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September 30, 2010

How to Out-Socialize the Gurus on Twitter and Other Social Media

Social media has long been touted as the latest and greatest Internet marketing tool that will bring new people to any online business seeking new customers.

For most online marketers, the social media environment appears over-hyped and ineffective. Between Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, StumbleUpon, and Delicious, online marketers waste plenty of time trying to tap revenue from these social platforms.

Why Auto-Following Will Always Fail

John Reese is one of those people who has become famous for his online marketing prowess, with a variety of product launches. Even with his genius for online marketing, John Reese failed to make the Twitter platform work for his business. In June of 2008, Reese realized that the auto-follow strategy of gaining Twitter followers was not working.

The auto-follow Twitter marketing strategy is doomed to failure. I actually lost a little bit of respect for John Reese because he had to learn the hard way that the Twitter auto-follow strategy would not work. A man with his genius should have known before he started that the technique was doomed to fail miserably.

It will fail because it works in the same manner as a safe list or traffic exchange system, where a bunch of people will gather together to send advertising to each other. The problem is that people only agree to join such systems so that they can send their advertising to others, not so that they can read a ton of advertising from other people.

People do not join safe lists because they want 10,000 people to send them advertising in their email. They only agree to let 10,000 people send them commercial e-mail, because they want to send their commercial e-mail to 10,000 people. Everyone involved is so caught up in the hope that someone will read their advertising and buy what they are selling, without giving much concern or thought to the idea that even they are not reading the email that other people send to them.

In June of 2008, John Reese gave up on the auto-follow strategy for gaining Twitter followers. He un-followed everybody in a single day and started again from scratch.

Is Twitter Dead?

Nearly 2 years later, in March of 2010, John Reese declared in an e-mail to his mailing list that he had deleted his Twitter account. He cited the same reasons that he did 21 months previously — too much noise.

John Reese is not the only online guru to abandon the Twitter platform. Frank Kern, and a few of Reese’s other online associates, also bid Twitter farewell. Kern said that Twitter was a “time suck” that was eating into his productivity.

Please don’t get the idea that my reporting on the marketing gurus leaving Twitter like rats from a sinking ship is a signal to you that you should do the same.

In fact, I am not leaving Twitter and I see no reason that you should either.

By mentioning Reese and Kern leaving Twitter behind, I am only pointing out that some of the sharpest minds involved in online marketing have yet to understand the true art and science of social media marketing.

Both of these guys are smart. Few people will argue against that. But, both have failed to understand how to turn a profit from the Twitter social media platform.

Social Media Marketing Is Not Mass Marketing

If you were to ask me… these two guys, smart as they are, missed the most elemental foundation of social media marketing…say, after me, S-O-C-I-A-L… SOCIAL media marketing.

John Reese and Frank Kern are masters of mass marketing. Mass marketing does not work on social media websites.

Social media is described as such, because it invites individuals to socialize with one another. Those individuals who have mastered the social media platform are those who have understood how to create relationships, develop relationships, and maintain relationships. They have understood that social media websites are there to help you nurture social relationships with other people.

The mass marketer is focused on himself, above and beyond all other people. The social marketer is focused on building relationships with the people with whom they would like to do business.

If you understand how to attract people and maintain personal relationships with those people, then you may master social media marketing in a way that John Reese and Frank Kern were unable to do.

Stumbling In The Dark

The first step to mastering social media marketing is to learn how to attract people. Auto-follow will never work towards that end. In order to attract people who want to follow you, you must inspire them to want to follow you.

It is funny when I watch the people who are trying to market themselves on Twitter.

Some of those people will send out an endless supply of quotes, trying to convince you of their value, because they have said something clever through the words of another person.

Others will send out sales message after sales message hoping to attract your business.

Still others will try to win your support by focusing on key words. They want to treat Twitter as if it were search engine driving traffic to their website.

Some Twitter users will make certain to include a link with every tweet. The smarter of the lot will only link to information. The more shallow of the group will only link to sales pages.

And finally, there are those who are probably smarter than all of us put together. They are the ones who provide a mix of content. Sometimes, they will give us a link to information. Sometimes, they will link us to the sales page. At other times, they will share quotes and news headlines. And in all cases, they will socialize with their followers, asking about things important to their followers and sharing their personal lives with those who ask.

The Lesson To Take From This Article

Social media marketing works best, when the marketer who is attempting to use it, remembers that first and foremost it is a platform to socialize with other people.

Why do people follow YOU on Twitter?

They follow you, because there is something about you and what you say that appeals to them at a very human level.

If you want to win in the Social Media element, be human and don’t be afraid to socialize with your friends and acquaintances.

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