Below is the foreward that I wrote for Susan Gunelius’s new book, 30-Minute Social Media Marketing: Step-by-step Techniques to Spread the Word About Your Business (McGraw-Hill). She has also released a free bonus chapter that can’t be found in her book.
Right now, your competitors are using social media tools to advance their personal and corporate brands, generate revenue, increase customer loyalty, and recruit top talent, in order to gain leverage in your industry. Do you want to be shut out and close your operations? A few years ago, social media tools could give you a clear advantage in the marketplace, but now they are mandatory for reaching customers, building relationships, and becoming a recognized name. In 2008, Cone released a study, stating that 93% of Americans believe companies should have a social media presence, and 85% said that companies should also interact and engage with their audience.
It is 2010 now! These numbers must be nearing 100%, which means that just having profiles on Twitter and Facebook isn’t enough. You actually have to know how to use them, understand what the best practices are, and how to best implement them in your company. Technology is changing rapidly, and if you aren’t keeping up-to-date with the latest trends, it’s going to really hurt your business. No one had ever even heard of Twitter in 2006, but today it has about 106 million users, and it receives more media attention than Kim Kardashion, Britney Spears, and Brad Pitt combined. Most marketers have embraced Twitter at the expenses of other tools that might be just, if not more, powerful and rewarding. Just because there are a lot of online tools now, that doesn’t mean that traditional marketing tactics have lost their value. For instance, marketers are investing more than they ever have in direct marketing through targeted email campaigns.
Social media is revolutionary and has changed our culture because it has leveled the media playing field and demolished corporate hierarchies. Now, you can interact with executives without going through public relations, and sell products directly to your audience, without begging The New York Times to write about you. It cuts through geography, race, gender, and age, and actually allows you to measure your own success immediately unlike other mediums where you can only estimate conversion. As incredible as social media is, it requires a substantial amount of time, patience, creativity, and commitment. I believe “commitment” is the keyword for successfully using social media to market your brand because it takes into account the passion, energy, hard work, and the long-term plan you’ll need to actually achieve business results.
It’s easy to tell a company to make time for updating their social networks with fresh content and insights every single day, yet most find it overwhelming at the beginning. This is especially true since companies are bombarded with so many different social technologies these days, including blogging, microblogging, social networking, social bookmarking, video and audio podcasting, eBooks, and more. Susan Gunelius has taken this common frustration and developed an easy, thoughtful, and strategic manual for your social media marketing success plan.
Avoid reading this social media marketing guide at your own peril!
– Dan Schawbel, Personal Branding Expert