Does Social Media Actually Sell?

Last week I read an article on Business Week that still has me shaking my head. The article, Social Media Doesn't Sell, by Damien Joseph argues that social media platforms like Twitter, YouTube, Facebook and LinkedIn fail as marketing tools.

The reason for this claim is based on a study that only a tiny percentage of ads and banners on social media sites actually get clicked by visitors.

Well of course not! These marketers are simply slapping an old-school ad on these sites and expecting them to get action. But that's not what social media is about.

Social media takes time and effort to produce results. If you read my comment to this article, you will see that I believe that delivering quality, informative and problem-solving content is a key component to social media marketing.

The vast majority of people go online to get information. They want something to help them solve problems, to help them achieve goals, or to help them make decisions. But simple ads just don't do that. Only good content gives people what they want.

David Meerman Scott, in his book The World Wide Rave, discusses how he surveys his audiences to get a sense of their buying behaviors. Over 80% of them go online to find information before they make an important buying decision. Yet, when they market their own products or services to others, they use old fashioned "interruption marketing" or "push marketing" techniques.

Effective social media marketing cannot be divorced from delivering quality content. Whether this content is your own creation, or whether you simply forward helpful articles or videos created by others, your simple acts of generosity is what builds relationships through social media.

This social media/ content marketing approach is absolutely essential. Your clients want to be educated. But they don't want to be sold to. They are far more responsive to a good article than they are to an ad slapped up on Facebook.

This is certainly not new. "Educational marketing" has been around for a long time. Years before Al Gore ever invented the internet, a few marketers have been willing to take the time to conduct seminars, offer newsletters or even, write books that give information to their marketplace.

These were the enlightened marketers, the few who were willing to take the extra pains to give away information. And by in large, they were rewarded by becoming recognized authorities in their fields.

Whether you do this offline or online, people appreciate the fact that you are willing to invest in them by educating them. The fact that you respect their intelligence shows through and will always get results.

So my stand is that social media does sell - if you play by its rules and understand what its users really want. Create content or give links to others' content, and use social media as the delivery system to get it to your audience.

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10 Sources For Online Article Marketing Content

Sometimes it is just hard to keep coming up with informative content to post online. Yet content marketing is the name of the game. the more articles, videos and other resources you put online, the more traffic will come to your site and the more you will become viewed as an expert in your field.

I found this neat article by Karen Sielski about 10 ideas for coming up with new content, and thought I should pass it along to you.

10 Sources For Online Article Marketing Content
By Karen Sielski

Online article marketing is one of the best ways to generate free online targeted traffic to your website or blog. But what should you write about? Some people worry they don't have anything to write about. The possibilities are really endless. I worry about how I'm going to write about everything I know! There are authors with thousands of articles.

Each and every one of you has valuable information to share. Don't underestimate yourself. And you should be continually learning and increasing your value to others, so you will continually have additional content to share via online article marketing, online videos, your blog, etc.

Here are 10 ideas for getting content for your articles

  1. A product review, book review, system review, etc.

  2. Problems your target market is facing. What are they worried about? Where are their fears? How can you help them be more successful?

  3. Read a book on personal development, online marketing, or other area where you are knowledgeable. Create an outline of the 10 main points in the book. Write an article on each point. You've got 10 articles!

  4. A rant. It's just your personal feeling. Put yourself out there and let your readers get to know you.

  5. Mistakes to avoid.

  6. Information from a training session you attended or taught.

  7. Information from reading other blogs, articles, websites, etc. You definitely don't want to plagerize and copy verbatim, but go out and read various sources on a topic and then create an article with your own unique spin.

  8. Something you heard or read in the news.

  9. Tips on a specific topic.

  10. A story about something that happened to you or that you observed.

There is so much to write about once you get started. Sharing your information via online article marketing is a way of giving back and adding value to your readers. It is one of my favorite activities in my online business.

Online article marketing helps them to get to know you, like you, and trust you. It establishes you as a credible leader that can help others succeed. If you are not currently using article writing in your business, you should seriously consider adding it to your arsenal of free traffic generating strategies.

And now I would like to invite you to claim your FREE ACCESS to "15 Ways To Grow Your Business Online". Just click here to send me an email with the subject "Please send me my free info" and you'll start receiving valuable information that can help you get more traffic to your website or blog and make more money from your visitors.

Karen Sielski is a passionate online wealth builder, using her 20+ years in the high-tech industry to help small businesses, entrepreneurs, and online network marketers successfully grow their businesses online. She has a Masters Degree in Computer Science and owns a successful online business.

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Content Marketing - Think Like a Magazine

I want to begin with a story, but I have to confess up front that while I do recall the details of the story, I just cannot remember the individual’s name who deserves credit for this great idea.

Some time ago I read about the owner of a small magazine which targeted seniors who came upon a brilliant way to sell advertising.

Instead of direct attempts to sell ad space, he began getting speaking engagements to business groups in his city. His topic was “How to market to the senior market.”

His talks were full of ideas like. what seniors needed and wanted, what a business could do to establish trust with seniors, and what distinguishes senior consumers from other customers.

