I spoke to a guy today who wanted our help with his social media strategy. He professed to know very little about technology, but is a personable, articulate fellow who networks a lot in the “real” world. (Remember networking events? Boy, those were the days, huh!) I told him that makes him PERFECT for social media because a lot of the same rules apply in the virtual world.Â For example, it’s important to be friends with someone before you ask them for a favor. If you just met somebody, you wouldn’t shove your product in their face and beg them to sample it. But online, that is what happens all too often.
People use Twitter and Facebook and LinkedIn for self-promotion and only self-promotion. Not smart. We tell our clients it takes a while for us to build a social networking community for them. We have to engage in conversations, get to know people — then we can ask them for a favor, like checking out our client’s site, or blog posting, or latest news. Better yet, we can ask our friends for a favor that also benefits them, like participating in a promotion or contest.
Seth Godin points out that you market to a friend differently than you do a stranger.Â And it’s true. If I tell Terri about this great hairdresser I just tried, she’s pulling out her phone to save his number. That may or may not work with a complete stranger. Depends on if I’m having a bad hair day or not, I suppose.
The point is: friends first, favors later.