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Social Media Marketing Part One

May 9, 2008
It is really hard to convey how different marketing on the web is today compared to years ago.

If you weren't online "back in the day" having to wait for Google for months(instead of as little as moments today)to index and rank pages, you just don't know.

If you have no idea that we used to have to practically live in forums to get a few visitors here and there as our only social marketing outlet, you just don't know how great marketing on the web today is.

If you don't remember a time when the only way to get a massive amount of traffic to a new site or product was through joint ventures with people with huge lists (like that's going to happen for the average site owner anyway) you don't have the trail of tears behind you to appreciate how easy marketing today is.

If you've never paid through the nose for banner advertising (before Adwords) which, more often than not, produced nothing more than a hole in your wallet, then you just can't understand how cool the new web is.

Free traffic is one thing. Free traffic while building extreme customer loyalty through community building and interaction is a whole different ball game.

With a 10 year perspective on web marketing, all I can tell you is that social marketing is the coolest way I've ever generated traffic, links, and search engine rankings for thousands of keywords.

Virtually no one, including the supposed experts in social marketing, gets where the web is really going and how you can pull traffic, sales, and solid, measurable return on investment out of the social web.

Many SEOs are fighting the change tooth and nail by asking "Where's the ROI?" "Where are the metrics of social marketing?"

They just don't get it. When web 2.0 started the SEO industry had honed a system of measurements that suited their brand of marketing. They learned how to pull out impressive stats to prove they were worth hiring. They learned how to track the effectiveness of link building and search engine positioning with hard numbers.

It took them a decade to get good at it. And because of their sacrifice, they are not willing to throw away search marketing as the first goal of a marketing campaign and replace it with social marketing where search engine rankings are simply a byproduct of good marketing.

Since they don't understand how the social web really works, they've no idea what to do with the measurement tools they created to make them look like "kind of a big deal" for the last 10 years.

Now all of the sudden they aren't such a big deal. The web is passing them by and they want back in the spotlight so bad that they are adding social marketing services to their lineup of products that are nothing more than superficial additions with no substance whatsoever for the consumer.

They're lost. And so are marketers. No one seems to know how to measure the effectiveness of going social. No one seems to know how to properly BE social in order to fit in with the crowd and market at the same time.

"Marketer" and "SEO" are synonymous with "spammer" on social networks because of the massive, collective misunderstanding of what social media is, how it works, and how a precious few are using it to legitimately grow relationships, branding, and profits all while playing by the rules.

This confusion has been voiced by the loudest marketing voices on their blogs and readers take this confusion to mean that social marketing isn't viable.

I say they just haven't run into the right people yet.

People who are making an absolute killing in new subscribers, members, customers, rankings, and attention are using the same social media sites as the people who are convinced the world would be a better place if we could all just go back to "in your face" marketing and search engine manipulation.
About the Author
Jack Humphrey teaches social marketing from beginner through pro levels. To
learn more about his tactics at www.socialpowerlinking.com.
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