Social Media Experts – Day 8 of the 31 Day Challenge

Hi,

There has been a lot of talk lately on the subject of social media snake oil, and people calling themselves social media experts.

David Armano weighs in.

V Mary Abrahm sounds off.

And Dawn Foster gives some interesting advice.

By the way, today’s exercise is actually about interlinking your posts. So I’m writing a post I think can be linked to others on my blog. (Two birds, one stone.)

Let’s start by acknowledging everyone makes mistakes – even the biggest social media site in the world. Earlier this month, Facebook announced a partnership with Neilsen.

When it was announced, I took issue with Facebook for calling the ads on their site “social media marketing.” I even went so far as to say Facebook doesn’t get social media.

As much as I understand what the folks at Facebook are saying, the fact is they aren’t being very social when they blur the line between site ads and the effort lots of people are putting into developing their social media marketing.  They’re putting time and energy into relationship marketing, and Facebook is trying to steal that credibility for their ad program.

Anybody can make a mistake.

So here are 3 quick ways to spot someone who knows squat about social media:

1. They claim to have “years” of experience. Facebook didn’t exist until 2004, and Twitter, LinkedIn and most of the others came along after that. Just how many years of experience are they claiming?

2. You’re offered “guaranteed results.” Anyone who knows diddly about advertising always tells you your plan has to be tested. Social media is so new the only guarantee is that things are going to keep changing.

3. All they talk about is Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. These three make the Golden Trio, but there’s more to social media than that.

Having just released the 2010 Social Media Directory, I think it’s fair to say I’ve learned a little about social media over the last two years. Maybe the biggest lesson has been that even the real “experts” don’t feel like experts – and they’re not calling themselves experts.

Darren Rowse knows a lot about social media and blogging. He has built ProBlogger.net into a highly profitable business, shares tons of information about social media, and still doesn’t call himself an expert. As with most people who are very good at what they do, Darren allows his performance and reputation to speak for him.

When you’re speaking with someone about developing a social media marketing plan, the most important thing is that they be honest.

I’m working with just a few clients to develop their social media marketing plans, and put those plans into action. When we started, I told them my relevant accomplishments as an author, what I’ve done with social media and what we’ll do together.

It ain’t flashy, and there’s no pulling on emotions. It’s just the straight poop, and an honest representation of what I can do. After all, I’m not selling my clients – I’m partnering with them to develop this new marketing channel.

To finish off this post, here are the basics of a good social media marketing plan. It’s what I and my clients are doing, and we’re getting good results. (And yes, we’re measuring.)

1. Start with your blog.

No matter what you do on social media, you need somewhere to send people. Send them to your blog. My recommendation is that you use a self-hosted WordPress blog, and www.usebluehost.com if you need hosting.

A WordPress blog makes a great business website because of its versatility, and you’re always adding fresh content.

2. Use the Golden Trio (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter)

Start with these three, and be sure to join relevant groups on fb & LI. But there’s a lot more to social media than just these three.

Make use of social bookmarking (social news) sites to increase the visibility of your blog content. Use aggregators like OnlyWire and Ping to increase the reach of your content. And use Motionbox or OneTrueMedia for editing video and YouTube for posting it.

3. Build Relationships

Talk about a buzzword! Relationships. But that’s exactly what you’re doing.

You open yourself up, show people what you’re doing and what you’re all about by participating in social media. Ask and answer questions, give advice, show off your hobbies – be a real person and the relationships will build.

4. Measure what you’re doing

The biggest reason you’re not seeing standard rules for measuring success with social media is that there are so many possible uses. When every person using social media can have a slightly different objective, it’s a little tough to lay down rules for measuring success.

So decide what you want to achieve. Take a benchmark reading of where you’re at today, and compare the progress you make against that benchmark.

Thanks for reading. Please post your questions or comments so we can start a conversation. Before you know it, we’ll have a relationship, too.

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