GT Bulmer | Social Marketing GT Bulmer © Affiliate Power Central

This is the third installment in a series of three posts covering some of the obstacles to home Internet business success. The first was about Competition; the second, Search Engine Optimization; and this one, Social Marketing.

The obstacle of Social Marketing – that is, using Social Media, like Facebook, Twitter and IM faceplate, to connect with potential prospects and build your brand – can be a big challenge for Internet Marketers.

When Social Media first started to catch the attention of online marketers, many had a rough time adapting because you can’t approach Social Marketing the same way as traditional marketing. …

Social Marketing does not support the “in and out” approach to selling that is possible through traditional marketing. Rather, it emphasizes the value of relationship marketing, which is a longer process that requires more effort and attention.

Down through the ages, successful business people and Home Internet Business | Social Marketingmarketers found ways to weave elements of relationship marketing into their marketing and sales process. In many instances, they found it beneficial to learn more about their prospective customers, and allow those prospects to become more familiar with them, before going for the close.

This wasn’t necessary with all prospects, or with every type of business transaction, but in many cases, it proved to be a more effective way to close the sale.

Then came the World Wide Web and a whole new way of marketing to people. Mass marketing via electronic means flourished, removing the need for direct, personal contact with one’s prospects. Technology opened the door for anyone and everyone to get in on the act, regardless of their location or their experience or skill at selling.

Home Internet business enthusiasts jumped on board and opportunists of all varieties quickly realized that what they lacked in true marketing and selling skills, they could make up for in volume of prospects contacted. This is where electronic spam originated.

About the same time that consumers were becoming increasingly annoyed with accelerating volumes of spam messages and unwanted sales pitches, Social Media channels began to open, allowing people to join and participate in controlled online communities where sales and marketing messages were minimized or banned completely.

News groups and message boards were the forerunners to today’s Social Media sites. These groups and boards gave way to general or specialized forum communities, and as technology improved, sites like Myspace, Facebook and others then sprang into being.

Social communities like these quickly gained in popularity and astute Internet Marketers could see the sales potential, if only there was a way to tap those markets. Direct marketing was typically not permitted, either in the public discussion groups or in the private messaging features available on most social sites. Members who tried to get around these rules usually found themselves severely chastised or banned from the site.

Home Internet Business | Social MarketingEventually, the process of “Social Marketing” was introduced where the marketer would simply join in discussions related to their specialty or niche, work at developing a consistent presence on the site, and watch for opportunities to develop a more personalized relationship with other members who fit the profile as a prime prospect for the marketer’s products and services.

However, many marketers do not have the interest or patience for this kind of slow moving “relationship marketing” process. As a result, Social Marketing continues to be a huge obstacle for a lot of aspiring marketers who are looking for a quick buck or a faster way to build their Internet businesses.

More recently, the owners of popular Social Media sites – who also happen to be opportunists – have introduced a few ways for marketers to promote themselves and their offerings on the sites. Business information can be included in your member profile, you can create business pages on some sites, and more sites are selling advertising services to members.

Some of these features have costs associated that some marketers cannot or do not want to pay. So, that leaves them with the option of going the slow route: they will have to learn to be social and must work on developing their presence as an expert in their marketing field or niche.

Social Marketing should not be your only marketing focus, but it is a method that every Internet Marketer would do well to develop.

The obstacles to home Internet business success can be many, and understanding them is the first step in overcoming them. For more information related to obstacle in marketing, read my two previous posts in this series, the Obstacle of Competition, and the Obstacle of Search Engine Optimization.

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* You might also enjoy these Home Internet Business blog posts:

~ Obstacles to Home Internet Business, Part Two

~ Obstacles to Home Internet Business Success (Part One)

~ Affiliate Marketing For Beginners

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Home Internet Business | Social Marketing

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