His talks were very well received and he got a lot of advertising business as a result of these speeches, but he did so by delivering information that focused on the needs of the business people he spoke to, not by talking about advertising.

Think for just a moment how most people might have approached the effort to sell advertising or, for that matter, any other product or service. Such a person might have put created talks on subjects like:
  • Effective advertising techniques,
  • Why advertising is necessary to promote a business,
  • Why advertising in a magazine devoted to seniors would be more effective an advertising with other medias,
  • Why his magazine was so much better than other similar magazines,

But fortunately, as I've already mentioned, instead of focusing on what he had to sell, this man focused on his audience (local business people) and their need to market to seniors. He gave them ideas and solutions to help them promote their business.

This came to mind last week after I spoke about content marketing and social media to the Southlake, (Texas) Chamber of Commerce. One of the questions I was asked afterwards came from a C.P.A. who wondered how her “boring” (her words) service, which had so many competitors, could make use of the ideas I had presented.

The short answer that I gave was to focus on her prospective clients, not on what she had to sell. I explained that she should create content about what her target clients want to know, what information they need, what problems they want to solve, what tips and ideas they would be receptive to.

It wasn’t until after the meeting, when I was driving home, that I thought of the gentleman in the story above and magazines in general.

I think more and more marketers are learning to think like magazine publishers. Magazines focus on an audience. Successful magazines take great pains to understand their targeted readers and what they want to learn about, and they write stories to fulfill these wants.

For example, magazines like Redbook, Cosmopolitan, and Ladies Home Journal all target women, but they each target a different niche within the broad readership of women. The present articles that specifically help the individual niches they serve.

Likewise, Sports Illustrated, Mens' Fitness and GQ are all magazines that target men, but they each focus on a unique niche and cater to the interests and needs of their niches. Here too, the articles (ie content) address the interests of their targeted readers.

GQ will not talk about LeBron James, Men's Fitness will not talk about how to select the right wine for an occasion, nor will Sports Illustrated have articles about nutrition.

Which all leads back to what I wish I had said to the C.P.A. yesterday. In her efforts to target her prospective clients and their needs, rather than the services she offered, I would have advised her to create content like a magazine would.

Blogs, for example, are the perfect platform to place such targeted content and also for your audience to find that content. But a truly effective blog, in my mind, is one that focuses on its readers in much the same way as a magazine would. Such a blog would deliver content that underplays what the blogger has to sell, and mostly on what information would help the readers improve critical areas of their lives.

I've begun to call this the "Bill Hurlbut Rule," after a good friend of mine who sells insurance by focusing on delivering content that interests his target clients. His newsletter contains all kinds of information about personal finances, how to network to get a job or to build a business, or how to increase the value of a home.

In other words, Bill delivers content that is not about insurance (although at the bottom of his newsletter, he gives a brief mention of his insurance business). Imagine for a moment if his content was just about how to buy insurance, or what is the right insurance for you, or which companies are more highly rated, etc.

He would quickly have a lot of people hit the "unsubscribe" button. But since he delivers content that solves his prospective clients' problems and needs, his subscriber list grows larger each month.

On Twitter, Bill follows the exact same practice. He seldom sends out information that is about insurance. But you know what? Bill sells a lot of insurance by focusing on his clients rather than on what he wants to sell to people.

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5 Great Social Media Articles - Plus 1 Video - That Will Change Your Life

Ok, maybe they won't really change your life necessarily, but these articles and video might help you do social media a whole lot better.

All of these pieces came to my attention via other Twitter users who generously share quality information. (In other words, these wonderful folks used Twitter generously in order to build relationships by sharing. Which is very much in keeping with the way social media should be used).

  1. The first article is called, Traditional Marketing is like Six Flags, Content Marketing is like the Museum of Modern Art, from Eyecube.

    Traditional marketing is based on a big push, or promotion. It can begin with a media blast that can be like a roller coaster ride for consumers. Exciting one moment, then nothing the next. Sometimes its like eating the cotton candy sold at the midway. No nutritional value, just a sugar rush that soon turns into a crash.

    Social media, on the other hand, is like visiting the museum.

    But what if your marketing program was more like an art museum? What if, instead of putting your consumers on a rollercoaster, you walked them through room after room of deep, contextually-rich content? So much content in fact that most people couldn’t even take it all in in one trip? No long line to ride Colossus, just a leisurely stroll, at your own pace, engaging with the content.

    Now take it to the next level – don’t just let your consumers wander aimlessly, provide them with an audio tour – a podcast if you will – or even better have a docent that can answer any questions (kind of like a Twitter feed). Layer more content on top of the content, further deepening the connection with the consumer.

    Social media relies on delivering content that informs, engages, educates, and provides lasting value to those who consume your content

  2. The next article is 37 Ways to Use Social Media to Market Your Website by Michelle Crossley.

    This article is a treasure trove of wisdom. it contains such valuable information as, "Learn how to NOT ask for 40 pieces of demographic data when giving something away for free. Instead, collect little bits over time. Gently."

