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Meet the World's Greatest Social Media Marketer

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The world's greatest social media marketer has objectives and strategies. They're documented—on a spreadsheet—or on some social platform where her peers can collaborate.

She understands the whole analytics and metrics thing that matters to the bean counters. Another spreadsheet? You'd better believe it.

Social media blog feeds feed her a daily dose of updates because she knows some genius somewhere updated a social media network with a new feature while she was sleeping.

She can even tell you how many pixels tall and wide your profile pics need to be. Yep, she keeps all this on a spreadsheet—in the cloud, of course.

You too can master such things. But they won't make you the world's greatest social media marketer. In fact, you may remain amazingly mediocre.

The world's greatest social media marketer possesses more meaningful skills.

1. The world's greatest social media marketer is a great listener.

You get this by now, right? Social media masters are in it to build relationships. What do you call someone you have a relationship with? A friend? And what do friends do for each other? They listen. They don't jump to conclusions. They ask more questions. And then they listen some more. Offline or online, you need to listen.

2. The world's greatest social media marketer doesn't try so hard to be a marketer.

A funny thing about social media is that it's social. Your marketing maven hasn't forgotten there are business reasons for doing what she does online, but she recognizes that the direct-response mentality of yesteryear is sure to backfire. So she refrains from allowing a lead generation agenda to drive her behavior. She's a nurturer and aims to be as helpful as she possibly can.

3. The world's greatest social media marketer loves to share.

Oh, sure, she has a mind of her own; and, when the time is right, ideas and opinions will spring from it. However, the world's greatest social media marketer is humble and generous. She not only recognizes the remarkable value industry influencers provide but also understands the value of recognizing their contributions. So one of the most significant contributions she makes is to share the best work of experts.

4. The world's greatest social media marketer is extremely responsive.

A great social media marketer mediates. She doesn't think of a social medium as a broadcast channel. She thinks of it as a channel for interacting. Clicking "Tweet" or any status update button isn't the end; it's the beginning. Whatever the content of the update might be, the goal is to engage. So she'll know (and appreciate) when a reader has a comment or question, and she'll quickly respond.

5. The world's greatest social media marketer has no pretenses.

The great ones don't use the Internet as a veil. They're as unpretentious as can be. Sincere. Genuine. Honest. They simply are themselves. You can pretend to be someone you're not, but not for long.

6. The world's greatest social media marketer doesn't just follow.

There's no wing in the social media hall of fame for those with the biggest number of followers. Having the most followers also doesn't factor like you might think it does. Your social media superstar is a leader. She's identified her niche and dedicated herself to it, and she acts like a leader by setting an agenda, empowering people, and building a tribe of professionals connected by a common goal.

7. The world's greatest social media marketer is patient.

No one likes the pushy socialite. Track down the social media marketer you hold in high regard and ask her how she scaled such heights. She may or may not tell you "by building one relationship at a time," but she definitely won't deny that the path to social media marketing success takes time.

8. The world's greatest social media marketer can write.

She recognizes (1) the social media space is a noisefest of the highest order and (2) hers is not the first or last word on any topic. But she manages to stand out and to connect with readers because she has a way with words. Her writing is concise, but provocative. She's bold and confident, but humble and open-minded. She takes what she does seriously, but she has a sense of humor.

9. The world's greatest social media marketer knows news.

Her content has a nice balance to it. She makes news when she can, but she also acts as a curator—that is, she redistributes worthwhile news. She presents the good and the bad. Sometimes, she's on top of a breaking story. Sometimes she goes back to basics. But she's always topical and never predictable.

10. The world's greatest social media marketer doesn't depend solely on social media.

She doesn't just troll websites. She understands that real relationships can't be based on little blue thumb-up icons. So she engages peers, partners, prospects, and customers (or anyone she can help), with old-fashioned tools such as the telephone, email, and real mail. She knows what networking meant before we had social media networks. So the world's greatest social media marketer won't claim you can really connect with someone by clicking. She'll explain that you click with someone when you make a true connection.

You didn't just indulge me for nearly 900 words for nothing. You want to be great at social media marketing. So try applying these concepts right now. Engage with me here.

Oh, and guys, men can aspire to be great social media marketers, too. I gave the hero of our story a female persona because women are better listeners. (If you haven't seen this hilarious video about this manly flaw, check out "It's Not About the Nail.")

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Barry Feldman is the author of SEO Simplified for Short Attention Spans. Barry operates Feldman Creative and provides content marketing consulting, copywriting, and creative direction services. He contributes to top marketing sites and was named one of 25 Social Media Marketing Experts You Need to Know by LinkedIn. To get a piece of his mind, visit his blog, The Point.

Twitter: @FeldmanCreative

LinkedIn: Barry Feldman

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  • by Sarah Shuel Tue Jul 16, 2013 via web

    I love this article and plan to apply each of the tips that I'm not already. I love the bit about 'old fashioned' tools. I think I may just take advantaged of good ol' snail mail.

  • by Ritchie Tue Jul 16, 2013 via web

    Love the article. I agree with your message around "social media marketing is not just social media marketing". I think that's one of the biggest misconceptions in the industry - a guy who sits behind a computer staring at Facebook/Twitter and sharing stories. Here are 2 things I have learned from my job:

    1. Only 50% of a social media marketer's job is done on social media.
    2. Social media marketers need to spend time researching the industry, understanding their company's products, and developing a monthly calendar on what content to promote each day.

    You can check out my other social media tips (

  • by Jodi Beuder Tue Jul 16, 2013 via web

    Five Stars! Very innovative writing, and the topic is hot so this is great! It's true: social media contributors need to know how to write; even in 140 characters or less! In that short of a space, if you don't write well, you don't make sense. Plain and simple. I work in the Customer Service industry and social media is taking over! We need SM superheroes like this, all around! We built an infographic about social media and customer service here:

  • by Katie B. Tue Jul 16, 2013 via web

    Oh my goodness.... this is me down to the last spreadsheet! Fantastic article, and a wonderful way to articulate to others what my role is at my organization, not to mention confirming everything I have been pushing as I restructure my (new) company's social strategy!

  • by Alex Tue Jul 16, 2013 via web

    Truly interesting stuff. No matter where I look, it seems that most everyone is giving similar advice.
    I am in charge of the Facebook page of my company (a very large store in Asia) and yet there are less than 100 likes.
    I try to respond quickly to comments (however few they are), and post relevant information, but things still don't seem to be working so well.
    I'm a complete beginner and most likely should not have been put in this position in the first place, but them's the cards, and dealin's need to be fixed.

    And and all help will be more than greatly appreciated.

  • by Tessa Wed Jul 17, 2013 via web

    "click" :-), thank you I found this very informative and helpful.

  • by Gracious Store Wed Jul 17, 2013 via web

    These are good attributes of a good social media marketer.

  • by Jem Thu Jul 18, 2013 via web

    The only thing missing from this article is a photo of me! I tick all of these boxes apart from the multiple spreadsheets. I am not a spreadsheet girl. but I probably should be.

    It's a great article and you have hit the nail on the head - it is very important to be all these things in order to make progress for your brand within the social media sphere.

    And I think to make a real difference - number five is perhaps the most important of all.

  • by Cheri Marchio Thu Jul 18, 2013 via web

    Very nicely written Barry.

  • by Barry Feldman Sat Jul 20, 2013 via web

    I'd like to thank you all for the feedback, the "loves," five stars and so forth. I appreciate your comments.

  • by Brandon Sat Jul 20, 2013 via web

    Great stuff Barry. I want to see your cape someday. ;-)

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