Foreword by Mari Smith
Mark L. Eldridge, Elsom Eldridge III, & Linda J. Parker
PUT SOCIAL MEDIA
TO WORK FOR YOU
WITHOUT SPENDING A
THE 6-BOOK SOCIAL MEDIA SERIES
Pre-Press ‘Beta’ Edition
How to Use
to Brand Yourself as
The Obvious Expert
in 20 Minutes a Day
Book One in a Six-Part Series on Social Media Marketing
Using blogging, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and
YouTube, you can position yourself as
The Obvious Expert without spending a fortune
or exploding your brain.
entrepreneurs, and innovators,
Mark and Elsom Eldridge
combine their knowledge and
experience with the winning
words of author Linda Parker to
develop this 6-book series on
the strategies of Social Media.
Mark L. Eldridge, Elsom Eldridge III, &
Linda J. Parker
About the Authors
Mark Eldridge is a visionary and innovator. He specializes in taking ideas and
turning them into profitable businesses. Elsom Eldridge III is a businessman. He is
an expert in making ho-hum businesses stop humming and start singing. And
Linda J. Parker is a wizard of words. She moves, motivates, instructs, and inspires
through the written word.
All three are students and masters of Social Media Marketing. Students, because
they recognize that business marketing is a study of a lifetime and the learning
never stops. Masters, because they have invested the time to analyze and
understand new media, learn the best strategies, sort the chaff from the kernels of
wheat, and develop a plan by which businesses of all sizes can master and
maintain an engaging social media presence in their marketplace.
MARK L. ELDRIDGE, is the founder and chairman of NetRevMedia Corp. and the co-
author of the business bestseller, The Obvious Expert.
His career has included notable positions as Co-Founder & Chairman of a leading
Inc 5000 internet marketing company and Executive Director of the International
Guild of Professional Consultants. With 25-plus years of marketing and sales
experience, Mark has produced over 10,000 seminars, involving more than a
million participants. As a certified Social Media Consultant and Social Media
Marketing Specialist, he consults with many of the leading companies and experts
in the industry.
ELSOM ELDRIDGE III CPC, CPMC, and Certified Social Media Consultant, is the
President and CEO of Obvious Expert Marketing LLC. He is a creative executive
who spent over 25 years in marketing and management, jump-starting
productivity, growth, and cost reduction for a Fortune 500 leading retailer.
Elsom uses his unique understanding of retail operations, brand marketing, new
business development, program management, internet marketing, and new media
to help companies and individuals create holistic social media marketing strategies
that both function and soar.
LINDA J. PARKER is a published author, professional corporate blogger, and
advertising specialist. With a twenty-five year background that includes ad
agencies, curriculum design, and years as a corporate VP, she is a freelancer by
free choice, in demand for her skills at blending social media marketing and
search engine optimization with enlightening content and copy.
Three creative and passionate leaders in their fields … with the experience to
recognize that far-reaching change is underway in business today. Energized to
take on the challenge of helping companies use real-world tools to transition from
old strategies to revolutionary new ways of interacting with consumers. And
confident that through the power of social media marketing, no business is too
small to carve out a place as an Obvious Expert, even against industry’s top dogs
and high rollers.
ABOUT THE AUTHORS ....................................................................................................................... IV
FOREWORD BY MARI SMITH ....................................................................................................... VII
THE OBVIOUS EXPERT..................................................................................................................... VII
FOCUS ........................................................................................................................................... VIII
SERVICE .......................................................................................................................................... IX
VISIBILITY ........................................................................................................................................ IX
INTRODUCTION BY ELSOM ELDRIDGE, JR. .............................................................................. XII
SOCIAL MEDIA DEMYSTIFIED ............................................................................................................ XII
CHAPTER 1| .........................................................................................................................................
SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS: POWERFUL … HIGHLY EFFECTIVE …& UNAVOIDABLE ................ 14
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING, REASONS TO GET ON BOARD ................................................................ 15
CHAPTER 2| .........................................................................................................................................
IN PERSPECTIVE, SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING IS NEW … AND NOT SO NEW ..................... 19
THE GREAT EQUALIZER ................................................................................................................... 20
CHAPTER 3| .........................................................................................................................................
CAN YOU SPARE 20 MINUTES? HONESTLY, CAN YOU NOT? ................................................. 22
YOU CAN’T DO IT ALL; DO WHAT MATTERS MOST ............................................................................ 24
CHAPTER 4| .........................................................................................................................................
A PLAN THAT’S RIGHT FOR YOUR TIMELINES AND YOUR BUSINESS .................................. 26
BOOK 2: HOW TO USE BLOGS AND BLOGGING TO BRAND YOURSELF AS THE OBVIOUS EXPERT .......... 28
BOOK 3: HOW TO USE FACEBOOK TO BRAND YOURSELF AS THE OBVIOUS EXPERT ........................... 30
BOOK 4: HOW TO USE TWITTER TO BRAND YOURSELF AS THE OBVIOUS EXPERT............................... 31
BOOK 5: HOW TO USE LINKEDIN TO BRAND YOURSELF AS THE OBVIOUS EXPERT .............................. 33
BOOK 6: HOW TO USE YOUTUBE TO BRAND YOURSELF AS THE OBVIOUS EXPERT ............................. 34
CHAPTER 5| .........................................................................................................................................
WHO ARE YOU AND WHERE CAN YOU GET HELP .................................................................... 36
YOUR ONLINE PRESENCE ................................................................................................................ 36
HELP! ............................................................................................................................................. 38
AND MORE HELP!............................................................................................................................ 39
Social Media Consultant,
Speaker & Trainer, Mari Smith is
the Founder of the International
Association of Social Media
calls Mari the Pied Piper of the
online world, personal branding,
& a relationship marketing whiz.
Foreword by Mari Smith
The Obvious Expert
What should be ‘obvious’ is that being an ‘expert’ is no longer enough. In order to
thrive in business today you have to be a sociable obvious expert. Or should I say,
“You get to be a sociable obvious expert,” because engaging with the consumers
and marketplace that supports your business is not really a task, it’s a privilege.
