Casey Eberhart
Perhaps the most impressive and exciting aspect of social media and online marketing is that it’s there, just waiting for you to jump in. Social media sites are wildly successful because they allow you to reach thousands of people with very little effort and at no cost.

Unfortunately, many marketers and businesspeople think that, just by setting up an account on Facebook or Twitter, the leads will start flowing in. Not the case.

Like any tool, social media marketing is only effective if you first understand exactly how it works, and that can take some time and practice.

Let’s start with the basic funnel concept. With over 550 million members, if Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world. As a marketer, I don’t want to alienate any of those members. I want all of them to have the opportunity to come to me rather than me trying to contact each of them. I want to leverage my presence on social media sites so I can reach the largest audience with the smallest amount of effort.

In order to make this happen, I usually work with people or groups who have at least 1,000 contacts. When I find a group I’d like to connect with, such as a group of Realtors®, I go to the group’s Facebook “wall,” not to people’s individual profiles, and post something of value there, something that will immediately help members get a leg up in their own businesses. One such post can easily prompt several new contacts to come to me looking for more. That’s creating leverage.

When posting content on any site, I follow a basic rule. I never, ever, discuss any of the following five topics:

Anything negative

Staying away from sex, politics and religion is easy to understand. (I don’t even bring those topics up at family dinners!)

But why not sports? Simple. You will eventually be doing business with a wide array of people from different walks of life and with different views than your own. Why would you want to alienate any of these people? Positioning yourself as a Los Angeles Kings fan will immediately distance you from any potential contacts who hate the Kings.

Last but not least, stay away from any negativity. People just don’t want to hear it. If you don’t have something nice to say… well, you know the rest. Mom was right. Be a positive, up-beat and business-focused role model and your business will thrive.

The most important thing to remember is that whether in person or online, you’re dealing with real people. Forget for a moment the numbers and imagine looking eye-to-eye at those you’re connecting with. You’re marketing to human beings, people with needs and desires just like your own. In essence, we’re not that different. Find the common ground and in short order your life (and business) will soar.

CASEY EBERHART is a successful network
marketer, speaker and trainer. He is the founder of
the popular blog,
and leads seminars across the nation on the
topics of network marketing and social media.