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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17 Responses to “Social Marketing Leverage”

  1. Vance Sova on September 24th, 2009 12:33 am

    Hi Larry,

    There is a number of tools that I haven’t used yet and one that I even haven’t heard of: Ning.

    You made me laugh when you said that if you use a slow internet connection, by the time it downloads you may have forgotten why you wanted to download it in the first place.

    I wonder if you could write something about contingency plans, how to back up things.

    You may have already done so, in that case sorry for suggesting it.

    This is only my second visit to your blog and there’s a lot of good stuff to explore.

    Vance

  2. lerry on September 24th, 2009 2:23 am

    Thanks Lerry for your input which has been given, perhaps not all of us know the things above, but is there a better alternative so that we can do it all right?

  3. Catherine White on September 24th, 2009 3:03 am

    I think Murphy should be outlawed.

    Seriously, you have me thinking about my contingencies. Thanks for the reminder.

  4. Larry Brauner on September 24th, 2009 10:08 am

    @Vance My best advice off the cuff is to try and avoid “putting all your eggs in one basket.”

    @Lerry The best ways to get it right are to read a lot, ask people who are more knowledgeable for help, and brainstorm with your colleagues and friends.

    @Catherine I’m really getting to like you. Hope all is going well in Sydney.

  5. Debbie Morgan on September 24th, 2009 1:28 pm

    Hi Larry;
    Thanks for this great information. I think you’re absolutely right. We can have the best tools for the job but if we utilize them improperly, the job won’t get done or will get done poorly. Also, although I don’t like Murphy’s law, it has helped me learn to overcome problems and deal with unexpected situations. How uneducated we would all be without the problems we have to solve every day!
    Deb

  6. Dr. Erica Goodstone on September 24th, 2009 11:16 pm

    I am constantly learning new tools and techniques. Often, there is a technical glitch that I may or may not be able to overcome. All part of the process. There is a steep learning curve to all this online networking and marketing and converting into sales.

  7. Steve on September 26th, 2009 7:43 pm

    Larry, thanks for the great article. What is your advice for “using these tools correctly” One of the things, to be sure, is to use at least two or three good social networking sites so that if one gets ‘phished’ you can still use the other ones.

  8. Larry Brauner on September 26th, 2009 9:15 pm

    Steve, diversifying does help to reduce the impact of unexpected disasters. However, using tools correctly depends upon knowledge and experience. Sometimes, as in the case of a new poorly documented tool, that knowledge and experience will come from carefully conducted trial and error.

  9. Metz on September 27th, 2009 7:32 am

    Hi

    Dropping by to ask for your prayers and support for the Flood Victims of Typhoon Ondoy that just hit the Philippines, Metro Manila. I was very fortunate that my apartment has been spared from the major flooding but many have died and many more need to be rescued. Drop by over at empty streets to find out how you can also support those that have been hit by this tragedy.

    sincerely,

    Metz
    Empty Streets 1027

  10. Terry with Nursing Apparel on September 28th, 2009 2:45 am

    How about the new tools to hit the market?

    Would you jump at the chance to be one of the first users of the untested tool, or would you do things manually until the tool gets enough positive response?

    @Vance, Ning is great. You can create your own social networking site so it’s cool if your blog has a large following. And since you can create a social network for people in your niche, you’ll get targeted visitors and grow your network. :D Hope that helps.

  11. Larry Brauner on September 28th, 2009 9:27 pm

    Terry,

    I would consider trying an untested tool for myself. I would experiment with it before recommending it to others or using it on a client’s behalf.

  12. Terry with Nursing Apparel on September 28th, 2009 11:50 pm

    I’ve been thinking about it too and I’ve been out hunting for new tools, and one thing I found out that it would be safer for your machine if you run untested tools on a sandbox. :D

    Thanks Larry for the reply.

  13. Larry Brauner on September 28th, 2009 11:58 pm

    My preference Terry is for new research tools that do not run on my machine.

  14. geekversity on October 13th, 2009 2:56 am

    This is a great post, Larry. Too little do we probably consider consequences or consider contingency plans before rushing headlong into problems, only to entangle ourselves in issues down the track…

  15. Martha on October 16th, 2009 4:07 am

    Choosing the correct tool is very important. Why pay for a less comprehensive service.

    Information and recommendations from others who have used these services would be very helpful.

    Thank you, Larry

  16. Colin on October 31st, 2011 11:24 am

    No kidding, things can go wrong! In fact, I decided, as much as possible, to finally focus on the things I do best and hire somebody who excels at the rest.
    What a relief!

  17. Stan Hjerleid on November 5th, 2011 11:59 pm

    You are right, social media tools have a steep learning curve. I spent 3 hours today just to get a Facebook Like box for a Facebook Page to look like I wanted it to on my website. Stan

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