It’s also an absolutely do-or-die critical process that includes both defining yourself
as the go-to person (or company) in your field or niche and then using the social
media tools so wonderfully explained in this book to help the world see that you
truly are the obvious expert.
But can anyone become an obvious expert? I think so—depending on many
factors I’ve learned over the years that I’d love to share with you.
I was a diehard employee for the first half of my career from leaving school at a
mere 15 years old in Scotland to 17 years later when I left to come to California. I
had many jobs in a variety of fields. Then I got a taste of entrepreneurialism in
1999 when I came to San Diego and I’ve never looked back. But, I still had a
variety of job titles and worked in a few different industries.
It wasn’t until early 2007 when my diverse career path finally made total sense to
me. It was as though every skill I’d learned, all my experiences and all my innate
talents melded together into my current career as one of the leading authorities on
social media marketing. It didn’t happen overnight; I like to say I’m an overnight
success ten years in the making.
So, since I’ve been leading the way as the obvious expert in social media for the
past two years, what made all the difference?
First, absolute crystal clear FOCUS. I like to think of the word focus as an acronym
for “follow one course until successful.” Though I could easily have bolted on any
number of “multiple streams of income,” I chose to stick relentlessly to one area of
focus, which was essentially a blend of my two passions: the world of relationships
+ the world of internet marketing = social media.
I began with Facebook and became really known as the go-to person for
successfully using this top online social networking platform for business. I got
written up on FastCompany.com and they dubbed me the “Pied Piper of the
Online World.” So I embraced this playful title and began using it in all my
I love it when I know clearly what people in my community do because I love to
introduce and connect them with their audience and potential clients. But I can
only do this when it’s really obvious what the person does.
Second, I focused on coming from service, adding value, contributing quality
information and building quality connections with no agenda.
My motto is “relationships first, business second.” I’m a stand for best practices,
proper etiquette and respect in all business matters, especially the burgeoning
area of social media.
I also love to build people up, compliment, thank and empower. In fact, I have a
theory that social media has become so prevalent and successful because it
meets the fundamental human need to belong. People want to know that they
matter, that they are heard, acknowledged, and included.
I also don’t believe in competition per say. Rather, I like to think of it as co-
opetition. There’s only one you. Just be yourself, because everyone else is already
taken. Though you might get inspired by others or want to emulate certain role
models, it’s important to cultivate your own unique style.
Third, rather than focusing on the “mousetrap,” I focused on the “path.” What I
mean by that is this: you may recall the saying, “If you build a better mousetrap,
the world will beat a path to your door.” That is no longer true. You may have the
best mousetrap in the world, but if you’re not visible to your target audience, you’ll
go broke. However, by focusing on extreme visibility, leaving “breadcrumbs” and
your footprints in all the right places, your target audience and extended network
being feeling naturally drawn to you. They want to know more and start following
you, interacting with you, and inquiring about you.
I call this path “radical strategic visibility,” = essentially meaning you are seen
everywhere by all the right people, in all the right places at all the right times. For
me, I primarily focused on Facebook, then quickly included Twitter, three blogs
and an array of related sites, tools, widgets and techniques.
What ends up happening when your focus comes from service and creating
radical strategic visibility, is that your friends, fans, and followers start dubbing
YOU as the obvious expert. Your message is so clear as to what you do, how you
do it and who you serve, that your community can’t help but rave about you, do
business with you and refer you business. They become your evangelists.
Then you can really own that you’re an expert and have a lot to offer the right
audience. You own this expertise not from ego, but from a place of giving, service,
helping others. And, even from a place of “hustling,” as Gary Vaynerchuk says.
You have to be willing to go the extra mile, put in just that bit more extra time, wow
people with how much you care.
Gary is the founder of WineLibraryTV.com—he’s the obvious wine expert but also
an extremely talented expert in the area of new media too. Gary cares with an
absolute PASSION. He’s also extremely authentic—he’s a “take me or leave me,
no bull” kind of guy and I love that about him.
See, you have to be willing to be super transparent in the world of social media.
This is equally true for the solopreneur and the Fortune 500 brand. It’s important to
your success that you’re seen and heard. You may even need to be vulnerable. If
ever you make a mistake, it’s important to clear things up.
Social media has really leveled the playing field. As Guy Kawasaki says,
“nobodies are the new somebodies.” I interpret this to mean that anyone can
become The Obvious Expert—you just have to be laser focused, add tons of value
and be consistently visible.
I like to say it’s not too late to become an early adopter—social media is still in its
infancy. But you’ll need to hurry; you’ll need to hustle. This book provides exactly
what you need to fully understand and begin to integrate and implement social
media strategies into your overall marketing.
Mark Eldridge, Elsom Eldridge III, and Linda J. Parker have done a superb job of
trawling the online and offline world to bring you the absolute best of the best in
social media knowledge and expertise. Read every word and then get into
I look forward to referring you business as The Obvious Expert in your field! And I
hope we have the opportunity to connect both in the virtual world and in person.
To your success,
Elsom Eldridge, Jr. EdM (Harvard
Elsom Eldridge, Jr. EdM
University) CPC, CPMC, is an
author, speaker, coach, and CPMC,
(Harvard University) CPC,
is an author, speaker, coach,
branding expert. Known as “the
and branding expert. Known as
Consultant’s Consultant,” he has
“the Consultant’s Consultant,”
co-authored books with Howard
Shenson, co-authored books Mark
he has Dan Kennedy, and with
Eldridge. Shenson, Dan Kennedy,
and Mark Eldridge.
Introduction by Elsom Eldridge, Jr.
Social Media Demystified
How much do I enjoy writing the introduction to a book series authored by my
sons, Mark and Elsom III, and my good friend, Linda Parker? If you are a parent,
you know the pride that I feel over my sons’ accomplishment, as well as pride in
their many achievements in life. They have proven themselves to be thought
leaders and innovators in the fields of entrepreneurship and business.
