The Quest for Social Marketing’s Holy Grail – By Larry Bailin

by FeedFront Staff on March 1, 2010

Social networking giant Facebook recently surpassed Wikipedia as the fourth largest Web site in the world while micro-blogging powerhouse, Twitter, reportedly handled 5,000 tweets per minute when the king-of-pop passed. These announcements have businesses scrambling to social Web sites like they were, well, the Holy Grail of marketing success.

Here’s the thing about finding the Holy Grail: what do you do once you’ve found it? Companies large and small, although excited over the promise of social marketing, often have no idea what to do in this new and unfamiliar space.

Certainly, there is no shortage of social marketing gurus, experts and even ninjas (yes ninjas), but you can’t rely solely on these social Sherpa’s to achieve true success in your social quest.

A good or even average social media consultant can help you traverse an unforgiving social terrain by creating a sound social media strategy and implementing best practices.  

However, you can only be catapulted to success if you have something worth flinging into the air.

Success is imminent when you realize that the knowledge necessary to succeed, no matter the marketing vehicle, comes from within. You have intimate knowledge of your offerings. You understand your customer’s wants and needs as they relate to your services.

Most importantly, you know how to speak to a customer, and that is what will ultimately deliver success in the social space.

 Let the gurus obsess over the perfect formula of Re-Tweets to Tweets and which shortened URL gets clicked the most.  You need to spend more time strategizing the creation of valuable dialogue.

Study your customer’s wants and needs, misconceptions and objections, then create shareable contributions that educate and subtly entice. Contributing, educating and subtly enticing – sounds a lot like selling. Despite popular opinion selling is not a bad thing.

There is nothing wrong with using social media to attract and convert customers, just learn to sell in a friendly non-disruptive way. Learn to join the conversation as opposed to interrupting it. You have to sell without selling.

You may be asking, how do you sell without selling? Let me share a little secret with you: it’s not so much a secret as an often overlooked resource.

 I’m frequently asked to recommend books on social marketing. There’s no shortage of books about the intricacies of Facebook and Twitter, but the greatest book ever written on achieving success in the social space was written 70+ years ago.

In my opinion, Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is the Holy Grail, the secret to social nirvana. This book teaches you to speak, think and write with the intent to persuade. Carnegie’s book teaches you to think like a customer and provide value in order to evoke a desired outcome.

Social websites and ninjas come and go. When you master the skills to think like a customer and subtly entice, your next quest for marketing’s Holy Grail will be a short crusade.  You’ll only need to look inside yourself.

Larry Bailin is the author of the bestselling Internet marketing book, Mommy, Where Do Customers come From? and CEO of Single Throw Internet Marketing.

Download the entire FeedFront issue 9 here – http://www.scribd.com/doc/24376105/FeedFront-Magazine-Issue-9
FeedFront issue 9 articles can be found here as well: http://feedfront.com/archives/article002334

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