Larry Brauner

On April 4 in Building a List with Online Social Networking I discussed the role of online social networking in permission-based marketing.

When you add a friend at one of the social networking sites, you are adding that person to your list, and at the same time you’re adding yourself to his or her list. It’s reciprocal list building.

You’ll readily agree that a tiny list is not likely to get you far. Right?

You must build a large list. But how large? And do you focus on quantity or quality?

Whether you have 100 or 500 or 5,000 people on your friends list, you aren’t going to be able to have a regular intimate dialog with all of them. So why opt for smaller rather than larger?

Ron BatesIn Stan Relihan’s interview with Ron Bates, the most connected networker on LinkedIn with around 40,000 direct connections, Ron answers the question quite succinctly. He says that “there is quality in quantity”.

In other words, the larger your list, the more people there will be who are just the ones you’re looking to meet. Some relationships will remain superficial while others will become strong friendships.

Ron also discusses the importance in business today of what he refers to as an “additive online presence”. Before somebody does business with you they’re likely to Google you to see what comes up. That’s your online presence. Each place you network, post an article or bookmark a site adds to that presence. This you may recall is a subject we touched on last month in Social Networking Sites: Your Web Presence and is frequently discussed at My Private Classroom for Marketers.

I encourage you to listen to Stan’s interview with Ron Bates and Stan’s other online social networking podcasts. You’ll find loads of gems.

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Larry Brauner

List building today isn’t the exclusive domain of autoresponders.

Sure, a reliable autoresponder is still a vital tool if you’re marketing on the Internet. However, online social networking and friend lists ought to weigh more heavily in your permission based marketing strategy.

I started realizing this in 2006 when I first joined MySpace. I noticed how much richer and more effective the two-way communication of social networking sites was than the ongoing monologue associated with e-mail marketing.

I always encourage my e-mail contacts to write me back, but few actually do. And I never learn enough about them, unless of course they choose to join me on MySpace, Facebook, Yuwie or one of the other online networking venues I frequent.

There is another big reason to incorporate online social networking in your online marketing repertoire.

Consider the ease with which you can add thousands of friends on MySpace compared to the cost and difficulty of building your autoresponder list. Whether you use one of the “friend adders” and risk suspension of your profile by the networking site owner, or whether you add friends manually, it’s still much more straightforward to build a permission based marketing list through social networking than it is using more conventional opt-in list building techniques.

I myself do both. I add new subscribers to my autoresponders on a regular basis and simultaneously add new contacts to my friend lists on LinkedIn, MySpace and Yuwie. I have a good reason for doing so.

Not withstanding my previous remarks, it’s easier for me to broadcast a message on demand to my opt-in list than it is to my social networking friends.

Most people check their e-mail at least once a day. If they want to hear from me, they will.

If I post a bulletin on MySpace they can easily miss it. I have to post it several times each day to keep it “on top”. And if they don’t log in, or even worse, if they’ve abandoned their profile, they won’t see the message at all.

So why should you put all your eggs in one basket? Diversify. E-mail people and contact them through multiple sites and through multiple channels on each site to maximize your message delivery and response rate.

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