    Here are some more excepts:
    • Track your inbound links and when they come from blogs, be sure to comment on a few posts and build a relationship with the blogger. (I sure hope Michelle comments on MY blog).
    • Learn all you can about how NOT to pitch bloggers. Excellent resource: Susan Getgood.
    • Try out a short series of audio podcasts or video podcasts as content marketing and see how they draw.
    • Build community platforms around real communities of shared interest.

  3. Then there is the New York Times article, Tweeting Your Way to a Job, which follows the efforts of Amanda Casgar to land the job of her dreams as a social media specialist for a California winery.

    Along the way, the article explains why companies are creating the position of social media experts, and what the jobs entail.

  4. Chris Garret has forgotten more about social media than most of us ever knew. His recent article, How to Really Use Social Media Marketing as a Tool For Business, is a fine example of his insights.

    He compares entering the social media marketplace to how to behave at a party, such as listen, respond and provide interesting conversation.

    Contrast this to the people who jump onto social media to shout out their sales messages like a party boor who wants to talk about himself and what he's doing. Or worse yet, who uses a social setting to try to sell you something.

  5. Creating Your Social Media Plan, by Lisa Barone, gives some really great advice on how to incorporate social media with a company's existing marketing efforts.

    Such as,
    I tend to believe that for most businesses, marketing is storytelling. It’s about using the tools available to you through social media to pique your customer’s interest and make them invested in who you are. The most successful companies are the ones that have gotten us interested in their story to the point where we want to share it with other people. We want to be associated with them.

  6. Last is a brilliant video by Rob Moore, called The Facebook MLM Attraction Strategy. Yes it is about how to use Facebook to promote a Network Marketing business, but don't let your prejudices prevent you from watching one of the most intelligent explanations of how to use Facebook to market ANY product or service.

    This video shows how to use Facebook as a hub for all your online activities and integrate them to attract new business. Honestly I cannot imagine that you won't pick up several great ideas from this video, regardless of your opinion of network marketers.

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How Local Business Are Using Twitter as a Successful Marketing Tool

Last week I wrote an article about 4 Ways to Find Local Twitter Users, in response to a conversation I had had earlier that week with a business person who didn't see the use of social media tools because his business only targeted local clients.

That article addressed 4 ways to build a list of Twitter followers who were in a local geographic area.

Today I read an article that talked about how local businesses are successfully using Twitter to make their cash registers ring. The article, Twitter Proves Its Worth as a Killer App for Local Businesses, gives a couple of quick case studies of how some local businesses ( a pizza restaurant and a frozen yogurt chain) send out tweets to get immediate responses.

They make use of the fact that Twitter is in real time. The people who respond can take advantage of offers not available anywhere else. Moreover, the pizza restaurant, which targets Twitter users within a 3 mile radius of their store, tracks how many of its sales come from Twitter, so they can measure their ROI.

Check out Twitter Proves Its Worth as a Killer App for Local Businesses to read the case studies and get some great ideas for your venture.

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Approaching Blogs For Publicity or Story Ideas - A Comment on Darren Rowse's Article

Practically everyone knows how valuable favorable publicity can be to your business, personal brand or product. Not only is publicity free, but it comes with the added credibility of a third-party endorsement.

What is less understood is the fact that publicity from blogs may produce an even greater benefit than from traditional media outlets like newspapers, magazines, radio and television.

There are several reasons for this. The first is that stories appearing in blogs can generate "buzz" more easily and quickly than traditional media stories. These stories can be emailed, submitted to social bookmarking sites like Digg or Delicious, or they may spawn follow up stories in other blogs.

Moreover, many traditional media journalists rely on blogs as their sources for the stories they write. It is not uncommon for stories to gain traction on the blogospere before they begin to appear on traditional media.

Which all leads to the question of how to get your story to appear on a few well-read blogs? Do the same PR rules apply when submitting story ideas and press releases to blogs as they do to submitting them to the Wall Street Journal or your local radio talk show?

In response to these questions, I'm going to refer you to a recent article by Darren Rowse in his Problogger blog. If you are not familiar with Darren Rowse and Problogger, I will just say that it is one of the most influential blogs on the blogosphere and Darren is one of the key thought leaders in the industry.

The article is How to Pitch to Bloggers - 21 Tips and I think you will find it to be a very useful tool for submitting story ideas to bloggers.

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“Lethal Generosity” – The Coin of the Realm in Social Networking

I just re-read a great article that Shel Israel wrote in October 2008 called, Using Lethal Generosity in Social Media, and decided I had to write about it.

Shel defines “lethal generosity” as:
…the concept that the most generous members of any social media company are the most credible and influential and as such, they can devastate their competition in the marketplace.

In short, the company whose representative posts the most tips, links, advice, case studies, best practices that followers find useful will always rise to the top, not just in influence but also in search results. The more outbound links you post, the more inbound links you are likely to receive.

If you read this blog regularly, you have probably heard me talk about “creating useful, problem-solving information” until you are in a near-nauseous stupor. But it is still a concept few business people are able to grasp.

Another frequently-used term for this is “content marketing.”

