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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Larry BraunerA lever gives us the ability or leverage to move heavy objects with relative ease. Metaphorically speaking, the same is true of any tool that can empower us to perform a function more effectively.

The Internet gives us the ability to transfer information with relative ease, and it is also enables a great variety of online tools to provide us with virtual leverage.

Web-Based Tools

Here are six web-based tools that we’ve come to rely upon to save us time or money or to help us be more effective:

  1. Internet-based mail - e-mail, autoresponders and PDF Files
  2. Live communication - VOIP phone, chat and webinars
  3. Digital media - websites, blogs and micro-blogging sites such as Twitter
  4. Social networking sites - Facebook, Ning, LinkedIn, etc.
  5. Content sharing sites - YouTube, Flickr, StumbleUpon, Digg, Delicious, etc.
  6. Search engines - Google, Bing, etc.

I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve had some experience with each of them, and this is a very partial list.

What Can Go Wrong

I probably don’t have to tell you that things don’t always go right. Here are the three obstacles that can most easily sidetrack you:

  1. Using the wrong tool - Download a large file using dial-up Internet, and by the time it finishes downloading, you’ll forget why to wanted it in the first place. Use a shabby autoresponder, and most of your e-mails will end up in recipients’ spam folders.
  2. Using the tool wrong - Social media tools and search engines have steep learning curves, and learning how to use them properly is typically a big undertaking. Misunderstand or misuse social media or SEO techniques, and your work can be set back by months.
  3. The tool breaks - Your Internet connection goes down for a week, your Facebook gets phished, or your blog gets corrupted. You’ll be pulling out your hair, unless of course you’re fortunate enough to be bald.

Many marketers contact me for help because they’ve been using the wrong tool or using the tool wrong.

An Ounce of Prevention

So — choose the right tools, learn to use your tools properly, and develop good contingency plans for when Murphy’s Law does strike — because it most certainly will, and at the worst possible moment.

What do you think?

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Larry Brauner

Even today social media remains a mystery to most marketers. In the minds of most retailers and marketing executives, social media consists of teens messaging on Facebook, sharing pics on Flickr, writing in their blogs or tweeting all their doings on Twitter.

Perhaps they read a few news blogs themselves or have a profile on LinkedIn, but they’re still scratching their heads and wondering how any of this could possibly be useful to them in business.

Coming from the conventional marketing world myself and looking back to my first impression of social media, I can appreciate the retailing and B2B marketing establishment’s legitimate skepticism. That’s why I put together my top reasons for using social marketing for you to share with your colleagues and top management.

Let me caution you however, that social marketing requires its own mindset. Marketing strategies that work well with traditional media won’t necessarily be as effective if applied to new media.

These then are my top ten reasons to take social marketing seriously:

  1. Social marketing is a logical extension of the multichannel marketing strategy of diversification. Social media sites can extend a company’s web presence far beyond the limits of its e-commerce, lead generation or information sites.
  2. Social media builds awareness of products and brands by attraction rather than interruption, and by pulling rather than pushing. Consumers enjoy the discovery process and don’t feel annoyed by it.
  3. Social media employs a community and list building paradigm that’s much more comprehensive, natural and intimate than conventional databases and autoresponders.
  4. Social media marketers engage customers in dialog. They talk with the customer rather than at the customer as is generally the case with conventional media. Social media can also facilitate post-sale support and dissemination of valuable product tips to customers.
  5. Social media used properly can build frequency less expensively than conventional media educating and informing the consumer over time.
  6. Social media can help reach target markets that are too difficult or expensive to reach using conventional means.
  7. Reach doesn’t determine cost, so social media can target a narrow vertical market while at the same time casting a wide net. Efficiency doesn’t really matter much in the context of social media reach.
  8. Search engines like social media, and social marketing leverages free high-quality search exposure which is preferable to paying for low-quality pay-per-click or banner advertising.
  9. Social media sites and your e commerce websites are available 24/7 more or less indefinitely. It’s much like having an ad run in every issue of a publication or like having a catalog or sales letter retained until the customer is ready to make a buying decision.
  10. Using social networking sites it is often possible to connect directly with B2B decision makers without interference from protective gatekeepers.

Social marketing is different from other forms of Internet marketing. I write about the unique challenges that social media marketing poses in Top 10 Social Media Challenges.

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Larry Brauner

A web developer knows how to build a website and how to create a web page that interacts effectively with visitors.  Web developers can often organize information and design web sites with great visual appeal.

