Monetizing Social Networks. The simplest analogy possible!

Aside from the big players in social media making money via advertisers and cutting deals with some of technologies biggest hitters, there are more social sites that do not make money then there are those that do. What do they do? How are they going to make money?

Obviously one of the ways to create a social networking site that actually makes money is to niche-ify it to the extent that is speaks to a specific type of brand user and all the products or services that can be wrapped around the user. Picture the hot dog . Thats right, you are the hot dog. Your social network, the hot dog. You are going to be interested in all things related to you. 

Now the hot dog has the bun, the ketchup, the mustard, the relish,and the onions. All viable participants in the network. Including our friends chil and cheese. Couple with that will be napkins,  something cold to drink and perhaps to go with the hot dog, a side of chips.

All of these mentioned make perfect sense. They are viable, channel driven, niche driven, complimentary, cross promotional products that speak to the center of the social network universe known as is…the hot dog,

The problems arise when something that is totally irrelevant tries to crash the party. And interestingly enough, you would be surprised how often the following happens:

The best example of a lot of people trying to crash the party is perhaps the frenzy that is Myspace and Facebook. The frenzy of advertisers wanting to take advantage of million and millions of customers waiting(or are they?) to be pitched. Problems can arise from people who try and crash a party that they’re not invited to. Some great examples can be found in Jeremiah Owyangs post on brands that got punked by social media

As an advertiser, one just needs to know and it’s not like it’s that difficult. Are you the windshield, are you the bug? Are you the louisville slugger, are you the ball? Are you the hot dog? are you the bun? Or are you window cleaner that is the upsell to a box of triscuits?

5 Social Media Marketing Tips You Cannot Ignore

As social media marketers race to all things social these days, a lot of them go in with blinders on, assuming that they can learn it on the fly. All they see are the massive amount of numbers flocking to MySpace and Facebook and they want a piece of that. But before they jump in here are 5 things they better not ignore as they attempt to slice up the pie.

1) If you think you are going to just bum rush your social network with product before establishing yourself as a “Playa”, you better think again. You will have zero “street cred” if you go in talking about this product, or this company or how great this service is. If you do that from the get-go, you might as well be playing an instrument under water.


2) Target a niche, not a specific social networking site. One of the most foolish things would be to just assume that you are going just “go to MySpace” and set up shop. With that mindest, you might as well bid on the top spot for the term “mortgage” in Google Adwords. You’ll burn through about $300,000 in one day,you’ll have a ton of clicks and zero conversions. Because you were not targeting the right term, the right people and the right niche. The same holds true for marketing in social networks. Find your people!

3) You better know what you are doing. This applies not only to social networks but all forums in which people have an opportunity to speak to a large group of people. You have to realize that WORDS HAVE POWER if used the wrong way. There is usually some individuals who have more power based on longevity or whatever and you really don’t want to start off on the wrong foot.  Once you have developed a comfort level with the people in the network, and them you, then you can start to pitch a little bit.


4) Don’t underestimate the power of your profile. Contrary to what some might think, a profile will tell a lot about you, what you do, and how well you do it. When creating the profile, be honest but also be humble. There is nothing worse than reading about how great someone thinks of themselves. But there is nothing wrong with success either, You need to strike a balance. Doing it right, will have people wanting to know more about what you do. It’s another way of promoting yourself with subtle ease.

5) Blog about it. Blog often and blog alot. But make sure that instead of selling, you’re telling. There is nothing more viral than blogs, especially if they are good. An extension of your social network persona, will be your blog. If you take it serious, then your network will realize that you take what you do, serious. Be an expert, but also be someone that your social network can rely on for anything. they will find you through your blog eventually.

If you do these things, along with about a dozen more smaller things, then you can set up your business and  yourself for a happy coexistence in the burgeoning social network marketplace. If you don’t so these, you’ll join the other millions of people with empty profiles and blogs with 2 posts in 2 years. It’s your choice.


So do you have any suggestions to anyone who might be considering marketing in social networks? Let’s hear them!