I understand why they wrote this series of books—the need is enormous. And I
see the tremendous value that the books offer to businesspeople today. Whether
you are an entrepreneur, a consultant, coach, or involved in sales, marketing,
management, or customer service on any level, you would have to be living under
a rock not to be acutely aware of the dramatic changes that are occurring.
Ad execs in their corporate offices no longer drive business trends. Instead,
consumers have taken the wheel. Business has become a matter of keep up or be
left behind as consumers speak out and take control. Companies are waking to
the new reality. Business is not in charge anymore—the consumer is calling the
shots, and social media and the power of the internet play a key role in this
Is such dramatic change a problem?
Only if you let it be. Every businessperson is also a consumer. We’ve all been on
the short end of a sales transaction, the victim of poor customer service, or
frustrated by limited choices and a one-size fits all mentality that doesn’t really fit
anyone at all. The empowerment of the consumer is probably long overdue and is
certainly to be expected in a world where “business as usual” has been anything
but usual in recent times.
Now is a pivotal period in cultural history. You are witnessing change and
experiencing both the opportunity it yields and the growing pains that inevitably
ensue. If you are in business right now, you clearly see the shifting topography
and you know that if you plan to be in business tomorrow, you must be part of the
Great job on the book series Mark, Elsom, and Linda! You have created a how-to
guide that makes social media manageable and maintainable no matter how
demanding a person’s schedule. You have demystified the platforms and turned
what feels like a foreign language into ABC’s and 123’s for using social media to
build or grow a business. How to Use Social Media to Brand Yourself as The
Obvious Expert in 20 Minutes a Day is a lifesaver for the business men and
women challenged to march bravely into an exciting business climate, unlike any
that has ever been before.
Warm regards to the businesspeople of today &
The Obvious Experts of tomorrow,
Elsom Eldridge, Jr.
SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS: POWERFUL …
HIGHLY EFFECTIVE …& UNAVOIDABLE
S ocial Media … New Media … whatever term you use to describe it, consumer-
engaged internet content is clearly today’s hottest business marketing topic.
Study the messaging that’s out there and you will find millions and millions of
internet users agog over blogs and atwitter over tweets.
According to the people “who know,” if you (or your business brand) is not clearly
established on a company blog, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and YouTube, then
you are standing alone on the dock waving goodbye to a ship that has long ago
sailed and may never return to pick up straggling passengers.
But are you stuck on the shore? Resistant to climb aboard what you think could be
a ship of fools? Maybe you are attracted to the idea of using social media for
business branding, yet you feel that you do not have the time, first to learn to use
all of these new internet-based tools, and then to keep them in play with any
measure of consistency. If you are a sole proprietor, solopreneur, or business of
one, you already make up your entire management, labor, accounting, billing,
advertising, marketing, and custodial staff (as well as any other chore your
business requires), so how can you possibly take on an additional task?
Even if yours is a business with a small staff of employees, as the business owner,
manager, or marketing director, you are still hamstrung by the call to, “be all things
to all people” within your company. Where will you find the time to learn and
implement social media strategies, especially since social media doesn’t feel like
any type of marketing you have ever
done before nor is it clear how it could “Just like those of us who got ahead of
possibly contribute to your bottom line? the curve with search engine
optimization during the past decade,
Whatever your arguments against using and were able to compete online very
social media marketing, once you effectively against billion dollar Fortune
genuinely understand the application and 500 corporations, it’s happening all over
power of the tools, you will realize that again, leveling the playing field for
the arguments in favor of using it greatly those who learn and implement an
outweigh those against. Very simply put, effective social media strategy.”
social media is inexpensive, targeted, Mark Eldridge
and fresh. It is a great leveler of the
playing field, enabling businesses of all sizes to interact with the marketplace,
turning consumers into customers, and customers into lifelong clients. And
perhaps most importantly, social media marketing tools provide you with consumer
feedback of a nature and with an immediacy that until now, the business world
has never experienced.
Social Media Marketing, Reasons to Get on Board
Regardless of your current thinking on social media marketing, common sense
tells you that, if it works, it is an extremely cost-effective way to reach your market.
Many of the tools of social media require only the commitment of your time, with
zero expenditure of dollars or only a nominal expense. In fact, if you choose a fully
hands-on approach, you could literally launch an entire social media marketing
campaign without ever spending a penny.
Not only is social media marketing dramatically more cost effective than traditional
forms of advertising and marketing, it is overwhelmingly more direct. Social media
enables you to eliminate advertising’s “middle layer”. You are no longer dependent
on advertising agencies, designers, and ad buyers to interpret and shape your
message. Third party validation sources such as the Arbitron or Nielsen ratings,
which may or may not have ever been a valid market indicator for you, don’t even
come into play. Social media marketing empowers you to use the internet media
you select; in the ways you choose to use them, with the capacity to adjust your
strategy and your message daily, hourly, even moment by moment.
But your common sense may also raise that nagging question of whether or not
social media marketing actually works. Before you proclaim that you are too busy
engaging new clients and growing your business to spend time tweeting about
what you had for lunch, hold that thought for a moment.
No matter what your specialty or niche, whether you are a plumber, an orthopedic
surgeon, a government contractor, a retailer of sporting equipment or the psychic
advisor to Hollywood stars, social media is already defining your brand.
Your competitors either are involved in social media campaigns or soon will be,
and your clients and potential clients are already there (waiting for you). Even if
you have no internet presence and you are not participating in social media
marketing on any level, your brand is presently being defined by this marketing
Whether or not you show up:
Consumers are defining your brand by speaking out about your
business specifically or your industry in general. What they say
may be complimentary and positive or it may be off base and
Your competitors who are already using social media are
responding to consumer feedback. They are also passively
defining your brand, by proactively defining their own.
