Larry BraunerIn Social Marketing Leverage, I stated that the Internet gives us the ability to transfer information with relative ease and enables a great variety of online tools to provide us with a virtual type of leverage.

In this article, I discuss another physical phenomenon, that of momentum, as it applies to the non-physical social marketing process.

MomentumMomentum is the impetus of an object or a process, its tendency to remain in motion. If you’ve ever skated or cross-country skied, you’ve enjoyed momentum or gliding. :-)

When riding in a car or bus that stopped short, you were thwarted by momentum as the vehicle stopped, but you kept going. :-(

Most of the time, we don’t want to lose momentum. We’ve worked up some speed, or we’re highly productive — and we want it to continue.

Losing Physical Momentum

In the physical world, these factors can cause us to lose our momentum:

  • Collision - Its outcome is generally hard to predict and is often catastrophic.
  • Friction  - Air, water and even our own brakes slow us down or stop us completely.
  • Turning - To avoid collision, negotiate speed bumps or alter our final destination, we must brake partially or completely to change our direction.

Losing Social Media Momentum

In our non-physical social marketing work, the same factors contribute to our loss of momentum and productivity:

  • Collision - Hitting the proverbial brick wall. A major plan is flawed, we accidentally delete all of our Twitter followers, or our Facebook account is phished. My advice in Social Marketing Leverage to “develop good contingency plans for when Murphy’s Law does strike” applies here and to all aspects of our lives.
  • Friction - Indecision, multitasking, working at home while the kids are seeking attention, working at the office while a co-worker in the next cubicle is blabbing, slow social networking sites, associates who don’t keep their word, etc. These all tend to slow us down.
  • Turning - This is huge. Abandoning a blog, changing our branding strategy midstream and other false starts lead to directional changes that slow us down and cost both time and money.

Social Marketing Prescription

What is my prescription for preserving social marketing momentum?

Planning, focus and consistency.

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Short Version of My Story

Today I tell some of my own story and share some of my own social media strategy.

This article is about an idea that was planted in my head and how I nurtured that idea. The article is slightly longer than usual, so please hang in there with me.

Creative problem solving has been a forte of mine since my teen years as a math whiz and chess champion. Once I began employment, I applied my problem solving capabilities to helping companies improve their business processes and getting a better handle on many different types of business and scientific data.

Thirty years into my career I learned about the social media and Web 2.0 revolution from Time Magazine’s BIG December 2006 cover story, Time’s Person of the Year: You. I saw that, while I could no longer be one of the earliest adopters of social media, it wasn’t at all too late to position myself near the forefront of this enormous trend.

I had previously experienced and benefited to a small degree from online social networking and social networking sites such as Ryze and Direct Matches, but the Time article opened my eyes to possibilities greater than I’d previously imagined. I decided in January 2007, after reading the Time article, to master social media and to watch and see where that mastery would lead me.

Online Social Networking

Rather than try to master all social media at one time, I instead focused only on online networking and developed a first version of my online social networking strategy. These early conclusions, I based on my observations at MySpace, Direct Matches and Yuwie, social websites I have since rejected.

By September 2007, I was contemplating my next step.

Blogging and SEO

At MySpace and Yuwie I experimented with blogging. The next step was to start an independent blog, and I chose Wordpress.org as my platform in connection with web hosting at Go Daddy.

Before launching my Online Social Networking blog I spent months reading about blogging and search engine optimization, as well as conducting keyword research. The time invested paid off. I got started right, and keyword research become an important skill for me, as well.

I began blogging in November 2007 and devoted a year to learning how to write, promote and optimize my online publication. By October 2008 I no longer viewed myself as a novice blogger.

At present Online Social Networking has more than 350 Feedburner subscribers, receives 2,000+ search visits per month, and is ranked by Alexa in the top 100,000 websites.

Ning Social Networks and Twitter

First Ning networks and then Twitter captured my attention. These two social media platforms are powerful and growing rapidly in popularity.

Just as I’d done with my online social networking strategy, search engine optimization and blogging, I set out to master Ning and Twitter, writing articles on each that have since been read many times and featured by top news sites.

@larrybrauner on Twitter has 20,000+ followers, and thousands of users have already visited my blog.

“One Bite at a Time” Works

The key to my progress is internal motivation coupled with focus.

Rather than go off in too many directions and spread myself thin, I’ve applied the 80/20 Rule, taking one bite at a time out of the social media giant. This strategy has worked well for me and will work well for others too.

It’s March 2009. What will my next bite be?

FacebookStay tuned, but Facebook is at the top of my social marketing list, and along the way, I’m building my social media brand, helping clients, and looking for new ones.

