"Social media is cool!" proclaims Chris Brogan in a Pro article at MarketingProfs. "Blogging and podcasts are cool! We're so cutting edge! Twitter is like the future here today, and no one knows about it!" If you've noticed a certain facetious quality to his enthusiasm, his next line makes clear his disdain for the gee-whiz attitude many people take: "Yeah, whatever."

According to Brogan, achieving success with social-media tools requires a sober analysis of their usefulness, and the smart implementation of well reasoned strategies that complement traditional marketing efforts. Let's say you've joined Twitter in a professional capacity and now have 3,000 followers. That's great, but now what?

Reaching your business goals means leveraging that network with a solid plan—not just preening over your popularity. If you want sales, for instance, you should start by differentiating between your real-life friends and your customers. "I don't sell to my friends," says Brogan. "My friends sometimes bring me sales. Two totally different things." With customers, meanwhile, you'll want to move them gently to places like email lists where they're more likely to convert. "Don't let them just reside in Twitter," he notes. "Twitter isn't a database."

Your Marketing Inspiration is to keep Web 2.0 in perspective. "Blogging and social media and all these whiz-bang tools don't sell things," says Brogan. "People sell things. People who know how to sell things sell things. This social media stuff is great, but it's a set of tools, so you've gotta pull out of the 'yippee! hooray!' cloud for a bit and look at basic selling mechanisms."

More Inspiration:
Allen Weiss: The End of Internet Advertising?
Jason Baer: The Customer Chasm. Are You Creating a Social-Media Divide?
Jonathan Kranz: Social Media: A Reader's Manifesto

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