Social Media – Is it really “Free” advertising?

Everyone is hopping on the social media train.  I’m not saying it’s really a bad thing, but one of the big misconceptions out there is that marketing over social media is a form of “free advertising”.

The truth is, just like any other form of marketing, in order to get the most out of it you will want to invest plenty of time and employ a good strategy.

I cant tell you how many times I have seen small business owners jump right in and join all the social networks they can, start “friending” or “following” everyone they know (and a lot of others they don’t) then start sending out a rash of sales pitches, only to find themselves being ignored or blocked altogether from those same people they went out of their way to connect with.

We’ll start to post some more suggestions for social media going forward, but here is a great starting tip:  Figure out where your people are and which networks really can help you grow your business.  Then contribute.  Don’t try to sell.  Just try to help.

Also, make sure you set aside enough time for the networks that you sign up for.  I would say at least 15 minutes in both the morning and the afternoon to answer any questions or concerns across all of your networks.  Even as you answer questions – keep it on topic and keep the sales pitch to a minimum.  Of course you can pitch your service or product from time to time, but make sure it is on topic.  Remember – the trick to social media is to build relationships.

Until you can hire someone to manage your social networks for you, focus on whatever works best for you and manage your time wisely.  You will be surprised at how well the practice of “not selling” can actually help you increase sales.

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About the Author

Though his chief ambition is to one day control the entire Internet, Jim busies himself in the meantime running our little web development and marketing agency. He's a certified super nerd who ranks coding in old, outdated languages and watching Star Trek reruns just a bit too high on his list of fun things to do. Outside of work, Jim enjoys Hockey (Tampa Bay Lighning, to be specific), more genres of music than most people realize exist, riding his Harley (he calls it "two wheel therapy") and exploring the world through travel.