It seems like EVERYONE is in LOVE with social media marketing and I thoroughly understand the appeal. After all, most of the tools of the social media marketing trade are notoriously easy on the checkbook.
Anyone with a little web savvy, a sense of adventure and the willingness to put in the time and effort to learn the rules of the social media sandbox can make a lasting online impression with a minimal outlay of cash.
If you’re a bootstrapping entrepreneur who has more time than money, social media marketing might seem like answered prayer.
Chris Brogan likens using social media marketing to a popular non-prescription mother’s little helper ( a.k.a. Hamburger Helper) in his blog post Pirate Moves.
[Social Media Marketing is like Hamburger Helper because it’s] less expensive and it stretches everything out more. Nothing listed above costs more than a single advertisement placed in a mainstream magazine or large market newspaper.
Chris’ argument is flawless – yet it overlooks an important element – one skillfully addressed by Jason Cohen in his blog post, “Please stop saying social media marketing is free.” Jason writes:
Social media is expensive. In fact, it’s more expensive than traditional media. It just comes in the form of spending time instead of spending money.
Jason points out that for those who aren’t already up to speed on the basics of SEO and other realities of the web, that hiring the TALENT needed to make social media marketing work can be a VERY cash intensive expense.
In the beginning, when many solo entrepreneurs have more time than money as they’re building their business, many are willing to trade time for money.
Social media marketing may be the BEST investment you can make in the future of your business – but you have to make sure you do it RIGHT! There is definitely a “dark side” to social media marketing!
Social Media Reality Check
It’s important to remember that the blog posts and comments you create today will live forever because the internet never forgets.
Brian Friedlander tells a compelling tale from the “Dark Ages” of social media of a marketing manager who left a blog comment on a blog post reviewing her company’s product. The blog post not only became a platform for discussion in the moment- it continues to get GREAT SERPS for the term [product + review] five years later. Brian writes in The Power of One Knowledgeable, Dedicated Social Media Marketer:
Katie followed the basic tenets of corporate social media:
- find where the conversation is happening
- get involved
- be transparent
- be helpful
These are GREAT rules for anyone who wants to participate in social media marketing to take to heart. If you follow them, you’ll find that blogging and other means of social media marketing will be the best thing since – well since Hamburger Helper for building your budding business.
However, it’s not always rainbows and buttercups when it comes to social media marketing.
In Social Media Marketing – What you don’t know CAN hurt you
A while ago, Rae Hoffman paid to have a WordPress plugin created and in the spirit of social media – offered the plug in for free to others who needed the functionality the plugin provided.
It’s said no good deed goes unpunished, and such is the case here.
Remember, Rae has a business to run and she’s providing this plug in FOR FREE. Despite preparing an EXCEPTIONAL FAQ for the plugin, she still gets email from people who expect her to hold their hand and walk them through the process of getting the plugin to work exactly as they want it to on their blog.
To quote the movie Mystery Men, “The mooch factor is high with this crowd.”
Remember when I said you needed a “sense of adventure” to succeed in social media? Well, there’s nothing more “adventurous” than crashing your blog and then rebuilding it! Does it suck? Of course it does! However, you’ll learn more in that experience than any 5 credit hour course can teach! (If you have to PAY someone else to fix your crashed blog – well, then writing that check will be equally instructional in nature as well.)
Well, James Cook of Kawink didn’t want to get burned and asked for free help from Rae. When he didn’t find it forthcoming, he got angry. So despite the fact that Rae proudly declares in her header, “Never mess with a woman who can pull rank” James decided to throw down with Rae.
As a result, the preeminent conversation about James Cook of Kawink lies in the hands of a woman at whom he has hurled email insults and threats.
A Google search of [James Cook of Kawink] shows Rae’s blog post at #1 and #2 – above any content he carefully crafted in order to promote his start up business.
At the moment – I’m pretty sure James Cook is HATING watching the “laws” of social media marketing at work. He’s about to discover the new and exciting world of online reputation management.
I hope for his sake, the saying is true, “There’s no such thing as bad press” but I kind of doubt it. I can’t imagine anything WORSE for a top Google Serp on my name plus business than that particular blog post.
Cath Lawson says, You’re Nobody until You Get Hate Messages. If you’re tempted to send such a message, take a lesson from my Pest Control company, Truly Nolen. When you’re dealing with a blogger who can definitely pull rank (page rank that is) take the conversation OFF LINE.
Most blog owners just can not resist posting a nice, juicy bit of hate email – especially one riddled with grammatical and spelling errors. However, if at all possible, try to avoid sending such a hate message to someone who spends 10 hours a day eating/drinking/breathing SEO.
When you have a beef with someone who has a blog – it’s best to heed the wise words of The shit fight is beginning- should you join in?left in a comment on my post
The big questions anyone has to answer when these situations arise are: what’s the hunt about and for; do I have a dog in it; if I do, how big is my dog; and finally, does my dog really and honestly hunt – to the best of its ability?