Social Media Marketing: Proven or Unproven Method?

In last week's edition I mentioned that marketing through social media is a very new approach. No one really knows whether it's an effective marketing method, yet.

Let me clarify.

Social media doesn't have a framework that can be applied, by various businesses, to generate predictable results.

For instance, TV infomercials are darn expensive to produce. I heard that it could cost $200,000 to get an infomercial to the audience testing stage – before buying airtime!

Yet, there is a method used in that medium that generates huge profits. Blogs, had a lack of respect just a few years ago. But the pioneers cracked the code and today there's a methodology that business can employ to make a blog a practical marketing tool.

I'm not implying that everyone who uses a proven marketing method experiences instant success. Nor am I implying that everyone executes the same method in the exact same manner.

I do mean to say that a proven marketing method, or marketing media, is one that has a body of successful case studies, which is often repeated by dissimilar businesses.

In other words – it just works. And you'd be considered a prudent businessperson to consider it and invest in it.

Social Media Doesn't Have a Body of Success Yet, But …

On a practical matter, you may want to stake your claim with social media because you have a pioneering spirit and don't mind a bloody nose to crack the code for the rest of us. Or, perhaps, you realize that social media is the trend and clients are prepared to pay you to manage their online social media ambitions … today.

Who Am I To Stop You?

If anything, I'd like to help you. Below is a checklist that'll help you establish a good social media marketing foundation – for yourself or your web copywriting clients. It'll save you time and give you direction and hopefully keep you from wandering aimlessly through cyberspace.

  • Have a Website ready. Members of social media sites are nosy. Give them your website and invite them into your world. Many will check it out. Use your online copywriting skills to engage them, ask them to opt-in to your list, and possibly convert them into paying customers on the spot.

  • Have a Blog ready. Share your blog posts with your social media connections. It gives you another reason to invite them to your world, plus your connections will share it with others and expand your reach.

  • Search Keywords Within The Social Site. Websites like Twitter and Facebook allow you to search for other people using a keyword. This function helps you sift through the millions of registered users and better target your market within the site.

    For example, if you or your client sells outdoor paving stones, try outdoor paving stones as your first keyword search. Anyone who mentions that phrase in a post, or has it on his profile may come up as a search result and would be someone you'd want to connect with.

  • Invite Your In-house List To Join You. Today, the gross number of connections you have on a social media site lends credibility. Yes, size matters. So, if you can bulk up your numbers, do it. It may convince other potential contacts, and strangers, to connect with you, too.

    Besides, you can bet that many people on your in-house list are already registered on the better-known social media sites like MySpace, Facebook, or Twitter. Facebook alone, reports 200 Million members. That's more than the total population of Japan – 127 Million!

  • Join Groups Within That Site. Similar to using a keyword search to better target individuals, you can join groups to better target through affinity.

    There are two ways to go about it. One, choose a group where you can network with your peers. Two, choose groups where your best clients hang out.

    As an example, if you sell outdoor paving stones you can join the Professional Paving Stone Distributors Group and/or join the Home Gardening Group.

  • Create Your Own Group. Start your own group within the site and make it related to your business. This takes a bit more time, but …

    If you sell outdoor paving stones, why not start a Do-It-Yourself Landscaping group. This would put you on top of the pyramid and give you more recognition, exposure, and credibility. Plus, it can become a niche P.R. machine.

  • Play Around With Posting/Comment Ratios. That is to say, questions, posts, and comments that are helpful, fun, or interesting equal 80% of your posts. Versus straight pitches (that lead to your squeeze page, sales page, website, or personal blog) which equal 20% of your posts.

    The importance to understand here is that too much pitching tends to turn people off (as can happen in ezine/auto-responder promotions).

    On the other side of the spectrum, though, if you're too cute and fluffy with all your posts and comments – you're not doing your job.

    You'll have to test it and find a happy medium.

  • Play around with this idea too. Reveal a slightly different persona on each social media site. Each site has it's own personality. Linkedin is more professional. Twitter is much more informal. Would you behave and speak about the same things in a boardroom meeting as you would at a backyard BBQ?

This list is not the final word on social media marketing, that's still being written. As a web copywriter, I hope you can see the income opportunities available just to help a client reach a basic social media foundation: a Website, a blog, starting and building a new group …

I believe, and I think you do too, that it's dumb to argue the theoretical merits of marketing with social media. It works! It doesn't work! So What!

Let others bicker, while you rake up all the online marketing and copywriting cash.

And one more thing: What other basic steps do you think belong on this Social Media Foundation Checklist? Also, do you think I'm wrong? Do you believe that social media marketing has a broad body of success on par with print ads, email marketing, direct mail, and other proven methods … today? Prove it in your comment below

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Published: May 20, 2009

7 Responses to “Social Media Marketing: Proven or Unproven Method?”

  1. Hmmm... seemed to be just a revision of last week's info, but who's bickering

    John Wiggill

  2. Interesting thoughts and well-written. However, I disagree. Social media HAS been proven to benefit businesses in three ways:

    First, many companies have used social media quite successfully to get buzz for their businesses.

    Second, it's great for customer relationships (Ford, JetBlue, etc.)

    Third, it's great for SEO if you get your blog articles syndicated on bookmarking sites.


  3. Social media marketing has certainly been proven in my business! I've been using it actively since 1995, and since 1996, it has driven more clients to me than anything else I've done.

    Without social media marketing, I might not *have* a business anymore.

    Shel Horowitz, author of Grassroots Marketing for Authors and Publishers (and seven other books)

    Shel Horowitz - Ethical Marketing Expert

  4. Robert, let's have that conversation... I'm due to complete a report on SM this Friday. Will send you a copy. SM is a set of TOOLS, nothing more or less. Studies show, however, that E-mail is still the most effective CRM AND marketing tool.

    Bookmarking does indeed enhance traffic and SEO. I'll say more later.

    And CMS is a must, whether it's a blog, high-end custom-designed, or Joomla. Ideally, it's all part of the overall strategy.


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