Biggest Mistakes Internet Marketers Make in Social Media

Is it right to take someone down?

At this moment, an online press release someone distributed about their twitter accomplishments is on Digg. The title isn’t very complimentary.

And while I agree with the assessment that bragging about something isn’t the right way to market – especially if what you’re touting isn’t all that great – I wonder about the reaction.

If I hadn’t met the person in question in person, I might feel differently. But, I have met them and I know lots and lots of other people who know how to make money in Internet marketing, yet sometimes don’t have the skill and finesse it takes to make it in social media. What used to work for them anywhere online, won’t work for them now in social media.

Confession: I am a reformed Internet marketer whose first blog post ever was to push an affiliate product. I spent thousands of dollars on Internet marketing products and seminars in 2006 and early 2007. Then, I found bloggers and converted to a more open social media mindset. Because I’ve been on both sides, if you can call it that, I’m concerned about how the two forces can keep from colliding and learn from each other. After all, there is goodness in both.

I think this brief exchange I had with one of my Internet marketing mentors in 2006 sums up the differences in philosophies:

Internet marketing mentor: “I can’t believe you put your phone number in every email newsletter you send to your list. Aren’t you concerned about being deluged with calls?”

Me: “I would love it if people actually did call and talk to me about what they needed from me.”

What’s Wrong with This Picture? What Internet Marketers Don’t Get About Social Media

Followers Low, Following Minimal

Let’s be straight: this is a numbers game. And although everyone’s quick to say, it’s not about the numbers, it’s about the quality of the relationships, the truth is: comparing numbers is the same as knowing the score. Someone with 23,972 followers has more influence than someone with 332 followers. Do you have to follow people to have a conversation? The people you follow will show in your updates. If you only have a few, then you’ll only see what happens with this group and those who reply to you. Because everyone can see your numbers, it doesn’t matter if you have 150,000 names on your email list.

Valuing the Numbers

Who cares if I’m the top “Chicago Area” person on twitter? I am, but what does that mean to you and me? Seriously, it’s cool to say that and it may impress some people who need to know they’re talking to someone who knows what they’re talking about. But, all it really means is the search term goes to the person who’s most active. Being active on twitter may mean being less productive in other areas of your work and life. And, no I have not made any money from any twitter relationships. Is that something to be proud of? You could argue both sides of that.

Standing Out without Blending In

Social media is a community that belongs to everybody. It’s not a place you can buy, own, rent or sell. Yet, it’s yours for the taking and keeping. You can choose to take a role as a leader, listener or even a lurker. But without others, there is no conversation. Attempting to own the space doesn’t work.  Even on LinkedIn, you go farther when you participate, connect and answer questions.

Pushing Out Rather than Inviting In

Being bullish with one-way marketing is so outdated. Why don’t the people that send out auto-direct messages with links to their promotions get that? Pushing messages won’t work on twitter. People get upset and talk about you – loudly. Gracefully inviting people in is an art that takes time and a personal touch. Staying connected is up to you. If you wait for people to talk to you, you could get very lonely. Joining and jumpstarting conversations is a necessity.

Confining Your Community to Your Corral with no Free Range

In reading some of the comments about this person, it’s surprising to see how many people have no clue about their influence or accomplishments. The same is true of anyone who’s not known outside of their corral. How do Internet marketers get to be known? They promote each other to each other’s lists, they speak at each other’s events and they produce branded information products. But, that’s all within the same system. To spread the word, fans-customers-clients/whatever you call them need a free range to roam and spread the word. So, give it to them. But, first give them the value they can share with others.

What do you think?

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