Get smarter! Watch free on-demand training about content marketing or visual marketing

How to Use Social Media for M*!%^*ing

A close up of a person's hands using a smartphone

I’m happy to have a guest post from Dave Charest today. Dave helps indie artists market themselves better. He has a way of cutting through the confusion and getting to the essentials when it comes to marketing, so I knew you’d enjoy hearing from him. Let’s make him feel welcome with some comments, shall we? –Pamela

brand marketing is easier with tips from DaveWhoops! Sorry, I used the ugly ‘M’ word.

Yeah, it’s true. So many people have such a disdain for “marketing” that it’s a bit of a curse word these days.

Then come all these social media tools that allow everyone to market all the time. It’s not surprising people have had enough.

But is it really marketing people are sick of?

It’s my belief that it’s not marketing, but rather bad marketing that gets under people’s skin. So as you go through the process of sorting out the effect of social media and the Internet on your small business, I’d like to offer you a frame from which to approach your journey.

A frame that allows you to use social media to create marketing that people love. Marketing that people actually want to share. Marketing that works to grow your small business.

Here’s the first question we’ll need to ask…

What comes to mind when you think traditional marketing?

In preparation for a workshop I was teaching to theater artists, I asked this very question on Twitter.

Here are a few of the responses:

I think of anything that is one-way push communication.

Generic email blasts that have nothing to do with me, cold calls…”

“Traditional marketing? Stale. Annoying. Ineffective. Spam.”

“Traditional marketing = postcards in coffee shops, ads in playbills, the daily paper.”

Someone also astutely mentioned:

“I think the responses also show that many think marketing is just sales and advertising.”

I’d say that’s a pretty good assessment of the situation, wouldn’t you? And when you think about it that way it’s easy to see why so many of us don’t like marketing.

Maybe marketing is just misunderstood

Traditionally, we’ve seen a lot of people use the techniques we don’t like so much. People put their own interests first without a care for what their customer wants. They push messages on people who don’t really want them. It’s all very one-sided.

Many times we find ourselves copying these annoying techniques for lack of knowing a better way. What happens when these techniques don’t work as well as we hoped? We blame marketing. But it’s not really marketing’s fault. It’s bad marketing’s fault, right?

We need to fix this by finding a better way. A way that fits with what works today.

We need to shift our thinking about marketing. If you’re stuck with this negative view of what marketing is, then your marketing efforts will never work as well as you hope.

Let’s get a workable definition of marketing

Here’s the definition of marketing from the American Marketing Association:

“Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.”

I’m a bit obsessed with simplifying things for clarity. The full definition has too many words for my brain to take action on. To simplify here’s what stands out to me…

“…offerings that have value for customers…”

What do your customers value?

This value depends on your particular customer. What are they interested in? What do they enjoy about what you do? What do they want to know more about? Social media gives you the tools to find out. And moreover the tools to create this content your customers want.

If you’re giving people things they enjoy, they’ll start to look forward to receiving them. And instead of being annoyed, they’ll want to share these things. And this is where social media gets exciting.

How social media and marketing work together

Let’s make sure there’s no misunderstanding of social media. Here’s a simple definition I found by searching “social media definition” on Google:

Media that is created and shared freely.

Good. Simple. Yay!

If we combine that with our marketing definition:

Offerings that have value for customers.

We can formulate something like this:

Media of value that is shared freely by the customer.

The ultimate goal of your social media marketing

To create stuff your customers want to share. These people become fans and the biggest proponents of your work. When others begin to share what you create you begin to reach a bigger audience of potential customers.

Now you may be thinking how do you make this work? There’s a secret of course. And I’m going to share it with you now.

How to be successful at social media marketing in 3 steps

Here it is; the secret steps of social media marketing. Ready?

  1. Listen
  2. Engage
  3. Create

BONUS STEP: If you want to get really fancy, add a fourth step: REPEAT.

If this seems a bit too simple, I’ll expand a bit.

1. Listen

All these social media tools allow you to listen to what your customers are talking about. Find out what’s important to them. What questions do they have? How can you help?

2. Engage

Talk to these people. Don’t try to sell them. Just be human and chat. Share and make a connection. Were you able to help them? Move to step three.

3. Create

Create a piece of media around this conversation. Chances are there are others interested in the topic. Chances are it’ll get some attention.

Is it really that simple?

You bet. But that’s the point. We make it harder than it needs to be. If you follow this three-step process you’ll avoid all those icky marketing issues.

You’ll start to use social media for marketing in a way that works. And you and your customers won’t feel so hostile to the ‘M’ word.

Let’s summarize:

  • It’s not marketing people hate. It’s bad marketing.
  • Create stuff people want to share.
  • The easiest way? Listen. Engage. Create.

What do you think? Am I way off with this line of thinking?

About the Author: Dave Charest inspires indie artists to make ‘Wicked Smaht’ changes to their marketing for better results. Be sure to check out his free ‘Wicked Smaht’ newsletter.

