Posted November 13, 2008 12:54 pm by with 6 comments

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I was relieved to see the following reaction from the first day’s crowd when PubCon’s Brett Tabke asked if people had seen an increase in their business and about 50% of the crowd raised their hands. When asked if they felt that it would increase in the coming year it looked like about 75% of the folks (out of hundreds and hundreds) were positive. Only about 4 or so people were willing to admit they were worried. Are the numbers skewed? Of course they are. They are numbers. The idea is that at least people want to ACT positive. One of the ways to get busy is social media / marketing / networking.

The first session I attended was about “Understanding the Complex Social Marketing Playing Field”. Given that these sessions are all of one hour and 15 minutes long you figure that there will be limits to what you can take away. Well, it was certainly a bit like drinking from a fire hose. While there was a boat load of details there was a simple recurring theme: be genuine and plan. So social media isn’t just some panacea that anyone and everyone can take advantage of? The panel made it clear that while many try it, not many succeed. Here’s why:

1. Too salesy – this is about relationships and once you look to promote, sell and then close someone you have more than likely violated some unwritten community rule and you can then become a social media pariah. People want relationships. Transactions come from that not the other way around

2. Inconsistent effort – social media requires inordinate amounts of time to do well. If you are going to step in you better step in whole-heartedly. Doing social media and then not attending to it is like the web site that hasn’t been updated in 2 years!! does more harm than good so consider what your limits are

3. Lose control of profiles – like domain squatting, profile squatting exists. Man, it is a very strange world we live in but you need to keep an eye on this but it does happen and it’s up to you to make sure you protect it aggressively

4. Lack of goals and objectives – If you are getting involved in social media just to say that you do it, then don’t do it. Have distinct goals and work toward them with your efforts. If you “rabbit trail” social media you may get so lost you can’t get back no matter how many bread crumbs you leave

5. Unrealistic expectations – Li Evans of KeyRelevance made the point that social media is not a quick fix for your marketing plan. Is there anything that is a quick fix for a marketing plan? If there is please let me know immediately.

Well, here’s what I walked away with. The search industry is 10 plus years old and people are still trying to fully grasp it. Social media and networking is literally just starting to mainstream in the past couple of years after being more confined to the younger crowd as a communication tool on steroids. Now it’s becoming a business tool. We are just at the start of this thing. It’s the Wild West again. There is so much to learn and to understand. I wasn’t sure of social media/marketing/networking before I got here. Now I am. It demands attention but it also screams out for good business sense.

This is going to be very interesting.