Your absence sends a message to your marketplace, proclaiming,
“I am not paying attention to what you consumers think,” or “I am
too outdated to be part of this.”
Much like those technology-resistant businesspeople of twenty or thirty years ago
who said, “I am not going to use computers” and today are living fossils, when a
movement rises and becomes woven into the life fabric of a culture, those who
refuse to accept it are quickly left far behind, standing in a very lonely place.
You can continue to manufacture buggy whips because you think automobiles will
never catch on, but brace yourself for what is going to happen to your business.
Or, you can open yourself up to the possibilities this new marketing adventure
holds and discover that perhaps there really is a great deal to be said for the
advantages of driving a car and the speed and convenience with which it enables
you to reach your destination.
Plan Your Work and Work Your Plan
In the current business economy, there is little room for error. You simply cannot
afford to be the postscript or afterthought.
Your one and only choice, if you are ever going to transition from overworked to
overpaid is to become the top-of-the-mind, go-to authority of whatever it is you do.
You must be recognized and accepted as the Obvious Expert in your field or niche
and in today’s world, this requires you to put the strategies of social media
marketing to work for you.
Social media is designed to be user-friendly for the masses (including you). You
can put it in play for your business with amazing ease and simplicity. Hands down,
it is cheaper than whatever marketing you are already doing (although it is not a
replacement for other types of marketing in which you may be involved, and which
you will need to continue).
Best of all, using the 20-minute a day strategy taught in this book series, you
genuinely can start reaping the benefits of social media marketing’s potential
without spending a fortune or exploding your brain.
Study the chart below to see how the 20-minute a day plan can work, and how the
five social media strategies targeted in this book and the related books in the
series all work together. To see the full version of the chart, click here:
http://bit.ly/smschart where you can print the chart, and use it as a step-by-step
guide for developing your own plan for social media marketing.
In Perspective, Social Media Marketing
is New … and Not So New
Wow, social media … so how is this different from a bunch of kids on MySpace
putting up photos and personal information that a few years from now they are
going to deeply regret publishing on the World Wide Web?
Well for starters, you are not a kid anymore. You are not going to be using social
media as a way to ‘hear yourself talk’ or
impress your friends. If you did approach “As the old adage goes, ‘People do
social media marketing in this way, it business with people they KNOW, LIKE,
would backfire on you as surely as it has and TRUST.’ There isn’t a faster way to
done on all the teens (and adults) who connect with people than what is now
have used it recklessly and then available with social media networking,
experienced the damage that ensues. as long as you use it properly with the
right strategy and position yourself as
Your time is precious. Your business- the go-to person—The Obvious Expert.”
building efforts have to be targeted. You
must be using the tools of social media in
ways that are planned and defined,
otherwise, you could actually be doing more harm than good!
Social marketing is not new; social media marketing is new only in terms of the
medium itself. When Mr. Brown of Brown’s General Mercantile offered Mr. and
Mrs. Cody advice on how to repair the broken lock on their gate, he was using
social marketing to enhance his business. If the Codys needed extra parts to
repair the lock, Mr. Brown knew they would probably come to him. And in the
future, when the lock ultimately needed replacing, the Codys’ wringer washer
needed a new hose, or anything else broke down on the homestead, the Cody’s
would take their business to Mr. Brown because he had been so helpful, offering
good advice and asking nothing in return.
Later on, when Mrs. Cody told both her sister and her best friend how Mr. Brown
had assisted them, Brown’s General Mercantile would likely gain three new
customers, not just one.
Now speed up this process dramatically and multiply it exponentially. In a fast-
paced world, where people have too many choices and not enough reasons to
differentiate one business from another, social media marketing puts Mr. Brown’s
trustworthy, helpful, and friendly persona to work for you ‘on steroids’.
The intent is the same as it has always been in interacting in the marketplace. Be
helpful, personable, and approachable. Give people a reason to trust you and to
like you. Reach out in ways that are more relational than just saying, “I sell locks
for gates and hoses for washing machines.”
The Great Equalizer
Social media is your chance, even if you make up the entire ensemble in a one-
man band. No matter what size your storefront, how small your staff, or whether
you have a store or a staff at all, on the World Wide Web, these things don’t
You matter. The quality you deliver matters, along with your experience, your
talent, and your passion. Most of all, your willingness to commit to building a
relationship with your present and potential clients and customers, matters to them
Social media marketing is a powerful tool,
“The reason President Obama’s social
a great equalizer that makes the voice of media campaign was so effective was
your small business resonate as loudly that his strategists leveraged all the key
and clearly as that of your competition. social media tools together with a
Social media sites are platforms, or in this combined strategy versus focusing on
case a group of similar platforms. In a just one social media platform—you can
sense, you can pile one of these do the same thing; use the same
platforms on top of the other, put your leverage no matter what size your
business or company on your back, climb business is currently.”
to the very top of what you have created, Mark Eldridge
and then stand tall among your rivals and
Can You Spare 20 Minutes? Honestly,
Can You Not?
There are millions of Americans with
“Just like every other part of your
free time on their hands right now business, with social media you need to
… newly unemployed, they would give set reasonable goals and expectations
anything to be dealing with the and then track the results. Even in new
demands, routines, and pressures of media—the old ways of “Inspecting
work once again. You decide. Do you What You Expect” still apply. There are
have 20 minutes a day to strengthen many tools available for monitoring how
and stabilize your market presence and your social media efforts are paying off,
your client relationships? just remember though, it’s not a sprint.
It’s a marathon for long-term business
You may wonder how you, the small success with strong relationships.”
businessperson or solopreneur, can
add social media marketing to your
already overloaded schedule. You can
do it, because you really don’t have any other choice.
If you are working for yourself or in a small business, it’s a given that you don’t
have much in the way of spare time. So no sugar-coating and no claims here that
implementing the best strategies of social media marketing won’t take up some of
your already overloaded workday. But if you follow the guidelines in this book and
in each of the other five books in the series, you can put social media to work for
you in fresh, contemporary ways, even if you are a complete beginner.