We’ve now reached the point in the article where you subscribe to my blog and join my Facebook business page. ;-)

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Larry Brauner

Stacey Chadwell once asked me, How do you maintain focus?

On this first anniversary of my Online Social Networking blog, Stacey’s question caused me to think and take stock.

I imagine that many blogs launched last year have long since been abandoned. How is it that I maintained my focus over the past year while many other new bloggers did not?

It has been suggested that FOCUS stands for “follow one course until successful”.

While this representation is simplistic, it is nevertheless more true than not. To accomplish something substantial, some degree of obsession and narrow focus is a prerequisite for success.

Revisiting the Ultimate Success Secret

As I indicated in Critical Success Factors, I take my cue from The Ultimate Secret to Getting Absolutely Everything You Want by Mike Hernacki in which he wrote:

“In order to accomplish something, you must know what you want and be willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish it.”

In other words, focus arises from intention and is maintained through commitment.

This principle is the key to sustaining focus and achieving eventual success.

To demonstrate my commitment, I was willing to:

  • blog for months before seeing tangible results
  • ignore doubts expressed by friends and family
  • read books about blogging and search engine optimization
  • mastermind with other bloggers to get their opinions
  • experiment, learn from my mistakes and backtrack as needed
  • put some of my other objectives on hold

Today I have more than 100 regular readers and receive thousands of visitors to my blog each month. My articles have been featured on top news sites.

I have a Google PageRank of 3 and high search engine rankings for lots of keywords that I researched and targeted.

I was willing to do what many others were not and was able to maintain my focus throughout the year.

Planning the Next Year

During the next twelve months I would like to take my blog to the next level, for sure.

However, I plan to apply the same kind of commitment and narrow focus to new projects such as developing my new Ning social networking site and mastering the intricacies of web analytics.

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Larry Brauner

I cannot be everything to everybody.

I know I can’t.

I realized that a long time ago. I’ve learned to choose who I want to be to the people who matter most to me.

Business Analysis Example

I’m a business analyst. There are lots of business analysts in the world, but how many of them specialize in marketing and customer analysis like I do? Very few indeed.

And how many rely as heavily on intuition and instinct as I do? Even fewer.

Looking for somebody to do your P&L analyses? Not me. Go talk to a finance type. There are tons of them with MBA degrees waiting to hear from you.

Want to assess a takeover target? Again, not me. Go find somebody who’s into merger and acquisitions to help.

Need to track your marketing or determine how much your customers are worth? Now that is me. Give me a call, and I’ll talk your head off for hours about customer acquisition and customer retention, because that’s definitely my thing.

Network Marketing Example

I admit it. I’m also a network marketer.

I have lots of expertise in online social networking at social networking sites, blog marketing and search engine optimization. I was networking online way before it was cool, and I’m continuously sharpening my blogging and SEO skills.

Do I know the three foot rule? Of course I do, but so does everybody else in the network marketing business.

Can I make a list of family, friends and acquaintances? You bet I can — I’ve done it more than once — but is there one successful networker who can’t?

On the other hand, how many network marketers are Internet savvy? How many of them prospect and network online and enjoy it as I do?

Breaking Away from the Pack

I like to learn from teachers such as Diane Hochman and Mike Dillard, because they too have broken away from the pack. As Diane often says, “When people are zigging, you have to zag.” She’s a lady I want to get to know much better. That’s a big reason why I joined My Private Classroom.

By the way, if you would like to develop strong social networking, social marketing and personal branding skills, read My Private Classroom Opens to Public.

Blogging Example

A reader recently complained that my articles were neither timely nor did they provide information she couldn’t have found elsewhere online.

I basically told her that intelligent and thought-provoking were more important to me than timely. Here too I’ve chosen a focus that works for me.

My Personal Brand Management Approach

The point of this post is that I’ve narrowed my focus, so that I could escape the crowds and stand out more readily. I’ve defined my market, so that I can dominate it.

I prefer to be a leader in my carefully selected fields rather than an also-ran in larger more broadly defined competitive categories.

Avis might have been #2 in the car rental industry, but when they said, “we try harder”, they re-positioned themselves as #1 in car rental customer service.

Redefine Your Market

Do you sell mortgages? Travel? Nutritional products?

Here’s some food for thought. How can you position yourself so that people will see you and think of you as a leader in your market and remember you when they are ready to buy?

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Larry Brauner

After much consideration and discussion with my friend Janice Weinberg, I have decided to limit the scope of this blog to online social networking, social media, and personal development.

There are other places to promote her site and her book. Keeping a narrow focus will better serve my readers and help the search engines.

I appreciate your readership and support. I encourage your participation. Sincere comments will be rewarded with a follow-link back to your website.

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