When I started scanning all the best, most effective Social Media marketing campaigns, I noticed that they didn’t appear to be campaigns at all. It was the name of that area of online marketing that finally hit me.

The key to social media isn’t “media”; it’s “social”.

Being sincerely social was how you became successful on the internet. The fact is, if you wanted real people to come to your real business and spend real money, then you had to be a real person, engaging with other real people. What a simple truth, but one that, to this day, still escapes most small business owners. When you talk about communicating on the web, many people think of the internet trolls who textually accost people on message boards and blogs. The internet is a place where anonymity rules. But trolls never sell anything, and anonymous people really can’t buy your product. They have to have a credit card. The internet was quickly becoming the new “town square”, where people met, talked, traded stories of happiness and horror, and generally made the world a better place by sharing. This is where they would post bulletins about upcoming concerts in the park, or hand out flyers to people passing by letting them know that there is a sale tomorrow at the hardware store.

The internet wasn’t about an anonymous world. It was about a global community, made up of real people with real profiles and real families and real stories and real faces. It wasn’t about putting a billboard up on the highway, or creating a funny mascot for your car dealership. It was about the business owner, and what he or she felt was important in how they run their businesses. It was about how they honestly interacted with the customers. The days of hiding one’s business practices were over. You could no longer be that plumber that ripped people off.  Thanks to Angie’s list, and then social media, that became a virtual impossibility. Everybody can know about you now.

And is that a lot more work?

It sure can be, if you don’t have a system in place to manage it. That’s where I really started digging in. I began looking at SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and analyzing the Google algorithms, and all the anecdotal stories I heard. There is an element of truth in every piece of anecdotal evidence. The key is finding the breadcrumbs that eventually construct the theory that holds those clues together.