There is NO easy button!I’m really tired of people whining, “It takes too much time to use Facebook or Twitter in my business.” (Be sure and read that with a very whiny voice!) Everyone wants the easy button, the purple pill, the silver bullet, the quick fix, but when it comes to authentically and effectively engaging your target market, IT TAKES WORK!

Now I know many internet marketing folks who will disagree with many things that I say when it comes to staying away from auto-following people and sending automated messages welcoming every new connection with a fake smile and a FREE product pushed in their face…okay so I’m a bit cranky as I write this. Let me get more coffee.

Okay, so in my humble opinion (or IMHO for those of you who, like me, have a hard time with whole words any more), SOCIAL media or SOCIAL marketing, is about…. well, being SOCIAL! I like to explain to people that when you fire up a Facebook Fan Page or launch your Twitter account, you are inviting people in for a cocktail party. You start some conversations and move to different parts of the room, always moving, adding to conversations and connecting people as you go. The way most people approach their social media launch is to invite everyone over for the party and then they go back to doing “real work” or worse, they go to bed.

I don’t care what industry you are in. It could be the pet industry, the canoe outfitting industry, the professional speaking or education industry. It’s still a SOCIAL networking environment. And yes social activities do take time. If you go to social networking events through your local chamber of commerce or leads groups or association meetings, you have to take time to walk around meeting and chatting with people. You might spend 1-3 hours, chatting, shaking hands and exchanging business cards with people (many of whom you will go back and ask yourself, “Who was this?”) and perhaps have 5-10 really good connections. That is time consuming and very limiting when it comes to the number of people you will connect with.

Through the use of social media, you could connect with hundreds, or thousands per day if you spent that same 1-3 hours. You can meet and learn from smart people who are in your industry, in your geographic region or in other areas that interest you…all at the same party. And when you share your expertise and provide great content to those who are interested in your information, Google rewards you. You will start showing up more often in places where your topic is being discussed. Your tweets and Facebook posts will be pulled when someone is looking for an expert in your arena.

Now there are many people who will tell you just connect to 10,000 totally random folks, because everyone is a possible customer or good connection. They will sell you automated tools to just collect Twitter followers and send auto messages to be successful in the social media world. While there may be some truth, depending on what you are selling, I believe that if we spend just a bit more time adding some filters-whether they be filtering out REAL people versus SPAM BOTS or people who are not wearing clothes-we would have a better network, or a better chance of people staying engaged at our cocktail party. So I say pass on the EASY BUTTON and grab a cocktail. There are folks to talk to here~

If you disagree, let’s hear a good argument-give us some examples! If you want to join in the cocktail party, tell us about yourself or join me on Twitter @GinaSchreck