This social media marketing plan:
1. Works for both newbies and more experienced marketers.
2. Is effective for both small businesses and solo
3. Has distilled the most important information you should
know about social media marketing into a 20-minute-a-
4. Lets you bypass the racket and misinformation coming
from self-proclaimed gurus of social media.
5. Helps you shape your brand on a whole new level.
6. Introduces you to tools that are new and extremely
effectual for interacting with your market, through
approaches that are timeless.
7. Offers strategies that range from no-cost to low-cost.
8. Provides techniques that you can implement yourself,
without assistants, as well as suggestions for how to find
people to help you.
9. Helps you have access to the nearly instantaneous
market feedback social media marketing provides.
10. Can be implemented in stages, as your schedule permits.
You Can’t Do it All; Do What Matters Most
The books in this social media series deal with five of the top social media
marketing tools: (1) blogging, (2) Facebook, (3) Twitter, (4) LinkedIn, and (5)
YouTube. Businesspeople in some fields may discover that their consumer and
customer base frequents other sites as well. Musicians are often drawn to
MySpace while photographers, for example, may use Flickr.
As you start reading the series, you will discover that each book goes in-depth,
explaining the basics of how to use one of the five targeted tools in a quality
manner to benefit your brand and your
business. At the end of every book you
“As a business owner you really only
will find pertinent, in-the-trenches advice
have two main priorities for making your
from some of today’s Obvious Experts business successful: (1) Marketing your
of social media marketing, sharing their business, and (2) Spending time on
experiences or best practices. income producing activities. Don’t get
them out of order. Time is money; don’t
The suggested pace is 20 minutes per waste it on mundane tasks that you
day during your learn and set-up period could easily outsource to a certified
and 20 minutes per day thereafter for trained virtual assistant.”
maintenance. Even reading each of
these short books will only take around
20 minutes of your time.
Soon you may find yourself spending more time on social media because you are
enjoying what you are doing, realizing a return for your efforts, or feeling the “high”
that comes when you connect with other people in a meaningful way discussing
your area of expertise.
You may have days you skip your social media marketing efforts all together and
other times when you get ahead and “bank” your work for timed delivery at a later
date—this is a good approach. You want to be consistent, but you do not want to
feel tied to it. If your social media marketing projects feel like an anchor, they will
quickly drop to the bottom of your to-do list and that ship you finally boarded will
once again be going nowhere.
Keep it fun. Many of the people with whom you will be interacting will become your
online friends and future clients. Some will be businesspersons, consultants,
coaches, and solopreneurs much like you. Within this special peer group, you will
discover that relationships frequently develop into a support network of
businesspeople who exchange ideas and help each other along the way.
Customer interaction aside, social media marketing is often worth your time purely
for the information exchange it can provide and the valued business alliances that
The more you delve into the vast communication exchange that social media
offers, the more you will discover gurus, mentors, and role models who inspire
you. Don’t be afraid to emulate things that you see that are working well. For
decades, the advertising and marketing industry has praised originality yet
modeled imitation and replication. Be creative to the degree that you have the time
and talents to be. Never plagiarize. But rest assured that successful social media
marketing never calls on you to reinvent the wheel. As Mari Smith points out, “Just
A Plan that’s Right for Your Timelines
and Your Business
In exploring the social media marketing
“Like any other effective marketing
efforts of others, you will begin to see your strategy, you need to have a plan. If
own best direction and develop specifics someone just jumps into one of the
for your plan. Some of the five tools that social networks, without first assessing
this book series targets will work better for where his or her clients are and
you than do others. And while you won’t planning an engagement strategy, that
be devoting the same level of attention to businessperson will most likely fail to
all social media areas, until you put your recognize any benefit from social media
line in the water, you can’t even guess and is even more likely to damage his
where your fish will be biting. online reputation.”
Elsom Eldridge III
With experience, you will discover where
your particular market and potential clients
frequent. Here are three easy ways to begin to understand more about where you
will be connecting with your market, who’s successfully reaching them already,
and what your prospective clients and customers are looking to find. … Because
where your prospects are is where you need to be.
GOOGLE ALERTS: www.google.com/alerts
This free feature from Google lets you sign up to receive email
updates on any topics you identify. You can specify what word or
words you want to be updated about, and how frequently you receive
these updates as emails.
Your updates can be from web content, news, blogs, groups, videos,
or all of the above and will provide you incredible insights about your
brand, your reputation, your competition, and many other aspects of
your business. Google even provides a cheat sheet to help you make
the best use of your alerts: www.google.com/help/cheatsheet.html
VIRAL HEAT: www.viralheat.com
While Viral Heat is a social media monitoring tool you pay to receive,
it comes in a variety of plans, starting at around ten dollars a month.
Using this service, you can receive an overview of the activity on
multiple social media sites involving your name, your brand, or any
other term you choose to target.
TWITTER SEARCH: www.search.twitter.com
What you may not yet realize is that social media sites are also search
engines. And in the case of Twitter, a highly effective search engine.
Every Twitter post worldwide is available through Twitter Search,
letting you build a timeline of updates about any keyword or search
term. When it comes to “trending topics,” Twitter Search means you
are not viewing what a search engine has indexed … you are viewing
real-time what is on the top of people’s minds.
Tweetbeep is a way to keep track of Twitter conversations that
mention, your company, product, your website, blog, or your name—
even if the tweeter uses a shortened URL. Tweetbeep is a free service
with a for-fee component that adds additional services.