This came to mind this week when I was talking about social media with a lady who attends one of my networking groups here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. She is a great, and “lethally generous” networker who is constantly looking for ways to add value, regardless of whether the person she is giving to could ever be a possible client for her firm.

She freely shares information, ideas, resources, and referrals. Moreover, she is a walking commercial for me and other business contacts she feels could help people she knows.

But she is frustrated because someone she works with “doesn’t get it.” When this colleague shares information, it always comes across as a promotion for their company. In fact he never offers tips and ideas without mentioning his own organization.

The focus is always on him and his earnings, rather than on what problems the person needing this information wants to solve.

Here’s are the all important Golden Rule question:
  • Are you giving to others with the expectation that they will or may give back to you?
  • Are you willing to help others who are in no position to ever help you back?
  • Are you so concerned that your competitors might see your information, that you withhold it from the people who really need to receive it?

The example that Shel Israel writes about in his article is of Jeremiah Owyang, who at the time worked for Hitachi Data Systems, a leading company in the data storage industry. He created a wiki to help everyone in the industry – customers, vendors, press, and even competitors.

The wiki became a huge success within their industry. But it was an act of pure generosity. As Shel puts it:
People came to the wiki and discussed ideas and concerns. They answered each other's questions. Any vendor could jump into any discussion. Hitachi never tried to dominate the conversation, but merely participated just like any other data storage vendor.

It had a generic name with no mention to HDS. But it was usually referred to in conversations. People knew that Hitachi was behind this preemptive act of generosity. Throughout the community, the wiki was called the "Hitachi Wiki." Hitachi was recognized as the thought leader.

This is an example of "lethal generosity." Every time a competitor joined into the wiki conversation, it re-enforced Hitachi's leadership. If it did not join in, it was visibly boycotting a place customers found valuable. Lethal.

Let me also point out that providing such content is a basic building block of establishing a personal brand. You can become known as the leader in your field just because you were lethally generous.

What can you do to practice Lethal Generosity? What information and ideas does your target audience want? What problems do they need to solve (even if the solutions are not services that put money in your pocket)?

When you provide valuable, free content that solves problems, you are practicing lethal generosity and will become the most credible and influential members of your social community.

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4 Ways to Find Local Twitter Users

Earlier this week I was discussing social media marketing, specifically Twitter and Facebook, at a business networking group. One gentleman objected to social media because he can only work with people who live in our geographic area.

He felt that since social media platforms reach far beyond the borders of our city of Fort Worth, they offered very little value to him.

The first flaw with this reasoning is that good networking often pays off in unexpected ways. I have seen many local businesses attract new clients and referrals from far away connections. You simply never know who your contact in Boston might know in your own backyard.

But the other, and greater, flaw is that this mindset assumes that social networking is all about me and what I can get from a relationship.

My friend should look at geography and ask who he can help others regardless of where they live. That is the true test of networking, not looking at how we can gain a benefit, or who can do something for us, but at how and who we can help, regardless of whether they can immediately do something for us.

When we extend our help, we will surely gain. And when we extend our help outside our own borders, we put ourselves in position to gain a great deal. It is the "casting bread on the waters" concept. It just simply works.

But having said all that, it often does make a lot of since to build a hefty portion of your social media contacts in your local area. These are certainly people who are more likely to know others in the same geographic area.

Which leads me to a second conversation I had this week. This conversation was with my friend and fellow Twitter user Bill Hurlbut (aka @billhurlbut). He showed me several ways to find local people to network with on Twitter.
  1. Twibes is a site that allows you to find all kinds of Twitter groups, including groups that are local.
  2. Twellowhood is a sub category within that specifically targets local Twitter users.
  3. Nearby Tweets is another way to find local Twitter users.
  4. Finally Bill suggested another of the brilliant ideas he is known for. He looks up local newscasters on Twitter and digs into the people who follow him or her. He reasons that most of the people who would follow this person would live locally. He does the same thing with the local weather man/woman, because he again assumes that the primary following for these people would be local.

Now I have a hunch that I am just looking at the tip of the iceberg here. If anyone else could suggest other resources for finding local Twitter users (fondly known as "Twits") please leave your comments for us.

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Why You Must Create a Personal Brand

Whether you are seeking to attract new clients or get a new job, building your own personal brand is job #1. Using social media tools like blogs, Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn, you can create new content that informs your target audience and draws them to you.

In this video, I discuss how to build your own personal brand by creating content.

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12 Ways to Merge Your Online Social Media Networking With Your Offline Networking

Networking online with social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are great, but it seldom pays off for you or the people you network with until it transitions to the offline world.

By the same token, you probably have a number of offline contacts that are not contacts online. If you can help these people to start using and benefitting from social media networking, they will be very grateful and will regard you as someone who has added value to their efforts.

Here are some ideas that may help you extend your online social networking into part of your offline network:

  1. Send snail mail. Despite our technical age, everyone loves greeting cards and hand-written thank you notes. Facebook, for example, lists your contacts’ birthdays, so be sure to put them in a tickler file to remind yourself.

