LinkedIn, Self-Promotion, and the Deluge of Awful Marketing

There seems to be a real problem (particularly among the non-tech savvy) around the whole subject of online marketing and how social media should be leveraged for their businesses.

It really seems like a huge section of business people learned about social media and immediately thought, “Wow! Now I don’t have to pay for advertising- I can just do it here!” They could not be more wrong, and here’s why.

Social Media is exactly like a real life conversation and the same rules apply.

  1. Listening to Someone Incessantly Talking about Themselves is Terrible to Listen to.
    Have you ever been trapped in a group conversation with someone who’s constantly talking about themselves? Unless prompted, this is a sure-fire way to have people make excuses to get away from you. The same applies to social media. People no longer care when you get the latest widget in stock because they can just buy it on Amazon. Brick-and-Mortars are going to have to rely more and more on their relationships and reputations, which can only be built one way online.
  2. The More Real Value You Provide, the More People Want to Listen- and share you with their network.
    Advertising is paying for people’s attention. There’s a reason you had to pay for it- people don’t want to voluntarily give up their attention to being sold to. There is little value in it for them. The same goes with relationships. If you’re the friend who’s constantly whining and otherwise wearing down the people around you, how long do you think those friendships will last? On the other hand, if you’re always energetic, giving value to your friends through good stories, advice, and laughter, then you’ll never have a shortage of people to hang out with. The same principle applies in Social Media. People have to volunteer to “be around” you, and you must reward them for choosing to do so. Are you a physiotherapist? Don’t bore people with the new foam rollers you bought- teach people how to use one themselves. Don’t brag about your staff- tell the story about how one of them became best friends with one of your old clients. It’s not about you- it’s about your customers.
  3. Reputation Can Open Doors.
    Just like your personal relationships, a great reputation on social media can bring the world to you if you play it right. When people are looking for experts in a given field, they don’t care about their latest stock- they care about who has clearly communicated that they know what they’re doing. Tell people what you’ve learned from your successes and mistakes, and more will happen than you expect. Voila- you’ve built trust.

Remember, if you wouldn’t do it to your friends, don’t do it on social media. Give people as much value as you can. It doesn’t matter if it feels like you’re giving out information for “free”- when it comes time for them to buy what you’re selling, who will they choose? The useful and fun-to-have around option, or the self-indulgent bad communicator? We’re all in the media game now whether we like it or not- don’t get left behind!

Who would you rather buy form? What’s more likely to be shared?