Book 2: How to Use Blogs and Blogging to Brand Yourself as
The Obvious Expert
In many ways, blogging marked the beginning of social media marketing as a form
of web-based communication that was neither news nor advertising. The term
“blog,” which is a synthesized word combining “web” and “log,” first began to
appear around 1999, describing what were primarily online journals or personal
diaries. Today’s blogs incorporate everything from a corporate dialogue centering
around a field of business, to rants, news sources, aficionado sites, exposés,
topical sites, and of course, the
personal diary blog. “Blogging is one the most effective
tools I’ve seen consultants and
Blogs are used in a variety of ways by companies use to position themselves
businesses to extend their brand. Blogs as the obvious expert as well as give the
that permit readers to leave comments search engines powerful new fresh
can become a forum of communication content to help move them up in the
flowing between the writer and the rankings. When you commit to running
readers and among the readers a blog though, it’s a commitment–that
means continuing to do it long after
themselves. Blogs also provide a way
you’re first excited about it. There’s
for businesses to update their
nothing that will discredit you faster
communication far more frequently
than a blog that hasn’t had new content
than they would typically update their posted for over a month–it’s basically
website. stating, ‘Closed: Out of Business.’”
A blog enables you to reveal yourself to Mark Eldridge
your market, to show a personal side
and develop a friend-to-friend rapport with your readers. You do not have to stay
purely on the topic of your business, and in fact, it is actually better to blog and
expand your topic, incorporating related news, opinions, and helpful tips or
A good blog is a proving ground. When you pack your blog with helpful information
and in-depth facts, you validate to your readership that you are, in fact, the expert
on this topic and very much in-touch with the world around you.
Besides laying a foundation for your social media marketing, your blog is the
nucleus of your social media presence. All of your other social media efforts are
put into place so that you can engage with others and eventually bring them back
to your blog.
You can (and should) energize your blog with multi-media by using it to showcase
your Twitter comments, your own YouTube videos (and related or highly viral
videos from others), podcasts, MP3 files, PowerPoint (using SlideShare)
presentations, and any other media that adds dimension, texture, and interest to
And when it comes to search engine optimization, your blog serves as high-octane
fuel for linking to your other websites and social media sites. Think of blogs and
blogging as a main course of linkbait served up with a large serving of juice to
Google or other search engines to help move you quickly up in the search
While there are any number of blogs platforms you could use (or build), Blogger
and WordPress are two of the most popular. Many claim Blogger offers the easiest
set-up, but users who are loyal to WordPress appreciate the fact that it is highly
search engine friendly.
WordPress is available in a .com and a .org option. WordPress.com offers you free
blog hosting and an easy set-up. WordPress.org is an option for a non-WordPress
hosted blog, meaning that you have to arrange web hosting, set up your own blog
back-up, and take care of other blog maintenance chores. But WordPress.org
affords you many choices for upgrading your themes and your plug-ins, ultimately
creating a greater usability, and even the option to edit your source code and
database. While some of this discussion may be blog-gibberish to you if you are a
blog novice, you will be amazed at how quickly you can be “talking the talk”
Book 3: How to Use Facebook to Brand Yourself as The
Facebook (www.facebook.com) may have started on college campuses (first used
at Harvard University by its developer Mark Zuckerberg, who at that time was a
student there), but Facebook is anything but kid’s stuff now.
Consistently ranked as one of the top-visited websites and one of the most used
social networks, Facebook functions as a tool that makes it easy to share
comments (written on ‘The Wall’), images, links, events, and videos with everyone
who is your “Friend”.
Your Personal Profile is a place for you and 5000 of your closest friends (the cap
on how many people can have access to you personal profile). But because
personal profile pages are not indexed by Google, they have their limitations, so
immediately start building your Fan Page. Fan Pages and Group Pages afford you
more visibility and more options, including the distinction to give your Fan Page a
customized URL (selected by you, once you reach 100 fans), reinforcing your
brand and making it much easier to direct traffic to your site.
Additionally, your Fan Page lets you send notifications to your fans and to target
who receives the message—you can even target who you permit to become your
fan using criteria such as gender, age, or country. While Facebook does not permit
the kind of ‘decorating’ you see visually personalizing MySpace pages, there are
more than 300,000 applications (apps) for Facebook enabling you to customize
your visitor’s experience.
Facebook website to set up a profile: www.Facebook.com
Facebook website to set up a Facebook Business Page:
Facebook website to look into advertising on Facebook (called social
A Facebook badge offers a way you can share your Facebook information on
other websites in a customizable format. On the bottom of your Facebook profile
page, you’ll find a link to make a badge—it’s your way of sharing your Facebook
page with everyone, even non-Facebook users.
How to Use Facebook to Brand Yourself as The Obvious Expert takes you through
the steps of setting up your Personal Page Profile; identifying relevant Facebook
groups; setting up your Facebook Business Page, using Facebook to connect with
your blog, dealing with advertising and Fan Pages; and a variety of other ways you
can expand your use of Facebook, unleashing its social media marketing potential.
Additional recommended reading from master blogger, Mari Smith:
Book 4: How to Use Twitter to Brand Yourself as The Obvious
Although people use Twitter in many different ways, the basic concept is that
Twitter is a “micro blog,” delivering instant “bursts” of communication. When you
send or receive communication on Twitter, it comes in the form of tweets.
Tweeting to your followers (people who have chosen to receive your tweets) is an
excellent way to build a relationship and expand your brand’s identity.
Twitter enables you to blog ‘in between’ blogs (even tweeting from your cell
phone), giving you the impact of a sound bite by which you share news, humor,
wisdom, encouragement, or just relevant factoids that your followers will
appreciate. But followers are a debatable topic within the world of Twitter social
marketers. Follow everyone? Follow no one? Encourage vast numbers of people
to follow you?
The idea of accumulating a massive body count following you on Twitter is a huge
ego boost and in some situations yields tremendous value for reaching out to the
largest audience possible. But having a small number of Twitter followers, people
who actually represent your target business market, can also be extremely
Some marketing strategies are best delivered by a shotgun approach where your
effort is widely scattered but may not be deeply felt, while other areas benefit from
a targeted approach where you zero in on a smaller mark and hit with more
intensity. Twitter gives you the opportunity to choose which approach is right for
“Using the real-time search capability of
In the book, How to Use Twitter to Twitter is paramount for any business
Brand Yourself as The Obvious Expert professional who wants to know what’s
you’ll come to understand the rules and being said about his or her brand or
principles of Twitter. This will greatly competition. Real-time search is the
future of the internet, and one of the key
help you discern the Twitter from the
reasons social media is here to stay.”
glitter, while reaping the solid gold
benefits Twitter affords businesses and Elsom Eldridge III
entrepreneurs today. You’ll also learn
how to set up your Twitter page, what to tweet, when to tweet, and how to retweet.
