It’s a word I hear a lot. I even use it myself sometimes:

Leverage.

I like the word.

Leverage

Sounds and smells fluid & rubbery. But it actually means to do the opposite. It takes power and muscle to leverage one thing towards the other.

I sometimes hear people say that they want to: “Leverage the power of social media”.

Is that possible?

Well, yes it is.

But certainly not with a Quid Pro Quo attitude. I recommend trying a warm and heartfelt “Are you being served?” instead.

Trust, Relationships, and happy clients: that’s the real stuff you can leverage in social media.

Biggest opportunity B2C social mediaAmazingly, ‘social media’ still remains a mystic phenomenon for many B2C companies. This is because most B2C companies and brands traditionally market their products and services through advertising & promotion.

As a result, most companies enter into social media for all the wrong reasons. They see social media channels, such as Facebook & Twitter, as a great opportunity to get their ad or site in front of as many people as possible.

But is that really the big opportunity of social media?

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While I was searching in Google for the term ‘social media marketing’ Google Suggest gave me the term ‘social media marketing for dummies’. And that means people are appearantly searching for that.

Social Media Marketing Dummies

Google Suggest is a really handy tool to get a grip on long tail searches and it is also a source of inspiration for blog topics. And that’s why I am now writing this post for  ‘social media marketing for dummies’.

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Here’s a classic social media marketing cartoon, first published on Eloqua’s blog (a company for demand creation software) in a guest submission from Valeria Maltoni, business strategist. Check it out:

Eloqua Maltoni Social Media Cartoon

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Import Facebook photo albums into Google PlusUnfortunately, there is not yet an app that automatically moves all your Facebook pictures to Google Plus.

But there is a way around it.

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A few days ago I received my invite for Google Plus and finally got in. Jeey!

I am still pretty psyched about this product. It’s cool! But the question is: is this new social network going to become mainstream? Is it gonna sail or fail?

I still think that the ‘Circles’ functionality is pretty awesome. It allows you to share stuff only with the people in a certain circle.

But herein lies the problem. When I first got into Google Plus, I rushed over to the ‘Circles’ department and was eager to give it horns. But 5 minutes later I was still staring at screen, asking myself two questions:

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Just last week, Google started testing their much talked about social network called ‘Google Plus’.

Emerald Sea painting inspiration Google Plus

At first I was really surprised to see Google launching this product under the Google brand name because ‘social’ just isn’t a part of Google’s brand DNA. Google is about search. To ‘google’ even became a verb.

So, if Google wants to grab marketshare in ‘social’ it would be logical to launch it under a different brand name, right? Just like they took a bite out of the browser market using the brand name Chrome.

But after reading this article in Wired, I understood better why Google is launching this social network under their own brand name:

Google is repositioning itself.

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This week Google started ‘field testing’ it’s new social network called Google Plus with a limited group of users. As a result, the whole internet is now talking about Google Plus.

But getting people talking about their products has never been Google’s problem.

The problem has been in developing ‘social’ products that people actually use. Products like Google Buzz and Google Wave have never been adopted by a mainstream world wide audience.

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This morning I’m giving a presentation for the social media event organised by Onbegrensd Talent. More about Onbegrend Talent here (Dutch only).

The deck I’ll present is above. The purpose of my presentation is to help flip people’s headset.

Why?

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Inbound marketing reasonsOne of the most important changes in the world of marketing over the past years, is the shift from outbound to inbound marketing.

Traditional outbound marketing strategies focus on finding customers. Examples of outbound marketing are TV advertising, print- and banner advertising, billboard campaigns, e-mail marketing, cold calling, etc.

Web 2.0 marketing strategies focus on customers finding you. Inbound marketing makes use of search engine optimisation (SEO), social media, and content marketing.

In 2011, you simply cannot afford to not have an inbound marketing strategy. Here’s why:

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