Generally speaking however, web developers are neither experienced Internet marketers nor skilled copywriters. They specialize in following, tweaking and implementing the specifications provided to them by small business owners and corporate marketing departments. A web developer is a technician skilled at converting a set of instructions into an interactive web site.

Launching and promoting a web site and building an Internet presence require more than a development effort.  Here are eight other elements that will likely figure into your online presence:

  1. Your niche and perhaps micro-niche - What specific need or needs will your products or services fill?
  2. Positioning and branding - What distinguishes you from your competition? How can you position your brand so that it’s at the top of it’s own category?
  3. Targeting - Who will use your brand and how can you connect with them online and offline?
  4. Your keywords - What terms are people searching for that are relevant to your brand and which are the best ones to compete for?
  5. Content - What do you say on your site? How do you communicate your ideas, and how do you weave in the keywords indicated by your keyword research?
  6. Contextual linking - Creating meaningful hyperlinks within your site content that help the reader and the search engines.
  7. Link building - Getting the best sites to link back to you and other SEO strategies to attract search visitors and drive referrals to your website. Listing your site in appropriate directories. Submitting your site and content to social bookmarking sites, and writing press releases and articles that will also link back to you.
  8. Web promotion and list building - Leveraging video sites, social networking sites, e-zines and PPC ads to drive even more people to visit and register at your website or your blog.

To build a successful web presence requires a team of marketing, design and development professionals to tend to each aspect of your online campaign. In many organizations, some people will assume several roles.

If you’re a small business owner, I recommend that you let a marketing consultant bring together and manage the expertise and skill sets that will be required.

If you have more time to invest than money, Site Build It! is an inexpensive option. You learn each phase as you go and are guided step-by-step through your project.

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Larry BraunerI was away yesterday with my family. About once a month we all spend a day in a group home for multiply handicapped girls. Our hope is that they will enjoy, at least for a brief time, a warm family environment.

When I arrived home I found three pleasant surprises.

  • Another reader had registered as a user of my blog bringing the total to 105.
  • My blog had moved up to #8 in Google for the keywords online social networking. I’m back to #51 today, but it felt good to receive validation, however temporary, from Google.
  • An envelope had arrived by Priority Mail with my very own copy of Mike Dillard’s Building on a Budget.

Today I’m feeling jetlagged from the advance to Daylight Savings Time, but I’m happy to report that I’ve already read Mike’s book cover-to-cover. Here is my feedback.

My book review of Building on a Budget is mixed.

The advertising promises to show network marketers how to leverage a one-time cash outlay of about $500 to acquire new skills and resources and generate a continuous stream of leads without further expense.

Building on a Budget outlines an excellent marketing approach and provides great tips that all marketers could learn from — not just network marketers. The Internet and social media marketing concepts presented in the book are explained very clearly and concisely.

The book discusses one pre-requisite and five marketing strategies which are more effective than the strategies that most marketers currently employ. There’s a chapter each for lead capture pages, Craigslist classified ads, video marketing, press releases, blogging and funded proposals. I feel that these are all excellent choices.

Social networking sites are mentioned but only in passing.

Here are my reservations about Building on a Budget.

I have the knowledge and the resources to implement Mike Dillard’s suggestions. I’m already using several of these techniques in my online marketing, but what about a newbie?

Let’s say that our enthusiastic new marketer decides to follow the book’s instructions. He or she sets up web hosting, domain names and an autoresponder, all absolutely essential tools, and purchases Magnetic Sponsoring, MLM Traffic Formula, Black Belt Recruiting, a camcorder, Camtasia Studio, and one or two other items. The $500 figure can very easily top $1,000, and paid third-party assistance might still be needed.

I have spent much more than that to educate and equip myself to market effectively in today’s environment, and I’m a former IT professional with more than ten years network marketing experience.

I don’t regret it at all.

What I object to is an unrealistic $500 price point established by Building on a Budget. And not only is it unrealistic, the book itself is a powerful sales letter — not an academic marketing text. It’s written to sell information and recruit affiliates. Mike points out that he’s a great copywriter. I totally agree. However, I don’t fault him one bit.

I will make good use of Building on a Budget. It’s a compact reference that I will want at my fingertips. You may find it useful too. However, please be careful about your expectations.

Oh, before I forget to mention it. I will schedule conference calls to help. So if you purchased the book, expect to hear from me.

I welcome questions and comments about the book, but please, keep them upbeat.

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