  2. If you have a collection of your best blog articles, make hard copies and have them bound. You can send them to offline contacts to encourage them to follow you online. And you can offer them to your online contacts as a way to get their addresses.

    These bound blog articles can be a great intro piece to prospective employers. Unlike 99% of other mail they receive, no one will throw a book or booklet away if it contains valuable information.

  3. Put your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn IDs on your business cards and stationary just as you do your website and email address. Point them out when you meet people. Chances are they've heard about Twitter, etc., but aren't on using them yet. Explain how it can help them and "recruit" them to join your social media network as well as your offline network.

  4. Organize or attend “Tweetups” as a way to meet with other Twitter users who live in your local area. Not only will personal contact solidify your existing relationships, you will also get the opportunity to meet new contacts.

  5. Whenever you have a speaking opportunity, mention how you are using social media. Even if you just mentioned it in passing, you will be asked about it later. this will provide you with more opportunities to cross "pollinate" your online and offline contacts.

  6. Another offline event you can organize or attend is a Meetup. Check out for local events of interest, or else organize your own. Then you can announce it on Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

  7. Organize free teleconferences with your contacts to discuss areas of interest. Sure it’s not as powerful as meeting them face to face, but hearing their voices still creates more personal relationships.

  8. Look for ways to add value or send free stuff to your online contacts. If you value the person enough, you may purchase a book to send them or copy an article from a print publication. If you are writing a book, you may send them a draft for their input or to review on their own blogs. If they do write a review, be sure to send them a final copy once it is published.

  9. Almost all of your online contacts have an agenda. They are either seeking a new job or they want to attract new business. How can you help them achieve their goals? Can you “match make” them with some of your offline contacts? Can you offer to hand deliver a resume to someone you know offline?

  10. Attend big seminars or events like the annual Austin, Texas “South By Southwest” event. Send emails to your contacts before you go and make arrangements with them to meet while attending the event.

  11. Participate in causes. A lot of people who identify with the Democratic Party in the U.S. made invaluable contacts and friends by working together to get Obama elected. But there are other causes you can either organize or support with your friends online.

  12. Clippings of offline publications is not a lost art. Recently I saw a review of Pam Slim’s (aka @pamslim) book in my local newspaper. She was delighted to receive the clipping in the mail.

    Because clipping and mailing something takes more effort than forwarding something by email, a lot of your online friends will appreciate your extra effort for them. Harvey Macay, the author of “Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive,” built a multi-million dollar business by remembering his customers’ alma maters and favorite teams and sending them clippings.

Networking, whether online or offline, follows the same rules. The more you give, the more you will receive.

Be prepared to give more than you receive and constantly look for ways to add value to your contacts.

After all, the goal is to turn contacts into friends.

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How to Write a Great Blog Article Even if You Hate to Write

I am constantly stressing to my clients the urgency of creating content on the web as a means of building a personal brand and attracting new business.

Why? Well think of how you go about buying a new product or service. Chances are that if the price of such a purchase is large enough or if it is important enough, you go online to find out information. Studies of buyer behavior show that 80% of all significant purchases begin with a Google search.

So it should go without saying that if this is how you go about spending your own money, your potential clients will act the same way.

But what if you hate to write, feel you are not a good writer or just don't have the time to write?

Here is a tip that I use when I want to write a good article fast:

Instead of writing statements, write questions. I have found that I can fill up a page with questions in a fraction of the time it takes me to write a page of regular text.

If you write out 2 to 5 questions on your topic, then all you have to do is write an answer to each question. It is a really, really fast way to write a quality article. The questions form the framework or outline, but it is always easier to answer questions than it is to come up with and explanation of something.

Questions have a way of focusing the mind. The mind loves questions and will work much more efficiently if you frame what you want to communicate in this format.

Try this idea next time you are stuck for ideas or hit the wall of a bad case of writer's blog. You will be very pleasantly surprised. I promise.

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Target Marketing For Social Media Tribes

Every marketer knows that targeting a narrow niche of potential customers produces better results than “shot gun” marketing that targets no identifiable group. But usually target marketing is translated to mean targeting a demographic(age, gender, education, income, etc.)

However a different way of targeting is to target a group by affiliation or interests. This is why, for example, sports teams market their jerseys or banners across a broad spectrum of demographics. Their fans cannot be grouped by age, gender, and so forth, it is their common interests that set them apart. They are a Tribe, not a demographic group.

This all came to mind when I read, or actually re-read, an article in called, “Building Complementary Services: A Powerful Long-Term Social Media Marketing Strategy.” by Maki.

Users of various social media platforms are tribes also, and can be almost as fanatical in their devotion to their platform as any sports fan. Some are Digg users, some are Facebook groupies and others proudly label themselves as “Twits.”

And all these social media tribes are looking for ways to enhance their experience using their social media platform of choice. As Maki says,

A powerful social media marketing strategy is to create a service, tool, system which perfectly complements, facilitates and improves each individual users experience of the specific social website. Think of the features that unite them and the problems that frustrate them. This creation must be almost indispensable and extremely useful to a very broad audience.

