Social Media Marketing is Never Spam

17 AUG 2010

Done right, social media marketing never looks like Spam. Instead it looks like the products and services that an online community naturally develops or discovers to serve itself.

For example, if a group of active writers find themselves in a community where they exchange story ideas, reference resources and the names of publishers, what would be more natural than the development of a publication that showcased the natural talent of those writers. What could be more supportive of their group goal? As the community invested itself into this endeavor, what could be more sensible than for group members to order copies for distribution to family and friends or to promote the work to other groups online.

That’s social media marketing.

The first step in any kind of social media marketing is understanding exactly who your customer is.

If you produce hand made baby clothes, you need to know what kind of mother buys them. Where does she live? Where does she shop? How much does she spend? What does she value when it comes to baby clothes? What does she find attractive? How old are her children?

Once you know who this customer is, you can go find her. She may be lurking in a Facebook group for new mothers. She may be in a group that prides itself on being thrifty shoppers. She may hang out with moms that like only natural fibers, or mothers who consider themselves artists.

Once you find the group, you can become part of the community. This means getting to know who posts what, how people talk about products and services they like, and what rules govern the mention of product recommendations. If someone wants to know where they can get a gift basket for a new born that contains products that only use natural fibers, and you happen to make them, almost no one will mind you telling the poster to check out the relevant web page on your site. What they will mind is daily, or hourly, posts about what you have to sell.

People who get accused of spamming social media sites are usually in the wrong group or they have a product which “does not sell itself”. iPhones and iPads leap off shelves because they are great products. There are many social media sites where these products are mentioned several times a day by huge numbers of people. When you have a great product and you’re in the right group you aren’t the only one talking about what you have to sell.

Sometimes the easiest way to find the right social media marketing group is to build it. That means that you create a Facebook group, Linkedin group or a Sub-Reddit that serves the target market you understand so well. You create the community that group wants to be a part of, and your company simply plays the friendly host.

When you market your business inappropriately in social media groups, you create anti-ads that drive customers away. There’s no shortcut to social media marketing success. You need a great product. You need to understand your customers inside out. You must join a community and build real relationships with its members. If you choose to meet these requirements you’ll find social media marketing is both effective and fun.

For more information, tools and techniques related to effective social media marketing, join Doug Richard, Joost De Valk and Andrew Davis at the MADE IN 48 Hours Bootcamp in Sheffield September 10th & 11th. This is a “must attend” event for every business owner that needs to take control of their enterprise online.