thing of the past and you’re dead on when you say that it’s okay to go out and make mistakes … everything Web 2.0 is so dynamic and constantly re-inventing itself to the needs and wants of the users… can’t hardly get it wrong except to not begin at all, eh?

    Andrea :)

  7. Larry Brauner on August 5th, 2008 10:02 am

    I agree with you Andrea.

    I do want to address one issue that while tangential to your comment is nevertheless important to me.

    In your comment you use the phrase, “genuine friends at email’s reach”.

    On January 17 I wrote in Online Social Networking: Get More Personal about the value and practicality of relating more personally in real time — by phone or face-to-face.

    I spend an hour or two a day in my car. That time is an opportunity for me to get on the phone to mastermind and keep up with my closest friends, most of whom, believe it or not, I met online!

  8. Paula on August 6th, 2008 12:20 pm

    Learning effective communication skills could really be difficult. But I guess you just really have to get it going. You have to start developing your communication skills to be able to hone and use it for your own success.

  9. I.C. Jackson on August 6th, 2008 4:09 pm

    I know from first hand experience that Larry is right on with this post.

    There is so much out there in the world of social media, if you don’t have someone guiding you, you just won’t make a great enough impact. Even the most intuitive, internet savvy marketers need help putting their techincal know-how together with marketing wisdom.

    In walks Larry Brauner, stage left.

    I have made tremendous progress since he became my Web 2.0 mentor. My web presence is firmly established, and I am beginning to see the fruit of my online social networking labor - it’s just wonderful.

    I would have never achieved these kinds of results without some expert help.

    Thanks, Larry, for the advice and for this post :-)

  10. Larry Brauner on August 6th, 2008 4:41 pm

    Thank you Ivo. Working with you has been a wonderful and inspiring experience!

    I hope readers of my blog will join your 60 Day Squidoo Challenge.


  11. Linda P. Morton on August 7th, 2008 3:50 pm


    You are so right. Anyone starting social networking either has to spend loads of time and risk making some harmful mistakes or get a mentor to guide them.

    I’m glad that you are my mentor, and I’m learning so much.


  12. Debbie Morgan on August 20th, 2008 11:10 pm


    I’ve been using social marketing to raise awareness for my safety and security products for a few months now.

    I’ve enjoyed meeting people and making friends. Some of them have been envaluable in helping me as a small business owner but I haven’t really seen an increase in my sales.

    My traffic has increased but most of them are visiting out of curiosity not out of a desire to purchase.

    Based on your article here, I don’t think I’m really doing anything wrong, I think it’s the nature of my products that doesn’t necessarily lend it’s self very well to this type of marketing.

    Thanks for your insight.


  13. Larry Brauner on August 21st, 2008 9:08 am

    Hi Debbie,

    I know that you have been using Ning social networking sites to raise awareness for your safety and security products, and this is excellent.

    At the same time it’s necessary to keep in mind that online social networking is only one facet of social media marketing and social media optimization.

    Blogging, video marketing, content sharing and social bookmarkiing are also important.

    You, like everybody else, are facing the steep social media learning curve. After speaking with you, I know that you can, and you will prevail.

  14. Really engaging Social Media » My Blog on August 12th, 2009 2:27 am

    […] that there’s a steep social media learning curve. Do not quit. So many people join Twitter or Facebook or begin blogging and quit shortly […]

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