To a degree, I experienced this last week with my article called, 62 Twitter Marketing Tips and Ideas. It was probably my most popular article ever, it was tweeted and retweeted all weekend and received more hits than anything I’ve ever written for this blog.

Other factors for making it popular are probably the fact that it was a list (an extremely popular format for any type of article) and the fact that its title indicated it was a long list (which told the reader that it contained a lot of information). Moreover, as it got retweeted, it took on social proof because people saw that others were saying kind things about my information (for which I thank all of you who made such kind comments).

Maki uses the example of the teenage millionaire, Ashley Qualls, who created a site that offered free layouts for MySpace users. Ashley targeted the tribe of fellow teenage girls who were MySpace fanatics like herself. She created background designs that enhanced their experience of using the platform, and in so doing reaped millions of advertising dollars from companies that wanted to reach that group as well.

It all comes back to quality content. But in this case, quality content that certain social media tribes find indispensable.

What types of content can you create for such a tribe? It can be a service or tool to make the users’ experience better, or it can be an article that shows them how to gain more friends and contacts, or it can be a how-to video that solves a vexing problem.

The point of all this is that such a tribe is a group well worth targeting if you can deliver what they want and need.

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34 Content Marketing Articles and Resources

  1. Content Marketing Defined + Top 10 Ways to Fail at It Patsi Krakoff says, "Content marketing's agenda is to educate and inform customers and prospects. Content Marketing's slogan is - 'Don't pitch. Don't sell. Don't interrupt. Educate, inform and provide value to customers and prospects. Your business will grow.'"

  2. Talking Content a blog devoted to content marketing.

  3. New Content Creates New Business - Guaranteed Recession Buster another blog devoted to content marketing.

  4. Public Relations and Content Marketing a fascinating and insightful article about how content marketing has emerged as the new PR.

  5. The Most Powerful Way to Presell Any Product or Service Dosh Dosh is one of the most consistent sources of great ideas on the web. This article is one of the best.

  6. Building Complementary Services: A Powerful Long-Term Social Media Marketing Strategy Another Dosh Dosh article with excellent advice on content marketing.

  7. 50 Content Ideas that Create Buzz This is really a great source of useable content marketing ideas by Valeria Maltoni.

  8. 10 Most Popular Content Marketing Today Posts of 2008 A round up of great articles on the topic written in 2008.

  9. Content Marketing Reading List Four recommended sources of content marketing.

  10. 6 Ways Content Marketing Can Help You Survive the Recession A six-step roadmap for companies seeking to start or increase content marketing.

  11. 11 Essential Content Marketing Insights from 2008 Custom Content Conference This is a really insightful article on content marketing.

  12. Need Content Marketing Ideas? Check This Out. Joe Pulizzi, who writes the blog Junta42, has compiled this list of 42 blogs that really add value to those who are interested in this topic.

  13. The Five Pillars of Content Marketing - The Ultimate Definition Speaking of Joe Pulizzi’s blog, this article may be the best on this list.

  14. The Steven Wright Guide to Content Marketing Time out for a little humor. Brian Clark’s article in Copyblogger uses some of comedian Steven Wright’s classic lines to share insights into content marketing.

  15. Content Marketing Strategy Trumps a Search Marketing Strategy A discussion of how content marketing attracts traffic compared to classic SEO techniques.

  16. How to Succeed at Content Marketing Even if Your Content Skills Suck A case made for consistent creation of quality content.

  17. The Ten Commandments of Content Marketing Kat French adds her insights to this topic.

  18. Free ebook: How To Turn Prospects Into Customers With Content Marketing A very good ebook that you really need to download.

  19. The Three Essentials of Breakthrough Content Marketing Sonia Simone shows how giving great content helps people like you and trust you.

  20. Why Content Marketing Is Becoming the New Public Relations Newt Barrett shares some insights on how PR has to adapt to the new social media. This includes a great slide show by Joe Pulizzi.

  21. 3 + 1 Bonus Content Marketing Posts You Don't Want to Miss Patsi Krakoff shares three blogs on content marketing that she reads and loves.

  22. 4 Content Marketing Essentials for Every Business Another very insightful article from Junta42.

  23. Content Marketing Is More User Friendly for Website Traffic Another comparison of how content marketing compares to SEO.

  24. 16 Questions to Ask Before Launching a Content Marketing or Custom Publishing Project A great guide to planning and implementing a content marketing project.

  25. Content Is King, But What Is It Really? After all this, what is content marketing? Junta42 tells us.

  26. Want Customer Loyalty? Create Customer Wins with Content Here’s a quote that sums this article up and shows why you should read it: “You are delivering something—anything—that makes you indispensable to your customer's success."

  27. Corporate Content Will Take Over Media As We Know It As David Meerman Scott fans know, businesses are now in the content creation business, whether they realize it or not.

  28. Powerful Brand Built by Great Content Marketing from UK Law Firm, Pinsent Masons As a former lawyer who tells every law firm who will listen that content marketing is the way to go, this article delights me. This is really a great case study.

  29. 8 tips to make your YouTube video go viral David Meerman Scott explores why some videos gain world wide viewerships and others don’t.

