10 Controversial Ways To Dominate Social Media This Year
There's a saying that "controversy creates cash." That is often true when you're talking about something with an established dogma. Take SEO and online marketing, for example. There are certain "SEO truths" that you should never break. Ditto for social media - except that there are controversial social media marketing strategies that break all the rules and could earn you a flood of new business.
1) Focus on building a cult-like following. Most businesses focus on getting as many "likes" as they possibly can. The sheer number of users and clicks on websites like Facebook is supposed to be enough to win you a flood of new business. The problem is that it doesn't. Who cares if you have 10,000 "likes" on Facebook, or 250,000 "+1s" on Google+? The real litmus test of a marketing strategy is the bottom line. How many new customers did you get this year? How much did your revenue grow? If you focus on a core of 500 to 1,000 followers as opposed to 10,000 or 50,000 followers, you're going to get 500 or 1,000 devoted followers. You're going to build a following. That, alone, could be worth more than all of your paid search marketing efforts combined.
2) Know when to hold 'em - know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away - know when to run. You never count your money when you're sitting at the table, but you also have to know when there's money to be made. Look, some businesses just aren't fit for sites like Facebook. If you sell a personal care product, for example, your customers might not be very enthusiastic about "liking" your page. Can you imagine your customers liking your hemorrhoids page or your new cream that stops the burn of gonorrhea? There's some products and services that are just not going to go over well on a social media site. If you think you're better off not using Facebook, for example, then walk away. Don't waste your precious time on a social media site just because it's the "in" thing to do.
3) Back up what you say. If you say something controversial, or if you endorse something, don't be afraid to back up your statements. Getting into a debate on a social media site isn't the end of the world. In fact, it can help build your credibility. Not being afraid to take a stand will earn you boatloads of respect from the blogosphere, even if people disagree with you. It works the same way with social media. People can disagree with you and still respect you. People tend not to respect a spineless flip-flopper.
4) Don't be afraid to raise hell. You don't have to make money with everything you do online. Sometimes, arguing a point for the mere fact of expressing your ideas is enough to win people over without having to directly pitch them anything. You don't have to put on a salesman's hat in order to make sales. You just have to have something interesting to say (and you have to believe in it). Just make sure you do have a point. Don't argue for the sake of arguing. Argue to educate. Point out something in your industry that no one seems to really "get."
5) Cut ties. Some people are really annoying. Don't be afraid to cut ties with those people. Kick them out of your Google+ circles. Unfriend them on Facebook. You don't need everyone. You just need the most rational who are your best prospects. If you focus on that fact, you'll make your life much, much easier.
6) Don't just quote what other people say. Have your own ideas. If all you do is repost quotes from other people, it's hard to know what you stand for. Other people will know who you admire, but they won't know why. Incidentally, this happens a lot on Facebook. People will post news stories, famous quotes, etc. but they rarely post up original ideas of their own. Inspirational quotes are nice, but they only promote the person you are quoting. If other people are reposting, retweeting, and sharing your own quote, then you are the one who's famous and inspirational. That's how you establish thought-leadership.
7) Defend your friends on social media. When someone attacks a friend of yours on Facebook, Twitter, or any other social media site, speak up. Don't do it because it will earn you brownie points with your followers or subscribers. Do it because they are your friend. The point of social media is to allow others to take a peek at your personality. If you aren't faking anything, then people will dub you as not only an authority but a really great person to boot.
8) Take your ideas seriously. Join movements and causes you believe in. This will help define the kind of people that you will do business with. In a local market, you might not want to offend potential customers because the market may be small or crowded as is. However, if you're doing business online, you have an entire world full of people. This allows you to truly connect with your best prospects. You can afford to piss off some liberals by joining a pro-Capitalism rally or "liking" your favorite - but highly polarizing - book, activity, or social club on Facebook.
9) Make a bold prediction. Some Internet marketers are famous for doing this. A good headline like "Why Facebook will die in 2012" almost forces you to read it, doesn't it? If your predictions are really good, and you have solid reasoning behind you, it'll help you gain a following. If your predictions come true, you are almost guaranteed to get some kind of following. Rinse. Repeat.
10) Tell the inconvenient truth. There's a lot people in the world who will bend over backwards to get other people to like them. If you're one of those people, you won't really stand out. Leaders aren't afraid to take a stand, and tell the truth, even if it makes them unpopular. In some ways, telling an inconvenient truth will make you more popular and with the kind of crowd you want to be popular with.
Image credit HonestReporting.com on flickr.