A close up of Pamela Wilson of BIG Brand System

Pamela Wilson

I want to help you take the next step. Pick your free workshop topic and let’s do this!

19 thoughts on “How to Use Social Media for M*!%^*ing”

  1. Dave,

    I think you hit on one of the reasons people dislike marketing and even social media:

    We make it so friggin’ complicated!

    Does the American Marketing Association really think that is a workable definition of marketing? Or are they just talking to hear their head rattle?

    One of the many reasons I like your writing style is because you “boil it down” for us. You have done that here and, as a Marketer (yeah, I actually said it out loud), I am thankful.

  2. Great post Dave! I agree, there is a lot of bad marketing out there! It’s ugly. I know that I’ve fallen into the bad marketing trap myself. But if you are truly offering something of value to the right audience then you don’t have to worry about bad marketing. Thanks for your insights!

  3. @Frank, you’re so right. Why do we always make it complicated? It’s one of the reasons I started my blog.

    A lot of the info out there for artists was written in this very text book manner. It seemed like it was trying to sound smart rather than be helpful.

    So my goal has become to cut out the BS and make it simple so you can actually use the information. I’ve decided to sound ‘smaht’ instead. (Yes, I’m happy to poke fun at myself!)

    I’m thankful that you’re thankful. =)

  4. Please stop demeaning marketing. Without it no business can survive. Marketing is simply communication to a purpose. You are right that there us good and bad marketing but that does not mean dismissing the entire concept and pretending that by using other words it is OK.
    The key is your quote “to use marketing in a way that works”. How do you know when it works? What is it there to do? Just ask in step 3 “what kind of attention do I want”. The answer has to be that you want someone to take action, change behaviour and based on your communication contact you with the intent to but. And you want enough people to do this to meet your marketing (revenue) goals. Otherwise it is just semantics.
    This is a crucial business tool and must be used with a discipline that makes sure it delivers to the business. Interest, shared ideas, chatting, helpoing, making a connection are only relevant if they directly contribute to buying taking place.

    • Hi Bill,

      Thanks for your comment.

      By no means is it my intention to demean marketing, but rather point out that there is a train of thought many already bring to the word that makes it difficult for people to enjoy doing.

      It’s my belief you do things better when you enjoy them. So if your perception of marketing changes in a way that’s makes you do it better. That’s a win in my book.

      And as you say, “Without it no business can survive.” I agree with you 100%. Which is why I like to offer people a different way to look at it. So their business can survive.

      I’m not sure I agree that “Interest, shared ideas, chatting, helping and making a connection are only relevant if they directly contribute to buying taking place.”

      From my own experience these things have had indirect contributions to my business that would not have been clearly relevant at the time they happened.

      Sure, you need to make the sale. But that doesn’t always need to happen in step one.

      BTW, I like “communication with a purpose” as well.

  5. Great article, Dave. I really like your boiled down definition of social media: “Media of value that is shared freely by the customer” and predict you’ll see it appear elsewhere on the web real soon.

    For sure bad marketing, whether it’s in ‘traditional’ channels or showing up in the newer social media arenas, is what gives all of marketing a black eye. Well written articles like this one and informative websites like your Wicked Smaht and The Grandma Mary Show and the Big Brand System (and many others!) go a long way toward educating both the marketers and the target customers.

  6. hi dave,

    i started a blog to help other mums do what i did, which was to start a little biz from home. i am learning as i go and i hope to help others as well. there is so much information out there, and not all of it is easy to identify with when you are a stay at home mum with a creative biz idea, and using the free moments in your day to figure out this biz stuff. it can be overwhelming!

    i like this post because you got me to look at marketing and social media in a way that is a bit different from what i am reading elsewhere. who says we all have to use the same words, the same definition, the same steps? if your explanation and ideas here resonate with one little biz builder, and help them to do a better job of marketing their biz then i think that is a pretty cool thing, no? i am sharing this post with my readers too, so thanks =)

  7. Hi Karen,

    I love that share what you’re doing as you learn. And I encourage more people to do the same.

    I’m glad the post helped you look at things a bit differently. And yes, I’d say if t gets people doing better, that’s a cool thing indeed.

    I hope your readers get something from the post as well.

  8. Thanks, for cutting through the clutter. I have about a gazillion books on marketing, and there is so much confusion. It all drives me crazy. You’re right. Listen. Engage, Create. So simple.

    Now, to go do some listening…

  9. Thanks Dave for your take on social media.

    As a student of Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham and Eben Pagan, your “cut through the BS” resonates with me.

    I wonder what else you got in store and will subscribe to your free e-course.

  10. Sometimes, comments are equally valuable as the original post is. You write so clean, on-topic and informative Dave. I just followed this from your blog. Gotta get that on my regular reading list.

    Cheers for such an engaging writing style!

Comments are closed.

Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Search in posts
Search in pages

Learn More

Find Your Focus in 5

Build your online business faster! Discover which milestone to focus on now — for free.