You will learn how to automate the business of twittering, creating greater outreach
while requiring less of your time through the use of Twitter-based tools to multiply
your effectiveness, make Twitter account management easier, and sort out the
matter of followers and following.
Although Twitter limits you to 140 characters in each message, those characters
can be hyperlinks to anywhere you want to take your followers. Photos, videos,
blogs, documents, websites, and even the text of entire books are all possibilities.
Use a service like www.bit.ly to shorten your URL and track responses to your
As you begin to understand Twitter, its potential will amaze you and you’ll find it is
one of the easiest ways to feed other aspects of your social marketing. Once you
start feeding this little bird, you are not going to believe all the different ways it will
begin to sing.
Book 5: How to Use LinkedIn to Brand Yourself as The
LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com) is a professional networking site. Where once
consumers checked the credibility of businesses by looking for an advertisement in
the telephone directory, checking for a company’s website replaced the phone
book confirmation, with LinkedIn perhaps well on its way to replacing both as the
go-to quick step for obtaining an instant overview of a businessperson or a
company. A consumer or potential new business associate can quickly learn more
about you on LinkedIn than in any other way previously available.
Through the use of “Connections” you can
build a network of other professionals who “Marketing is going through a
serve to endorse you and your work. But revolution just like the rest of society.
For those of us who built sizable
taking your LinkedIn professional profile to
businesses in the past using old media,
a higher level calls for some inside
we need to realize that was the past. It’s
information. How to Use LinkedIn to Brand become self-evident with the demise of
Yourself as The Obvious Expert shows you major local newspapers that interaction
how to make your profile keyword rich and in the world has changed and those who
targeted to your niche. aren’t using new media as part of their
marketing strategy are getting further
Here are three more steps you can take to and further behind.”
elevate the social media marketing power
of your LinkedIn profile: Mark Eldridge
1. Join groups; participate in groups; and start meaningful
2. Provide answers to posted questions and become recognized as
an expert—maybe even as an obvious expert—in your field or
3. Integrate your WordPress blog with your LinkedIn profile page.
LinkedIn is an easy social media site to utilize, and while it has a more narrow
purpose than some other types of social media sites, it’s business marketing value
to you as a “cyber-endorser” of your professionalism and skills can be extremely
Book 6: How to Use YouTube to Brand Yourself as The
In many ways, YouTube (www.youtube.com) is one of the easiest areas of social
media to master even though the idea of becoming a “filmmaker” can seem
intimidating to some people.
YouTube is the brainchild of three former PayPal employees. The very first video
uploaded and shared via YouTube can still be viewed today: “Me at the Zoo”
(http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jNQXAC9IVRw). The video features Jawed
Karim, one of the website’s original founders.
YouTube is an extremely effective way to communicate in the marketplace, to
spread your message, and to motivate others to voluntarily spread your message
for you. After all, there’s not even any reading involved here. Using a variety of
techniques from videos you create, to videos you repost, to PowerPoint and
Animoto, you can share your ideas with people you might never reach through
your blog or other written word formats.
But jumping into YouTube as a social
“The self-proclaimed social media experts
media tool, without first laying down a
boast how it’s all about massive follower
plan can result in a hodgepodge of counts. The true fact is that social media
media all linked to your brand and is all about authentic connecting and
sending a message that your business engagement. A person who engages with
is at best “messy” and at worst, quite his or her followers will discover a lot
disorganized. So as you begin, develop more value than someone who has 50,000
a plan to utilize YouTube to expand followers, but doesn’t engage—that’s why
your social media marketing, include: it is called “social” media.”
(1) What types of content and topics Mark Eldridge
you will cover; (2) What videos or types
of videos produced by others you will
post; (3) Who you may be interviewing or what you may be presenting yourself; (4)
Where you will post your video; and (5) What technology you will utilize in your
“You cannot hide in social media. Be
genuine, be authentic and be
transparent! In today’s social media
world, clients are going to research you
in multiple networks, your profile,
experiences and even your photos
should be the same in and on all the
networks you are on. This portrays a
consistent and professional image.”
Elsom Eldridge III
Who Are You and Where Can You Get
Your Online Presence
If you changed your physical appearance from day to day, many of your clients
and customers would not recognize you. They could easily walk past the man or
woman wearing a baseball cap and a tropical flowered shirt if they are accustomed
to seeing that person in traditional business attire and a pair of wire-framed
Your online identity works the same way. Most social media sites allow you to
upload a photo to go with your content and bio information, but if that image and
profile are not consistent from one site to the next, you are diffusing the impact of
your own brand.
Why use a personal photo at all? “While 20 minutes a day may not be a
Because no one likes talking to a blank lot of time for some to spend on their
wall or a cutout shape of a head. They social media strategy, for others this
also don’t appreciate talking to a may be close to impossible. This is
cartoon character, a photo of your dog, where you can utilize a professional
or the logo of your favorite sports team. virtual assistant; however, remember
that you should NEVER delegate the
People want to see a friendly face,
‘engagement’ aspect of being social.
someone who does not seem either
Delegate the tasks to others, but
frivolous or stuffy—a face that inspires maintain the responsibility for engaging
their trust and confidence. Shocking is in conversations and being your own
not the effect you are going for here. voice.”
Neither is sexy, edgy, or offbeat, unless
Elsom Eldridge III
your product genuinely falls into one of
If you use a photo that shows more than your head, you will wind up with your
image reduced to the size of a leprechaun. Instead, simply select a headshot that
is a crisp image, and one that really looks like you yet conveys a professional
demeanor. Pick a photo that says, “I will listen when you talk,” not one that
screams, “I am here to sell you something.”
