For many businesses, social media can seem to be this mysterious black box that they don't really understand.  But a recent conversation with my friend Tim Jackson reminded me that social media really isn't as mysterious as many companies think.

Tim is the Brand Manager for the Masi bicycle brand.  When he was hired 4 years ago, he found himself in a situation that many small business owners can relate to.  He wanted to build awareness online for the Masi brand, but had almost no marketing budget, and his 1-man team included himself. 

But in 2005 he read an article about the potential of blogging for businesses, and it stressed that it could impact the biking industry.  That was all Tim needed to hear, and that night he started his MasiGuy blog.  Since that day, his blog's readership has gone from zero to up to 1,100 readers a day, and since being hired by Masi, the brand's sales have increased by almost 400%.

No doubt Tim's success in using social media to build awareness for Masi is a big contributor to the brand's impressive growth.  But in reality, social media is another extension of his strategy of spending as much time connecting with people as possible.  Tim is a people person, and when he's not blogging or on social sites, he's meeting customers and dealers at stores or trade shows.  Social media allows him to do what he was already doing, but much more effectively. 

And this is the key to understanding social media.  These are just tools that allow you to connect to people.  You can do the same thing with email, or a phone, or face-to-face.  There's nothing magical about social media and it's not a silver bullet that will knock out all your business' problems. 

But if you are like Tim, someone that enjoys connecting with people, then social media can be a powerful tool for you to build your brand.  As always, don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate.

August 25, 2008

Mack Collier is a social media consultant, trainer and speaker. He has been actively immersed in social media since 2005, and in that time, has helped advise, teach and consult with businesses of all shapes and sizes on how they can better connect with their customers via these amazing tools and sites. While being passionate about the social media space, what truly excites Mack is the human connections that can result from the proper use of these social tools. His motto is "Don't focus on the tools, focus on the connections that the tools help facilitate." His goal is to help his clients create those connections with their customers, and nuture them into relationships that help grow their bottom line.

His social media 'homebase' is The Viral Garden, which in 3 years time Mack has grown into an influential marketing/social media blog with a monthly readership of over 175,000. He is also a frequent contributor to the website Marketing Profs, as well as the marketing blog Daily Fix, and small business blog Search Engine Guide. His writings have been referenced in several mainstream publications and websites, including The Washington Post,, Ad Age, CNET, and The Boston Globe.

Mack is also a requested speaker and has presented at some of the top social media conferences and events, including South By Southwest Interactive, Marketing Profs Digital Marketing Mixer, and Small Business Marketing Unleashed. He is also passionate about teaching companies how to use social media sites and tools more effectively, and offers training and seminars privately to companies, in addition to his public speaking schedule.

You can learn more information about Mack's social media training and consulting services here. If you need a social media speaker for your event, or want to know where Mack will be speaking next, click here. If you want to email Mack, click here.

Mack wrote this bio. The third-person thingie is just for fun.


Great thoughts, Mack. Especially for those of us that are relatively new to social media, it's easy to get wrapped up in the tools, and miss the important conversations and connections that those tools are facilitating. Pushing back on that "new tool envy" and staying focused on building the relationships is when you make these tools truly win.

Mack, thanks for a nice post. You and your readers may like my recent presentation on "Social Media, Engage of be Tivo'ed" here: - just wanted to add to this conversation. Cheers!

Tim may not have had a budget, but he had something that many other business people lack -- the abilty to write.

Social media is all about creating relationships. And those relationships, since they're not being forged on the phone or via in-person meetings, are based on written communications.

Business people who can create quality content, and lots of it, are likely to see the most success.

good thoughts,

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