1 immutable law of social media marketing

social media marketingI just read an interesting article at eM+C titled 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing. It’s about the expectations and responsibilities you have with social media marketing.

The 9 laws are interesting and instructive, but I have a list that’s much simpler. My list includes just 1 law:

  1. Invest time to get people involved.

What’s nice about my list is that it’s the same as my list for any other type of marketing. Because social media marketing really isn’t too much different when you get right down to it.

Consider why a direct mail piece works. You want people to spend time with your product, think about it, get involved with it. The more involvement you get, the more sales you make.

The difference between traditional media and social media is that social media is, well, more social.

With traditional media, such as direct mail or print ads, your involvement is fleeting. It only happens when you spend money to get people involved. With social media, your involvement is ongoing. Whatever money you spend is an investment in a long-term relationship.

The real question is, does it work? I’m not a social media specialist, I just play one in my spare time. But I’ll share a little of my own experience with you.

I’m the volunteer marketing director for a political action committee and have been using various flavors of social media marketing to raise funds, stage events, influence elections, and change laws for a few years now.

On the spectrum of money and time, we have more time than money, so social media is a natural solution. Direct mail is too expensive and risky. But blogs, forums, and social site such as Facebook are next to zero expense. Yet, we are able to get thousands of people involved in our cause, solicit sizable donations, and urge people to take action.

Here’s just one small example. To raise funds, we invited a well-known speaker to address some of our supporters. We charged $99 a head for an all-day workshop. With one blog post (that also streamed out to Facebook and Twitter) and a few emails and newsletter blurbs, we drew 350 people. For a small organization, $34,650 in one day is pretty good.

So is that all it takes? A blog and email? No. It took years of getting people involved in our cause. Twitter, Facebook, forums, 8-10 blog posts a week, and a weekly email newsletter all played a part in creating a large group of involved people.

So when the time comes to ask for money or stage an event, they’re available and receptive. The same holds true for profit businesses. If you can create a loyal following with on-going involvement, those people will be there when you launch a product or have a sale.

Just as it takes time to create a network of friends and colleagues in your life, it takes time to create a network of fans, supporters, and product advocates in your business life.

And it’s all about involvement.

Just for the record, I’m not a believer in the naive notion that social media, or pull marketing, will replace traditional marketing, or push marketing.

In my opinion, social media marketing is good for small businesses or organizations without a big budget as a form of shoestring marketing. It’s also good as a means for large businesses to reach core customers and some additional prospects.

But to make the big bucks (AT&T, Microsoft, Coca Cola), you will always have to flex the brute force muscle of traditional media to move products and services.

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4 Responses to “1 immutable law of social media marketing”

  1. Annie Cooley on December 21st, 2009 11:31 am

    You are right in emphasizing the importance of involvement. In order to gain involvement and a faithful following you really do have to think ahead far in advance of the possible outcome. This is why it is so fun though! The combination of email marketing and social media open up DOZENS of avenues for you to share your message and gain followers in whole new ways. It is merely up to you to take those risks.

  2. Dean Rieck on December 21st, 2009 12:52 pm

    As simple as that sounds, a lot of marketers are having a problem thinking in those terms. I guess it’s like anything else … it just takes time to get into the right mindset.

  3. Annie Cooley on December 21st, 2009 12:54 pm

    That is very true. It is not a simple task. It is definitely a change of mindset and a constant reminder of the right mindset. I appreciate this post in reminding readers of the importance of this.
    .-= Annie Cooley’s last blog … Sharing your story through email marketing =-.

  4. urSelections.com on January 11th, 2010 1:33 pm

    1 immutable law of social media marketing…

    I just read an interesting article at eM+C titled 9 Immutable Laws of Social Media Marketing. It’s about the expectations and responsibilities you have with…

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