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Working With Social Media

January 24, 2009

The Internet has given rise to a new marketing twist. Born as a direct result of online chatting is the concept of Inbound Marketing. To define Inbound Marketing, maybe we should start with the definition of Outbound Marketing, which is a concept we are most familiar.

Outbound marketing is when you —the vendor, the purveyor of goods or services — reaches out to the public for business.

In contrast, Inbound Marketing refers to you, the vendor, attracting people of like interests or needs by just existing. Inbound marketing is based on you putting yourself out there and people deciding that they are interested in your ideas, your humor, or your knowledge.

Here’s an example: An Outbound Marketing activity might be placing an ad in the newspaper or launching a direct mail campaign. We are waving our product or services in people’s faces to see if they are interested.

In Inbound Marketing, the perspective is the opposite. It is more like going to a cocktail party. You aren’t selling anything in particular. You are sharing information and ideas. People gravitate to you because of who you are. You are building a relationship online, which might someday lead to a business transaction.

The fluid nature of the Internet made this possible. It brings you in contact with people in all corners of the globe. There are social media sites in every industry and every avocation.

What is amazing is that these sites are not just for the very young or the tech savvy. http://www.linkedin.com boasts that the average person in their membership is between 32-45, earning about $79,000 per year and owns a business. These sites are generally free. All you have to do is sign up for a membership.

The most popular social media sites are http://www.facebook.com and http://www.myspace.com. Other business oriented sites are http://www.linkedin.com, http://www.brownbook.net, and http://www.jigsaw.com.

http://www.twitter.com has gained tremendous popularity in a short time. It is best characterized as a mini-blog because contributions cannot exceed 140 characters. As you blog you attract people with similar interests. Common interests creates an immediate connection, even if it is only tenuous.

There are several social media sites for writers, which I will post next time.

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