Over the past few weeks, I've read a couple of books on how to market your business or product using social media. I am not discounting the power of social media by any stretch, after all, I am blogging.

However, there seems to be an overtone of "using" social media in the books and consulting around this subject. Start a blog, write amazing content, promote yourself and company in LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, etc. Follow people who have lots of followers and tag along on their success. Post comments on popular blogs, etc. Get better ranking in Google by getting quality inbound links. You know; "use" social media. 

Just like commercials, spam and telephone solicitation, it worked pretty well when only a relatively small number of companies were doing it. But after a while, there is so much noise and people either ignore it or actively react to it (backlash). I suspect this is already happening in social media.

So if you are thinking of "using" social media as a marketing tool I would like to ask you reconsider.

Social media is an extension of the real world. In the real world people connect with people to communicate, share ideas and to feel like they belong.

So consider participating in social media to build relationships with people. Sure they might buy from you but first connect with them in a real way. The key is it has to be real.

Many astute brick and mortar businesses have been doing this for years… you know the places where they know you when you come in… where you care about the success of the people and business.

Seth Godin has said on numerous occasions that the power of social media is to connect with your customers one on one (not en-mass). Great product, great service and great relationship equals a great business model.

If there is no "using" involved; both parties win.