(NOTE — This is the first post in a series on social network marketing.)
Many network marketers (and marketers in general) have tried to use social networking to market their products. And they failed. Failed miserably.
As a result, many in MLM have written off social networking. Given up. Not worth the time, they say.
Good news. They’re wrong.
They’re wrong mostly because they tried to take traditional marketing methods and somehow graft them onto social networking. Even worse, some took traditional network marketing methods that don’t work and transplanted them into social networking.
Charles Heflin, the founder and CEO of SEO 20/20, has expertly pointed out how many businesses mistake social media networking initiatives for social media marketing campaigns. These businesses try to market their products and services in places better suited to social networking.
Heflin says he starts social media marketing campaigns from his blog. He syndicates the content, which greatly enhances its visibility, and then networks with prospects that come to the blog.
Instead of trying to network with hundreds, maybe even thousands, of people who may or may not be prospects, Heflin spends his time networking with people who have responded to his marketing campaign.
It’s like fishing in a small lake with only the fish you want rather than fishing in a huge lake filled with all kinds of fish.
Network marketers would do well to take note of Heflin’s strategy and his success.
Many in MLM cast too wide a net. They dive into Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube and other sites looking for prospects. These network marketers are under the mistaken impression that the more people they market to, the better off they are.
In this and other ways, the missteps in social network marketing mirror errors made in traditional MLM efforts. Many network marketers are still taught to think of “anyone who breaths” as a prospect. They are taught the infamous “three-foot rule” — to present their business opportunity to anybody within three feet of them.
Many network marketers wrongly think the busyness of all their social networking efforts will pay off in their business. Then they wonder why hundreds of Facebook friends and thousands of Twitter followers don’t translate to a growing downline.
The reason is simple. MLM is at its heart a relationship business. People tend to get into business with people they know, like and trust. Sending “join my business” invitations to thousands of people does not communicate your openness, likeability or trustworthiness.
Others in MLM take a different approach, marketing their products or services on social networks largely populated by family members and close friends.
Old friends who want to know how you’ve been and family members looking forward to the next reunion don’t want to hear a sales pitch or even a low-key business presentation.
Networkers who prey on friends and family members are a big reason MLM has such bad reputation. When they meet someone new, they automatically think of them as a prospect, not a friend.
Hitting up friends and family doesn’t work despite the general inclination to join people you know, like and trust. This is because friends and family members see the business pitches as an abuse of the trust you had with them.
So sending marketing messages to friends on social networks is a wrong strategy poorly implemented.
OK, we know what doesn’t work. So what does work?
Glad you asked. Here are 10 social network marketing strategies that work. They will be further explored in future posts.
1. Build relationships. You can’t do that everywhere. You can meet people in various places, but it’s important for them to be where you can get to know each other better. That place is your blog.
2. Find the reason you’re in business and share it with others. Share what makes you do what you do. Tell people what’s important to you. Then help other people discover what’s important to them. Make your blog about you, not about your business. Provide valuable content.
3. Help people. Earn their trust. Show them the path to success. People should learn their own way. Interact with them on your blog. When you see they have a need, offer to help.
4. Don’t sell. Care about people. There’s an old saying that’s true here — people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Don’t make your blog or your other relationships about selling. Nine out of 10 people will be immediately turned off if you try to sell them.
5. Approach people where they are. Learn about different personalities. Look at their profiles. Learn about them. Pay attention to the way they interact with you. Then help them get what they want. Don’t try to manipulate them. Just help them.
6. Be up front about your business. Don’t hide what you’re doing. When they ask what you do, tell them. Consider what they’re thinking. Let them get to know you. Let them know, like and trust you. If they’re interested in joining you, help them believe they can do it.
7. Once they join, be sure you have a simple system for them to follow. Show them what you do and teach them how to do it.
8. Take advantage of the advantages you have. These days everyone is looking for ways to “monetize” their blog. They want to know how they can make money on the Internet. You know how. Show them. They’ll join you.
9. Don’t just show people how to make money. Show them how to live. Teach people how to think, not what to think. If you’re opportunity is right for them, they’ll join you. Build a community made up of people who are your business partners and others who just like your blog.
10. Stay focused on your business. Concentrate on your blog — the place where you can network with people. Don’t get sidetracked by money-making schemes that come along. Don’t fall for the myth of multiple streams of income. You’re in this for the long haul. It’s your business. That provides your income. Specialize in it.
Those who are truly great at what they do have a die-hard commitment to it. Find your thing. Commit to it. Blog about it. Make it your business.