Social Media Marketing: This is your Chance

If I could’ve sat down with Chris Brogan and Laura Fitton six months ago and asked them one thing, it would have been: “Who, exactly, are you marketing to?”

There has always been a small thorn in my paw about social media marketing. It’s the same thing that bothers me when people come on TV and promise to help make you rich. All you have to do is… sell a book that promises to make people rich! It’s the same feeling I get when I read Problogger and wonder: “Do I want to listen to advice from a blog about blogging? Would I do better to listen to someone like Jeff Atwood?”

For months—years—the “social media space” has been dominated by, well, social media users. There are lots of people, from Brogan and Pistachio on down, promising to help you leverage tools like Twitter. But who was the audience on Twitter? Early-adopters. Geeks. Other “social media marketers.”

Of course Chris Brogan can sell himself on Twitter: it was his ideal audience. But when it comes to marketing the end product, who’s listening?

Twitter use has skyrocketed over the last 9 or 10 months. Once the morning shows started talking about Twitter (unfortunately, giving very false impressions) the cascade was probably inevitable. And the people who are joining now are not the same people who joined a year and a half ago.

The time for social media marketers—the real ones, dealing with consumers, not meta-marketers selling advice on selling—to prove themselves is right now.

This is your chance.

Prove to me that this can work; that what you do is worth it.

I don’t mean to pick on Chris Brogan. I’m sure his company, CrossTech Media, has a portfolio of successful campaigns. What doesn’t impress me is convincing the early adopters of the potential of the space. If there’s a more apt example of “preaching to the choir,” I don’t know it.

There has been a reinforcement loop in this field. “We should follow Chris Brogan, he knows what he’s talking about!” “Chris Brogan has 18,000 followers, he must know what he’s talking about!”

“I’ll subscribe to Problogger because they’ll help me get more subscribers. They must be good, look how many subscribers they have!”

Now there is finally an opportunity to put all this theory into practice. Can you use Chris Brogan’s advice to build relationships on Twitter with people who aren’t already excited about building relationships on Twitter? Can you use Darren Rowse’s advice to build an audience of people who aren’t other bloggers?

If I could sit down with Chris Brogan and Laura Fitton and Darren Rowse now, I wouldn’t be asking “who is the audience.” I would just say “Ok, the audience is here. Now show me.”