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Inbound marketing is a big buzzword at the moment along with content marketing and brand journalism and a host of other related phrases that are encapsulated by that phrase.

Social Media is of course an important part of your overall Inbound Marketing strategy but the very unfortunate thing is that too many people don’t use it as Inbound Marketing at all. As Gary Vaynerchuk rightly points out in his book “Jab, Jab, Right Hook”, in social media the right to promote is earned with genuine social interaction. You have to really care and really help.

Unfortunately this isn’t how the vast majority of marketing managers see social media, too often it is seen and treated as another channel to be built and to push your own agenda and content through. This view is upside down, the source for what is needed and should be produced should come from the customer through the social channels back to the centre.

An important thing to keep in mind is this view. ”Yes, I understand that you want to tell everyone about the great thing you have, I’m sure it’s great, but I just want my problem solved.”

It’s this more than anything else that search marketing, which is still the behemoth of online and especially inbound marketing, solves and which social media can also be an important channel to. But in order to be truly successful in Social Media and to add real brand value and not just follower numbers you have to remember a very important and very human idea.

To help solve peoples problems you have to listen to what they need, and understand that, 99% of the time, it’s not going to be you. If you are selfish then you only get to interact 1% of the time. If you can learn to be unselfish to talk about other things and not just yourself to really add value then the sky is the limit.

Well maybe not the sky but you get what I mean…

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