One other option besides using a personal portrait photo is to use your company’s
logo, especially if your logo is better known than your face, or if you are creating
one online identity to which multiple people will contribute. Do not use a URL (your
website address) as part of your image; that’s just a little too pushy for this type of
But your photo or logo is only part of your online identity. The biographical
information you use to describe yourself or your company is also a critical part of
your brand. Who are you? What have you done that will give people a reason to
believe that you are a knowledgeable, credible resource? What is your service or
your message in a single crystallized thought that people will immediately grasp
and remember? And very importantly, does your bio separate you from others in
your field and from your business competitors? Lastly remember that social media
marketing centers around the brand you are building. Keep that brand message
highly consistent from site to site to site.
You really don’t have to do this all alone. Besides the advice (both free and for a
fee) that’s available on the web to help you sort through social media marketing,
you have other options to get help and create a little relief. Virtual assistants (VAs)
can be the cyberspace equivalent of an admin staff or an IT Department.
You can find online support at a variety of prices to help you with administrative
tasks, site setup, design, website maintenance, and ‘virtually’ any other task that
can be performed to help you without the person actually being onsite with you.
Virtual assistants can be found at a variety of price ranges. Just as you would do in
a face-to-face hiring, jump in slowly. Assign a few small tasks or a job of limited
scope that is easy to verify when it has been completed to your standards. “Test”
your virtual assistant before you turn large areas of responsibility over to him or
Additional options include hiring people from resources such as:
RentaCoder (http://www.rentacoder.com/ )
Another valuable tool in your social media-marketing arsenal is Ping.fm
(http://ping.fm). This free web-based service enables you to update all of your
social media sites simultaneously or chose only certain ones to update. Ping.fm
supports over 40 different social media platforms.
And More Help!
To say that this book only touches the tip of the social media iceberg is certainly
true, yet sounds very cliché. But much like an actual iceberg, social media is a
changing, fluid mass that has broken off from the giant glacier and is moving in
ways that are both predictable and unpredictable—powerful, impressive, and ever-
Mark and Elsom Eldridge know that to scale this iceberg alone could be a daunting
challenge. That’s why, together with Linda J. Parker, they have written The
Obvious Experts Social Media Series, soon to be available both as ebooks and
Currently still in production, this six book series looks at social media platforms,
providing you the facts you need to use these tools wisely while leaving out all the
noise and chatter found in some social media resource books and guides.
The six-book series starts here with book one, (How to Use Social Media to Brand
Yourself as the Obvious Expert) a pre-press, unedited ebook, still in “beta form”.
Visit The Obvious Expert website at www.obviousexpert.com/SMebook.html for
more information about all of the books and learn how you can sign up to be
among the first to receive the next five installments: Blogging, Facebook, Twitter,
LinkedIn, and YouTube.
Pre-Press ‘Beta’ Edition
The Obvious Expert Advisors
talk about what Social Media
Marketing has meant to their
Advice from The Obvious Expert Advisors
In 2001, during the research for How to Position Yourself as the Obvious Expert™
(a book authored by Mark Eldridge and Elsom Eldridge Jr.) we began a search for
one hundred of the top minds in consulting—and all of its related fields.
The goal at that time was to compile for the readers of our books (who are most
often consultants, coaches, solopreneurs, entrepreneurs, sole proprietors, and
business people), all of the resources from the experts who today, are defining
business through their successes, accomplishments, innovations, and leadership
Over the years, the list of 100 Obvious Experts has grown closer to 200. Not only
have they increased in number, but they seem to somehow be getting even wiser.
“As Jeff Howe, a Wired Editor, has documented extensively in his book,
Crowdsourcing, the entire process of marketing is transforming to one driven
by peer-to-peer relationships in community. And as Bill Joy, chairman of Sun
Microsystems, famously is said to have observed “Wherever you work, most of
the smart people are somewhere else.” Offering and gaining access to
distributed expertise is rapidly becoming a necessity for successful
The Obvious Experts Team includes some of the savviest cats in the alley for
applying the emerging principles of Web 2.0 to guide professionals and
businesspeople to great success at low cost. They are invaluable coaches in
the art of building one's reputation and recognition.
Seek their guidance and follow it, it will transform your life. It transformed
Ralph Benko author,
The Websters' Dictionary: How to Use the Web to Transform the World,
The Websters’ Dictionary Blog
“Social marketing with Twitter has benefited me greatly: it's helped me learn to
write more concisely, it's introduced me to numerous prospects, and helped
me reconnect with others I've previously worked with. It provides me with an
easy way to check the "pulse" of my community and test new ideas. Highly
recommended. PS: I was originally a doubter.”
Roger C. Parker
Write your way to success at: www.publishedandprofitable.com
“Social Media has helped my own Homes & Land Real Estate Franchises stand
out by positioning us as the early adopters of new technologies and trends.
And as a Social Media Strategist, it has helped me personally with my
Consultation business—to connect with industry leaders in the
Transformational Speaker & Trainer world who otherwise may have been
challenging to connect with.”
“Social media is more than just celebrities and rock stars seeing how many will
follow them. Social Media has become a platform that allows us to share
pictures, activities, videos, blog posts, and communication all together. Social
media has taught me that what give, we get back … tenfold. It’s in your best
interest to build on many platforms so if you lose one, it doesn’t hugely impact
your whole business.”
“Social media has done incredible things for my clients that would have taken a
much longer time had they used just traditional marketing. By using blogs and
other social network tools—communicating and engaging with others has
lead to rapidly expanding their business, helping them in a short time expand
website traffic, get radio bookings, product sales, and connect with
likeminded people nationwide and globally. Using a social media strategy has
become a necessity for business, just like many denied in the past they
needed a website—it’s becoming obvious you now need both.”
Jessica “Sica” Martin