Social media has now become the method of choice for marketing products and services, having conversations and gathering, relaying and exchanging information. It’s the accepted standard of business in the 21stcentury…and I don’t think it’s going anywhere but up in my lifetime for sure.

However, social media marketing is a double-edged sword. If we’re not using it efficiently, effectively and strategically it might just be the just the biggest time-waster in history!

The 5 Golden Rules of Social Media Marketing

1. It’s not about the numbers 

Let’s be clear on this point. It’s great to have millions of Twitter followers and Facebook fans, but this fanatic obsession we have with accumulating followers is insane. It gets us NOWHERE. There is no value in a multitude of fans if they don’t really care about what you have to say. It’s about conversations, relationships and engagement, not masses.

2. It’s not a marketing plan

Social media participation and information sharing can and should be (in my opinion, I won’t say humble) a valuable channel for marketing efforts. But it can’t be the whole enchilada. If you think you can just post some tweets, get some buzz going and business will magically appear, you are mistaken. Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Marketing needs to be a multi-pronged approach. Depending on your business or service, you may need print, radio or TV advertising, possibly internet ads or to attend business shows, speaking engagements or workshops and you most definitely need a website.

3. Stop doing all the talking

Social media is only valuable when it’s a two-way cycle. You share information, others comment, you take in information and offer contribution to others. Information and conversation; in and out. Listening is just as valuable as talking.

4. Results are not necessarily in direct proportion to efforts

The more time you spend on social media, the better results you get, right? WRONG. At a certain point, the extra time you spend on social media communication is just wasted time that you could be using for other things, say creating, selling, or connecting in person. Determine ahead of time how much time is reasonable for this portion of your marketing effort, schedule it in your day, and stick to it.

5. It doesn’t happen overnight

Don’t try to follow 10,000 people right away. You’ll just come across as a spammer. Be discerning, build your “network” gradually and consistently. Be selective, be targeted, and be clear on what your objectives are.

One last tidbit, social media should be not only useful, but enjoyable and interesting as well. If you’re not learning new and interesting things and meeting fabulous new people…then you’re probably doing it all wrong and most likely not getting the results you want either.

Featured photo credit:  Social Media Marketing, Man pressing social network icon, futuristic technology via Shutterstock

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