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Social Media Secrets the ‘Experts’ Won’t Tell You

Posted on December 11, 2009 by Tim Schroeder

Because social media is such a new field, anyone with a Twitter account can claim to be an expert. Like any other industry, you have to find a strategy that works for you. Here is some honest feedback on how to conquer the world- and Facebook, too.

1. There ARE no experts.

While there are, of course, some people more qualified to speak on the subject then others, not one of them is an expert. Why? Platforms change daily. Twitter works fantastic for some brands, LinkedIn is best for others. Every expert pitches what’s worked for them; if you’re not following the same business plan with the same goals, it’s probably not going to work for you.

2. Tools to get you thousands of followers don’t pay the bills.

Think really hard about this one. If you sign up for a follower application that automatically gets you 5,000 followers, all you’re getting, is 5,000 people who most likely, are uninterested in what you’re pitching. They’re jumping on the bandwagon because it looks good. Would you rather sell to 500 qualified followers who are genuinely interested in what you have to say, or 5,000 followers who have 4,999 other tweets to read and will likely miss what you have to say.

3. If you want to be SOCIAL, you have to talk…and LISTEN.

There is still a stereotype around social networks that they’re just noise, but look at where you get the vast majority of news and information these days. Are you: Watching tv? Listening to FM radio? Reading CNN stories online?

Face it, if the media thinks there’s a future online, there IS a future ONLINE. You can make fun of what your friends who use Facebook or Twitter to post what they ate for breakfast all day, but to build a business, you have to network. Whether you do that online or off is your call, though both is best. Are you really going to tell me there’s no value to social media platforms when one of the newest has 350 million+ users, or are you just afraid if you take the plunge, no one will want to engage with you?

4. You don’t have to do it all. Just do it.

You shouldn’t sign up for every social network. If you did, there is 100% chance they won’t all work for you (there are social networks dedicated to singles, married individuals, married couples, gay, straight, bi, undecided- are you all of those at once?).

Decide what your goal is. Do you simply want to increase your brand exposure? Do you want to make money directly from your efforts? Do you want to connect with an international audience? Each platform has its own specific purpose(s)- pick the ones that will get you to your goal effectively. Most importantly, just pick one!

5. If you give away freebies, you’ll get more subscribers.

Almost every blog or brand has tried it at some point- hosting a contest with prizes ranging from a toilet wand to a Macbook Pro. Don’t do it unless you’re going to do it right. Pick a sponsor that’s going to fit your audience and their needs, and promote effectively from there.

Also, don’t make the entry barrier too difficult- people are lazy! If you’re asking for an entire blog dedicated to the wonders of clown makeup, you’ll be lucky if you get one reader. Make it as easy as possible for your readers to enter, and plan your ‘sticky’ factor in advance. While most subscribers you get will stick around after the contest is over (lazy, remember?), they’ll eventually drop off if the only thing you post all year is that one contest.

6. Begging.

This is one of my biggest frustrations when it comes to utilizing social networks, and we’ve all witnessed it at some point. You get a DM on twitter, on InMail on LinkedIn, or a comment on your blog: ‘Please RT, share, post, Digg, Stumble, love’

I’m happy to do favors for friends, but if I’ve never encountered you before in real life or the online world, your first interaction shouldn’t be to ask for favors. Unless you’re curing cancer or saving cute animals, don’t bother. Part of the genius of social platforms, which YouTube does a great job of promoting and more people should take advantage of, is the viral factor. If your content is quality and relevant, people will naturally want to share it. If you’re begging for eyeballs, you don’t deserve them.

7. Me, me, me syndrome.

If all your messages consist of ‘I did this, I want that, I love this post, this idea worked great for me…’ you might as well cancel your accounts now. We’ve all had this friend before- they call to ‘check up on you’ and you don’t even finish saying the word hello before they launch into three hours of their soap opera drama. That exists online too, believe it or not.

Remember the SOCIAL in social media. Heck, remember the SOCIAL in conversations and real life engagement, too.

8. You have to give some to get some.

This can also be relevant to the tip above, but let’s face it- if you want to make real money, you have to spend real money. Monopoly dollars don’t work for Facebook ads, and while the IZEA team loves chocolate, gold coin candies aren’t official Sponsored Tweets currency.

If you want to be the next big thing, you have to take some risks. Test some ads for your eBook, bid on some keywords in a new PPC campaign, or promote yourself through a sponsored platform. They won’t all be winners, but no one I’ve met personally has been able to turn water into wine. Think the same way about your product or service.

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16 Responses to “Social Media Secrets the ‘Experts’ Won’t Tell You”

  1. MLDina

    - 11th Dec, 09 05:12pm

    It’s always interesting to see different ideas that not-so-official ‘experts’ try to claim, especially in new fields like social media. You can’t make money from investing nothing! No time, no funding, and no effort = no success.

  2. Tim Schroeder (author comment)

    - 11th Dec, 09 05:12pm

    I agree. Thanks for the re-tweet Dina. 😉

  3. Eric Clickbooth

    - 11th Dec, 09 06:12pm

    Awesome points here Tim. For #9 I would like to add “Passion is NOT overrated”

    The first step in building up a responsive and caring community around your business, blog, or brand is to love what you do with every ounce of your heart and soul.

    A lot of these “experts” will give you all these crazy ideas on how to engage people and make money online and say passion doesn’t matter if you’re bringing in the big bucks/numbers. They couldn’t be FURTHER from the truth.

