I always tell clients that it is no longer enough to be beautiful when it comes to marketing online. The Internet has become more like an Oscar after-party than it is like the airport Ramada. Online, you're never the lone beauty in the hotel lounge. Online, you're surrounded by equal or greater beauties. What's more, the most successful online social media barflies are aggressive in addition to gorgeous. Too many companies that have invested vast resources in social have Pretty Boy/Girl Syndrome. A symptom of this disease is an expectation that others will go out of their way to pursue you.
No matter how much money you spend on a graphic designer, a social media expert, and a community manager, you may very well not find the kind of success you want and expect from your investment in social media and social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, YouTube, and Pinterest.
Being beautiful, friendly, clever, generous, and charming is no longer good enough when you're not just competing with the student body for Prom King and Queen, you're now competing with potentially every other beautiful, friendly, clever, generous, and charming person on planet earth. The Internet has flattened the market, allowing anyone to eat your lunch, so just ringing the dinner bell after you launch your social media presence is not going to work as well as you expect.
Mind you, there are exceptions. If there are holes in the market--a vacuum--then filling that need will result in amazing success. Another exception is celebrity. If you already have an undeniable fan-base, it will translate perfectly into success online. Unfortunately, for the rest of us, we have neither.
In order to compete on a world stage, it is essential to aggressively recruit new members. Not just new members, but passionate, enthusiastic, members who will do what you expected Facebook, Google+, and Twitter to do for you in the first place: create firestorms of buzz and word-of-mouth influence. To become a channel of primary, secondary, and tertiary influence that result in your members sharing your content on their walls, resulting on an organic growth, ultimately snowballing into massive conversions and stellar online sales.
Do some research and you'll find out, to your astonishment, that a majority of those viral videos with over a million views were not "upload it to YouTube and they will come." Most of them skyrocketed as the direct result of some form of publicity campaign, be it grass roots or from an agency.
Be the catalyst of your natural social media success. Take your fate into your own hands and get off of that bar stool and walk over and start some conversations with all the folks you want to meet. This can include a long-tail blogger outreach campaign, it should include an A-list influencer outreach, be they on blogs, Twitter, Facebook, or wherever.
Membership in your community is a later stage of the hearts-and-minds campaign in which you need to engage. Just collecting Likes or Follows doesn't often result in engagement. If you spend any time on your Facebook Page Insights, which you do, you'll understand how important performance is to the success of your social media campaign. You need both quantity and quality of Likes. I won't kid you: more is better; however, if you have hundreds of thousands of Likes on your Facebook Page but have negligible engagement in your posts in the form of likes and comments, then you will not earn the sort of gravity and popularity to elbow on your members' Facebook Wall.
If you're able to prospect passionate followers by going out there--to where they live on their own blogs, forums, Listservs, social networks, and communities--to find them, recruit them, convert them, and win them over, then you'll start seeing the true power of world-of-mouth marketing.