  30. Content Marketing - The Ultimate Cheat Sheet Ambal Balakrishnan answers the questions: “What is Content Marketing?” “Why should I care about Content Marketing?” “Where do I get started?” and “How do I apply “Content Marketing” concepts in creating and marketing White Papers or Ebooks?”

  31. Top Ten Reasons Why Your Content Marketing Strategy Fails Valeria Maltoni helps those who are steeped in old-school marketing tactics understand what they need to do differently in the new media environment.

  32. 49 Creative Ways You Can Profit From Content Marketing Another must read from Copyblogge on how to profit from your content.

  33. Seth Godin: "Content Marketing is the Only Marketing Left" and 10 New Marketing Lessons Seth Godin may be the Solomon of modern marketing. This article shows you why.

  34. The Medium is the Message: Five Music Marketing Ideas That Could Pay Dividends Now Written primarily for marketing music, but the applications are just as true for any content marketers.

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62 Twitter Marketing Tips and Ideas

Be Generous

  1. Promote other people and their content more than you promote yourself and your content.
  2. Retweet good content submitted by others.
  3. But, retweet sparingly and selectively. You will be known by what you tweet about, so only pass along quality content that adds value to your followers.
  4. Participate in #followfriday each week to tell your followers about people you follow who tweet quality. #followfriday is weekly event which, surprise, occurs each Friday in which people tell other people on Twitter about someone they find especially informative and helpful.
  5. Be selective about who you recommend on #followfriday.
  6. Thank others for retweeting and #followfriday you.
  7. Be a friend. Compliment others on good work, and good content. Earn friendship with your generosity.
  8. Read your contacts’ blogs and websites. Nothing communicates that you are only interested in yourself more than by acting as if other peoples’ content is unimportant. On the other hand, you can score lots of points by demonstrating that you have actually visited and read their sites.
  9. Whenever possible introduce one person you follow to someone else that can help their business.
  10. While retweeting and tweeting about content created by others is generous and a good way to build relationships, you must also have your own content to tweet about. Without your own, original content, you are not building a personal brand.
  11. Occasionally, tell all your followers about one person you follow who adds a lot of value. Devote your tweet to explaining why you recommend this one person. Unlike #followfriday, this is an unexpected, unsolicited random act of kindness that will surprise the person you recommend.

    Be Informative
  12. Find and create valuable, informative content.
  13. Subscribe to Google Alerts to get updates on new web content related to your subject matter and keywords.
  14. If you use Digg to bookmark good articles, look at the other submissions related to yours. I often find some really good material to tweet about this way.
  15. Set up RSS feeds to read some of the best bloggers in your field so you can both promote them and share their quality content with others.
  16. Start using YouTube as a search engine to find tutorials on just about any topic. These videos can be great content to send to your followers. Plus you will also encounter people who are creating content on a topic that interests you.
  17. When you find someone who creates quality content on your topic, look at their old blog posts for quality content to share with your followers.
  18. Another way to find blogs on your topic is to search For example if your topic is scrapbooking just type and you will find a lot of blogs devoted to the subject of scrapbooking.
  19. You will build your brand upon the content you freely distribute. The more content you give away, the more people will be drawn to you.
  20. Cultivate “evangelists.” If you consistently deliver quality content, you will attract evangelists who will retweet and blog about your content. If one of these people forms a bond with you based on the content, they will share you with their followers.
  21. Whenever you retweet, leave the other person’s shortened URL intact. Many times they will be trying to track how many times that link is clicked and your good intentions of using a different URL will mess up their count.
  22. Ask for retweets, and say “please.” Studies have shown that just asking for retweets and saying please increases your “retweetability” many times.
  23. It should go without saying that if you do not retweet others’ content, you will fail miserably when you ask others to retweet your content. (I believe the technical term for such a person is “jerk”).
  24. Ask for retweets sparingly. Only ask when you produce very good content.
  25. Use a shortener like or to shorten your URLs.  allows you to track the number of times your shortened link is opened.

    Use Tweetdeck
  26. Use to organize your Twitter activities.
  27. Create a new column on Tweetdeck for the “A List” people you follow based on their consistent quality content. This separates the people you find informative from the people who just want to tell you they just washed their car.
  28. On the other hand, be sure to read a fair number of the non “A-Listers” as you will find some that you will want to promote to your A List.
  29. You can create additional columns for any group you wish to follow and separate from the rest of the conversations going on among your Twitter contacts.
  30. Create a column on Tweetdeck that tracks every time your Twitter ID is mentioned. This will help you track retweets, #followfridays and every other instance you are mentioned on Twitter.
  31. Tweetdeck will also allow you to post messages to your Facebook wall.
  32. Create additional columns on Tweetdeck to track all the important keywords and #hashtags you want to follow.

