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Guest Post: “How do you find the time to use social media?”

By Warren Whitlock

When I started using the technologies that later became known as social media, even before writing Twitter Revolution,  I would have never thought there would come a time when I would get asked every day:

“How do you find the time to use social media?”

As a serial entrepreneur investing and using online connections to build my businesses, I just assumed that I’d only pursue technologies that were good for business. Playing games is not my style.

Blogging, social networking sites, online media and the tools like Twitter are not only a must have for any blog or business that wants to be found online… they will save you time when used right.

Getting Into the Conversations of Customers

At first glance, the conversations fragments you see online look like a waste of time. People talking about TV shows, sports, the weather and what they ate for breakfast. According to the studies we’ve seen on Twitter, 4 out of 5 people never get past setting up an account and wondering what to do next.

The reason these conversations look so frivolous is that you can’t see the context. The writer and the readers likely know each other, maybe met offline, or have engaged in some manner on any number of web sites.

In the past 2 years, we’ve had an unprecedented opportunity to listen in on these conversations. We’ve seen as much as 20% of them are related to some product or service.. the word of mouth that we all knew was happening but could not listen to..

Conversations in any setting are filled with the same phrases and nonsense you might hear in line for a movie, at the next table in a restaurant, or in an airplane.  But when they are posted in public, you can listen, filter out the majority and easily find new leads, new business opportunities and market information that has never before been available.

Social Media Will Revolutionize Your Business

The secret of profitable social media is easy. Just drop the meaning you are used to for media.. this is not an advertising medium.

To succeed online, in business, and in life, remember the golden rule. You will get everything you want if you help enough other people get what they want.

Marketing and social psychology research has proven time and again that reciprocity is not just a good moral code, it is the most powerful of hooks into a customer. When you give a sample, offer free information, or become known as a helpful individual, you draw people to you.

Reciprocity is not quid pro quo. (which I like to translate to “I will scratch your back if you scratch mine”). It goes one step further. Instead of seeking to help someone because they have done or will do something for you, smart marketers have found that giving without expectation of quid pro quo is much more likely to get results.

The simplest example would be offering a drink to someone visiting your office. Offering the beverage without demands always works better than saying “I’ll let you have the drink if you will buy something”. Bottom line oriented marketers have measured the results. You’ll get far more sales when you “let go” and make a gift.  The recipient of the gift feels a social obligation to consider your offer, a much stronger bond that quid pro quo.

Now that we have simple and easy ways to give online… with a quick answer to a question, a referral to an online friend, or just acknowledgement that you are listening, we can invoke reciprocity in just a few seconds.

The result is my marketing mantra for social media…


It’s no different than the attitude you’d have if your biggest potential client walked in the front door or called you on the phone. You’ll drop everything and make sure they are taken care of. However, thanks to social media tools like Twitter and the applications to filter and get pertinent messages, we can do this dozens of times a day.

Start with a search for the keywords that someone looking for help in your industry would enter into a search engine. Twitter search at will work just fine. You’ll find that someone, somewhere is asking a question that you may have heard a million times. Just REPLY to that person with your short answer.

The reader asking may not be in the right geographical or demographic area to buy from you, but thousands or Twitter users will have access to your answer, and see that you are the kind of person that helps others.

We all want to buy from people that we know, like, and trust. Helping others online is the fastest way ever to get to know prospects, give them good reason to like and trust  you and invoke reciprocity.

Listen and Love.. It’s as simple as that.

Warren Whitlock is a blogger, speaker, publisher and marketing strategist for Twitter and social media. He works with authors, entrepreneurs, corporations that want to connect with new markets, attract more leads and sell more. His next book, Profitable Social Media, will be published in 2010.  Warren blogs at

Peter Winick has deep expertise in helping those with deep expertise. He is the CEO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Peter on Twitter!

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