Even when I'm dense, I get pretty close to the mark.
People don't use social media to buy things, or sell things. (That's eBay's community.) People use social media to discuss things. They are seeking meaning in their lives by examining others' views about things. That's why people like stories, that's why people like to talk about things.
Social Media Marketing doesn't actually exist.
True, marketing is a conversation, and there are tons of conversations going on in these social media. But that doesn't mean they translate to sales. So get over it. People like to have conversations because they are fun. That's right - fun.
If you're trying to convert people to subscribers, you're way, way off the beam. Go back to article marketing. Go back to affiliate marketing. Go back to forum marketing.
Social Media is like the insurance salesman who joins half a dozen social groups. Meeting people is a way to find potential leads. Simple. But the sales talks take place waaay after that group meeting is over. They come to that salesman because they need some insurance and they know he deals in it. But as a salesman, he can contact them at their workplace and ask if they need some more insurance...
You don't try to spam social media - it doesn't work. Same way link-farms don't work.
There are lots of reasons to participate in social media. One is to make your research easier - you match up with people who have the same interests and find what they've already studied up on. The below selection from Ann Smarty says all I've been trying to find out today.
I spend hours looking up one blogger who had won all these awards and was so hot, only to find out that he was trying to market through Stumbleupon and others and by the end of it (nearly 180 scraped pages later), reversed himself thoroughly.
It's true that you can get search engine traffic easily through social media. But you can also get this by simply posting Slidecasts or posting to Internet Archives.
Look - search engines are after new, quality content. Period. Because that's what people want. Social media are another way for people to find new content - find what their friends are looking at.
You want people to find your site interesting - create great content. Period.
If you have something worth subscribing to, they will. Provide great content regularly through that subscription and you'll keep them.
I spent today double-checking my work on marketing ideas through social media, and found that I was right and wrong at the same time.
And found that where I should really be spending my time in selling stuff is on that great community - eBay. They've got blogs there and shops and all sorts of ways to send traffic to your site - who want to buy stuff.
However, the real key - as Ann covers below - is to be social on the social networks, and then you can get people interested in what you do and who need your product.
(I edit and publish self help books, so should socialize around self improvement groups and so on, eh? A book on marketing would be best sold to marketers - and so I should become part of marketing social groups, right? That is, if my analogy of the insurance salesman above works out...)
Social Media Marketing - Think Long-Term:
"Web marketers who view social media as a promotional tool can be roughly divided into three categories:
1) Those who blatantly spam (in a hope to get quick traffic). They usually have no valuable content to offer the community and their main goal is to get people click on an ad.
2) Those who link bait (hoping that their article will generate some links from other bloggers). These webmasters usually focus on a catchy scandalous headlines with no truly valuable post following it;
3) Those who strive to become a part of the community and establish business or friendly connections with niche webmasters."