    If you’re not passionate about what you are doing, chances are, other people won’t be either. It’s very easy to tell when someone is talking about something they love, or doing it just to bring home a paycheck. Plus, having a lack of passion when the going gets tough or things don’t go your way, will make you A LOT more inclined to just give up on it all together.

    Think about what makes you happier than anything else in the world and DO IT. Life is too short to invest your time into doing something you hate.

  4. Låna

    - 12th Dec, 09 01:12pm

    I am wondering, I have noticed that some people “spam” on tweets. (I’m saying spam here loosely since we really don’t want that.) For example someone tweets 5 different things in succession on several occasions. Pretty much that sometimes you tend to lose those tweets other people made coz they are being pushed down fast. Is this how aggressive one should tweet in order to be effective?

  5. Bheem @ Many Money Matters

    - 14th Dec, 09 03:12am

    Very well said. We hear a lot of “do this”, “do that”, “this is the best”, “this works great” and so on. But for someone that is just getting their hands dirty in online business, it is equally important to know what not to do and what doesn’t work. There is a lot of value in such “lessons learned”. This post does a very good job in outlining such factors.

    Thanks a bunch.


  6. Pen Tablet

    - 17th Dec, 09 10:12am

    I must agree that there are no experts yet but there are still some people that know a lot and listening to them could bring more benefits than losses. There are some guys that just spend a lot of time using those tools to make their page traffic satisfying and their knowledge is surely bigger than ours.

  7. Denise Salvaggio

    - 17th Dec, 09 09:12pm

    I couldn’t agree more about point #7. In fact, I devoted a blog post to it titled, Keep Social Media “Social,” which expands on this observation: http://bit.ly/7vXuWg

  8. Joe H

    - 21st Dec, 09 03:12pm

    Great post. The most important point is not to try to do it all. Social media is such a buzz that we try to take part in everything. Pick no more than 3 and then only if you keep focused on your income. As you said followers don’t pay the bills, customers do.

  9. Connie @Murraynewlands.com

    - 24th Dec, 09 04:12am

    My favorite quote is this – “Remember the SOCIAL in social media. Heck, remember the SOCIAL in conversations and real life engagement, too.” Who wants to deal with a bore IRL and online? Not many people. Be considerate and get to know people. Doing business should be much farther down on the list.

  10. Jose Anajero

    - 24th Dec, 09 06:12am

    You said, “There ARE no experts. While there are, of course, some people more qualified to speak on the subject then others, not one of them is an expert. Why? Platforms change daily. Twitter works fantastic for some brands, LinkedIn is best for others. Every expert pitches what’s worked for them; if you’re not following the same business plan with the same goals, it’s probably not going to work for you.”

    For a beginner. though, who can you recommend?

    Many months ago, I joined a membership site of somebody claiming to be THE authority in social media. He showed a sample marketing plan. I was overwhelmed! I could not figure out how he could generate so much traffic without overworking himself to death. Sure there must be an effective and efficient way but unfortunately I wasn’t able to learn it from him (just by joining his membership site).

    Now that somebody who has been in the industry for more than a decade is personally helping me, I now slowly understand the things I was was reading from that membership site. My point is – Books, membership sites etc would overwhelm you. If you’re ordinary like me, then the right mentor is a MUST.

    You also mentioned in your About page “I’m also proud to call myself a Christian. I view my success as an opportunity to help others who may be less fortunate.”. Am happy to see Christians genuinely helping others. My mentor is also a Christian and I count it as a blessing from God.

    Thanks Tim and God bless.


  11. David - Marketing Speaker

    - 25th Dec, 09 03:12am

    We are living in a grand experiment that will take decades to play out fully.

    The Internet is changing every facet of our lives, changing revenue models of many industries and most people don’t even have search marketing strategy right yet, let alone social media – heck many don’t event know the difference!

  12. Eric Goldstein

    - 28th Dec, 09 03:12pm

    Excellent info here… People are so worried
    about building huge list, meanwhile they aren’t
    focusing on building relationships.

    Quality… not quantity! Thank you:)

  13. MNWBlogger

    - 29th Dec, 09 12:12am

    Thanks for the enlightenment. Most people who attempt to market online feel it is not worth the effort unless they can find the secret to turning a quick buck. What ever happened to building a long term successful business?

  14. Reggie Barnett

    - 25th Jan, 10 02:01am

    This makes a lot of sense because different social networks each function differently when it comes to promoting your business. Twitter serves as a easy way to drive traffic, where as facebook is a great way paid ad space.

  15. Social Bookmark

    - 4th Feb, 10 02:02am

    Thanks to the enlightened crowd. Most people who try online marketing are not worth the effort until they can find the secret to roll fast. What ever comes to success in business. long

  16. MLM Wizard

    - 6th Oct, 10 06:10pm

    1. There ARE no experts: GURU = Gee You Are You
    2. Tools to get you thousands of followers don’t pay the bills: Nope they empty your wallet
    3. If you want to be SOCIAL, you have to talk…and LISTEN: God gave you one mouth and two ears use them in direct proportion to the amount given.
    4. You don’t have to do it all. Just do it: Little and often, use the slight edge approach.
    5. If you give away freebies, you’ll get more subscribers: Who doesn’t love a freebie, there is always the unsubscribed link if it becomes bs.
    6. Begging: If its interesting no need to beg. Bring back hanging, drawing and quartering.
    7. Me, me, me syndrome: Connect with others first, although I struggle with the zig zigler phrase ” if you help engough people get what they want your needs will be taken care of” At the end of the day there is no such thing as an Altruistic act.
    8. You have to give some to get some: See number 7.
    Cracking post by the way

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