A Guide to Finding Zen in Social Media Marketing

Written by Scott May 28, 2010

Written by: Scott Dinsmore

Average Reading Time: 6 minutes

Who’s a bit confused on how to get 140 characters working for you and your brand? My hand’s up.

At least it was until I finished up Shama’s new book, The Zen of Social Media Marketing. I have been aggressively learning about social media marketing for the last few months and I was still having trouble connecting the dots.

Shama got me excited to the point that I started making changes before I finished the first couple chapters. On top of that, Twitter finally is starting to make sense. And it actually is useful. And she more than fully covers the others as well: Facebook, LinkedIn, blogs and video. In fact my last couple articles got more Facebook and Twitter mentions than the previous ones combined. I love immediate results.

I used to refuse to “waste” my time on social networking sites. But before long it was too hard to resist. I couldn’t look at a website without being bombarded with it. So this year I made it a goal to become an inbound marketing/social media marketing expert. Then I realized that was shooting a little high… So I changed it to “start becoming an social media expert.” The learning curve has been steep and amazing.

The more I learn, the more I realize that the leverage of these social networks is unreal. Forget the fact that it’s a fun way to connect to friends and network. The leverage you can get on your exposure is something that I believe is going to be the primary way to market a business (or yourself) in the years to come. Just in a few months of putting this stuff to work on ReadingForYourSuccess, I have seen a 300-400% increase in traffic and almost as big of an increase in my subscribers.

The beauty of it: it’s not costing me a dime. That’s why it works. People are connecting with each other because they actually want to. Everyone gets value from the connections. This isn’t the type of exposure you can buy. You must participate and be genuinely interested in adding value to the networks in order to experience the leverage. But do this and it will be massive. It’s no different than deciding to add value to every one of your in-person interactions… which I hope we all have as a goal.

With social media, as with anything else, success comes from putting in more than you take out. The next stage of marketing and positioning will be in adding genuine value to the people you come across. The smoke and mirrors of traditional methods is working less and less (not to mention entrepreneurs can’t afford it). Those who are prevailing are the ones who actually care and who are indeed finding their own social media marketing zen.

Shama’s book serves as an ideal how-to book for those brand new to the space and it also provided plenty of new ideas despite what I’ve learned over the past months. When done reading, I ended up with 25+ action items for ReadingForYourSuccess. Then I logged onto the book’s companion site to find an awesomely helpful Workbook and followon resources. This is about as much handholding as you can get without Shama showing up on your doorstep. Although with how responsive she was to my tweets and emails, I wouldn’t be surprised if she did.

10 Most Powerful Marketing Zen Take-Aways:

1. Create a strategy. Social media can absolutely kill your productivity if you just surf around all day. Set up time limits and boundaries for how you’ll spend your time. Limit yourself to 30 minutes a day for all networks. Remember these should leverage your time. Spend much more and the leverage may reverse. And you certainly don’t want to get too caught up in the chatter.

2. Have Simple Daily Routines: This is how you execute on your strategy. Shama suggests simple daily social media interactions of wishing your friends happy birthday, posting a useful link or two, update your status in a fun way and check to see if there are any comments worth responding to. This should take all of 10 minutes. She also has great weekly and monthly routines for each network.

3. Use Tweet Deck. The head of marketing for a hot tech company in Santa Barbara turned me onto this a few days before picking up the book. Then Shama added fuel to the fire. This is a killer time saver app. It allows you to see all Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn Status updates without all the other distractions. You can set up specific lists and search terms for your favorite tweeps and quickly submit status updates without getting caught up by all the other things on the network’s website like pictures and videos. Very cool tool.

4. Add Value. The social networking system will only work as long as each member continues to add value to the network. If you are not adding value, chances are that the leverage isn’t working for you either. Don’t make a big deal about it though. For many people, all the value they need to receive is an unexpected smile, laugh or comment. If you are constantly promoting your own brand and site, you will miss the train.

5. Set Limits. This might sound a bit repetitive but it’s crucial. The average person spends way too much time on these networks. Set limits. If you don’t, you will drain your day. This is of course assuming you have something better to do than connecting online. If you’re not sure what, go out and meet someone face to face the good old fashioned way. These networks can’t do it all.

6. Add New Connections After Each Event. The moment you get back from a networking event or anytime you meet some new people, go through all the business cards you have and send them friend requests. This becomes the perfect rolodex. And it will even remember their birthdays.

7. Own Your Own Domain Name. If you don’t already own your own domain name then go out and buy it. Set it to forward to your Facebook or LinkedIn profile, or your personal website. I own www.ScottDinsmore.com as well as a few others and they all forward to ReadingForYourSuccess. Don’t miss a chance to build your brand. Get your name before someone else does.

8. Think Like a User First and a Marketer Second. This goes with adding value. Think of what your readers would find benefit in reading or learning. Provide those links to your network. Offer this benefit and the marketing will come naturally. Think like a marketer and your network will lose interest.

9. Help Others Promote Their Stuff. As long as their content is useful, don’t be shy about sharing it. It has felt amazing when I’ve seen someone promote an article of mine for no apparent reason. I love doing it for others too. Being part of a community means supporting the other members. It’s much more fun this way.

10. Be Authentic and Be Human. Show your colors a bit. People want to get to know a person, not some brand name. Talk about your life. Post some pictures and open up.

Social media is not just for promoting yourself; it’s about communication with your audience. Add some value.

Many people have yet to dive into social media due to fear of being overwhelmed. It’s a very real possibility if you don’t have a plan. Shama does an awesome job of making it manageable and approachable. I’d even say exciting. In the process she’s made herself a pretty impressive model to follow. And she’s more than eager to help you on your journey.

It’s a given that this is a must-read topic for entrepreneurs and marketers. But I see it as required reading for all of us…No joke. You can’t be asleep at the social media switch if you want to sincerely have an impact. Look around. What known brand, charity or figure does not have a Facebook page or Twitter handle?

It’s no longer ok to say you don’t get it and it’s not worth your time. I assure you it is. Maybe to help your division at work, or the spread awareness for your own business, or the charity you volunteer for or maybe just to continue molding the way the world perceives you.

There is not one of us who doesn’t have a massively important brand to promote and position–Your own. There’s nothing more crucial to get right than Brand You. There has never been a time where so much free leverage existed for promoting your values and those of your business. All you have to do is be interested enough to use it.

Whether you do something about it or not, social media will shape your brand. Manage your reputation before someone else does. I know you’ll have a ton of fun doing it. I hope this gets you started.

How has social media marketing affected your personal brand or business? What have you found to be your most useful tactics? Share with us below.

If you liked this article, please get social with it and Tweet about it or tell your friends on Facebook using the links below. I’d appreciate it.

Buy The Zen of Social Media Marketing at Amazon

Other books and articles you might enjoy:

Inbound Marketing: Get Found Using Google, Social Media and Blogs

How to Not Get Caught Up in the Chatter

Shama’s Website: The Marketing Zen Group

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