  33. Give more than you expect to get. Send at least 3 or 4 informative tweets about content created by someone else for every one tweet about yourself.
  34. Don’t spam on Twitter. Followers can (and will) unfollow you fast. They can even block you, which may influence Twitter to ban you.
  35. Develop an expertise related to a specific subject matter. Don’t be intimidated by the idea of calling yourself an expert. If you read and create content such as blog articles and/or YouTube videos, you will soon establish your expertise.
  36. Twitter is a great preselling tool, but it is not all that great as a selling tool. When you want to send people to a product sales page, do so indirectly and let them opt in. Don’t send them directly to a sales page, instead send them to a blog article, Squidoo lens or video in which you explain why you personally endorse the product or why you created the product. THEN you can allow visitors to click a link to your sales page to find out more.
  37. If you don’t follow the above step, people will think you are spamming them.
  38. Put your Twitter ID on your blog, website, Facebook page, LinkedIn page, business cards and any other place your potential audience might see it.

    Use Hash Tags
  39. Use #hashtags to track key phrases and to allow other to track your tweets on these subjects. According to, hashtags are “A community-driven convention for adding additional context and metadata to your tweets. They're like tags on Flickr, only added inline to your post. You create a hashtag simply by prefixing a word with a hash symbol: #hashtag.”
  40. When you use hashtags, your tweets will often reach a broader audience than just your followers. Anyone who is tracking that particular hashtag on Tweetdeck will see your tweet and may retweet your message and may even become a follower. Pay attention to people who frequently tweet about a hashtag topic that interests you and follow them.
  41. Search hashtags for tags similar to the ones you are focusing on. This will expose you to new information and new people you may never have encountered otherwise.

  42. Occasionally, create informative videos to tweet about. This way people see your face and hear your voice, allowing them to form an even closer tie with you.
  43. Try to cross-network with people on as many fronts as you can. Try to get your Twitter followers to become subscribers to your blog’s RSS feed, friends on Facebook, or contacts on LinkedIn. Also include your friends on Pinterest, Instagram or any other social media sites you are active on.
  44. Use every possible occasion to meet your Twitter friends in person. Form or attend local “Tweetups,” events in which Twitter users get together to meet in person.
  45. Find local Twitter users on
  46. is also a great site to look up Twitter users by subject matter.
  47. Use attention-getting headlines to get your tweets opened. List articles like “7 Ways to …” or “how to” articles are always popular and consistently get more clicks.
  48. Your goal for being on Twitter (or any other social media platform) is to create conversations. You can’t do this if your tweets are just old-school marketing shoutings to anyone and everyone.
  49. Try to find people who share common interests with you to follow based on keywords they use. Often when you follow someone, they will follow you in turn. Furthermore, if you tweet quality, they will then retweet your content and you will attract some of their followers as well.
  50. Look for the "rock stars" in your field to follow on Twitter. They may not follow you in turn right away, but if you tweet about them and their content often enough, you will get their attention.
  51. When you find "rock stars" in your field, drill down and look at the people they follow to find more people interested in the same things. If you build connections with people they follow, you may find yourself on their radar with Twitter.
  52. Twitter is just one tool among many. Promote your content on several fronts. Integrate your Twitter efforts with your Facebook, LinkedIn pages, YouTube and your blog.
  53. Keep ALL of your content, including old content, working for you. With Twitter there is never a reason to let your old content get stale. Suppose you have a very good article or video on your blog that has fallen off the radar. By tweeting links to your old content, even your old content will continue to get traffic.
  54. Track you @ replies. The more you make personal replies to people you meet on Twitter, the more followers you will attract. More than retweets or one-off tweets, replies will engage others in conversations and engagement. This is the very best way to build relationships on Twitter and, in the process, build your followers the right way.
  55. Tweet often. Excluding people who are already famous outside the world of Twitter, the rule of thumb is that those who have a lot of followers are generally those who have posted a lot of updates. The more you tweet, the more people find you and follow you.
  56. Learn to "listen" on Twitter to find out what others are tweeting about. It is a good way to spot trends as they are just beginning. The top trends are now posted on the right side of your Twitter page.
  57. Don’t quit on Twitter. A lot of people quit because they don’t “get it” or see it as a waste of time. Here’s a secret: none of us “got it” right away, but after a while Twitter gives you a huge advantage in the marketplace.
  58. Listen and learn. If you are tweeting more than you are reading and clicking the tweets that come to you, you are missing out. Twitter can become the greatest learning resource you’ve ever experienced.
  59. Remember that when you use Twitter, you are still networking, just as if you were networking in the offline world. The rules are still: Be generous, add value, make friends, give more than you expect to get and follow up.
  60. Follow a lot of people. I’ve already advised you to follow selectively and choose people with whom you share common interests. Now I’m advising you to reach beyond your comfy little niche and follow people with very different interests. Why? Because it will enrich your life and you will learn about things you would never have learned otherwise. And, you will occasionally learn something from one of these people that can be applied to your own field.

p>If you like this article, follow me on Twitter.
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NOT USING NON-SPAM EMAIL MARKETING FOR YOUR BUSINESS YET? Learn why email marketing is the easiest, most effective and most affordable way to get new clients. Download my free ebook and receive tips, ideas and case studies to help you get more new customers at
COPYRIGHT © 2009, Charles Brown
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