Zig Ziglar said: “I believe you can have everything in life you want if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”
I first read that quote in his book, See You At The Top, about six years ago. Being the big believer in karma that I am it struck a major resonance with me and I try to make sure I give much more than I receive. To get all tree hugging on you: you get back what you put out threefold; that can be three times the pain or three times the good stuff. Your choice. I like to help friends with their businesses; I have design and illustration skills: I design their websites, ebooks and promotional literature; I have website and online marketing skills: I try and help them out with advice on improving their strategy. I’m not telling you this for a big cheer (although a huge sky banner would be nice) the point I am getting to (it’s around here somewhere) is that social media marketing operates in the same way: you have to give a lot to get back a little in return. But that little makes it all worthwhile.
I started out in twitter/facebook land not having a clue how to use it, never-mind that there were netiquette social rules to follow. I blundered in, I thought by following any old fool and his gang of circus dogs I was social networking like a pro. I rejoiced as my followers list began to increase, even though it was full of twitter slappers (they give it up for anybody). I twitter fed my blog and thought my list of very insightful prose would be a gift to the world! Basically I offered nothing of value and sat and watched a time-line full of porn and spam.
Then you wise up (or realise that your online integrity is in tatters before you began) and start to give it up to the community. You delete all the rubbish in your following/followers list and you start to look for a community worth linking too. Let’s face it fans and followers numbers are just vanity: the more you have doesn’t mean the better you are. It just means you will either tolerate a lot of bullshit coming through your feed or you’re obsessed with looking popular (Maybe you still have issues from being picked last in gym class). And the real issue here is non relevant followers are as useful as a tire kicker at a car showroom: you don’t offer anything to them, and they, sure as chihuahuas, don’t offer anything to you.
You start to appreciate the power that social media marketing has and best of all you start to appreciate how rewarding it can be to be involved in the community. Social media is all about giving value. After all the hubbub about Panda, the real buzz word of 2011 has to be: quality content, and that really sums it up. Offer good value and interest to the community you want to hook into before you ask for anything in return. As in life so online: if you were making friends with a new group would you introduce yourself and BTW will you just fill this big bucket full of your best ideas, knowledge, ooh and all your cash too, on your past please.
If you want to learn the rules and etiquette of social media marketing I would highly recommend this post by Tamar who is THE social media maven and a total authority. Or this great post by Ian who is a master craftsmen with his pen (how old am I? of course I meant keyboard) and humour.