Recently caught a post by one of my favorite bloggers, Steven Hodson over on Winextra Shooting Bubbles (gratz on the rebrand!). He was talking about The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of SEO and Marketers. The post basically covers how marketers jump into the social media space and flail around with no clue what they’re doing, all the while claiming to be “ninjas” and “experts.”
One particular section stood out to me because it’s the same exact line of thinking I’ve formed about marketing as it relates to social media:
You know who a successful marketer is?
It’s the person who you can talk with on Twitter or Friendfeed or by email and feel like you are having an actual conversation – not the target of a sales pitch or that you are riding trapped with them on an elevator. Sure you could be talking about product or service but the moment you throw out a buzzword or two you have crossed the line from being an interesting person to talk with to being just another marketing dreck.
In case you hadn’t noticed, Steven just gave you the key to the city if you’re trying to make money using social media. As a matter of fact, this same mentality works everywhere else.
I believe that every conversation ends in a sale. Problem is, nobody likes being sold or pressured. They would rather evaluate the situation and make a decision on their own.
How do you get someone to make the decision you need them to make?
This is such basic stuff that I’m surprised so few actually get it. You have to convince a potential client or customer that your product or service will benefit them or otherwise provide value. With standard sales, you’d go through a process like:
- Engage – make an initial pleasant connection
- Build Rapport – small-talk to make your target feel comfortable
- Discovery – at this point, you are trying to find out how your product will benefit this specific person
- Close – by the time you get here, you and your target are buddies. You know exactly how your product or service fits into their life and they feel like you are doing them a huge favor.
For some reason, marketers in social media just keep trying to close the sale, skipping all the important steps necessary before that. This may still work with email marketing (maybe), but it does not work in social media. These are real people you’re talking to and if you don’t treat them as such, you will never succeed.
You have to put the work in if you want this to work for you. This means being real and genuine. Trying to be a part of the community for the purpose of making money won’t work. You have to just be a part of the community. With the web heading towards real-time, it’s all too easy to spot a fake and I or someone else will point you out. If you’re not here to provide value to the community, you may as well pack your things and move along.
Oh, and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out…