Most all of us has done this… you show up at the gates of a sporting event, and someone hits you up with an offer? It's happened to me at a golf event, golf outing, football, baseball, basketball, hockey game, concert, and more. Someone approaches you and offers an incentive to fill out a form. Just fill this out and we will give you a stadium seat, golf towel, padded bum cushion, or an offer to win an all expenses paid trip to Bora Bore-A. In the thrill of the moment you agree… then you get a new credit card, phone calls or emails selling you time shares, financial advice or something else you know you don't want or need, but you gave them permission anyway. Permission to bug you because you made a trade… your information in return for a tchotchke.
Unfortunately, some of us (me included) fall on both sides of this fence. I have an office, kitchen, garage and cabinets filled with tchotchkes. I also have an email box filled with emails. Some I remember signing up for and care about, some I tolerate because I may find something of value some day, and some which I have no clue or recollection ever agreeing to (as a matter of fact, I am certain I never gave them permission to connect with me). Somewhere I either agreed to subscribe or unsubscribed with something and now I am playing dodgeball with emails?
So the question I have to ask is… do you want to communicate with people who really care about you, your products, services, or messages, or are you just looking for numbers so you can feel better that your message is being delivered to more people (whether or not they care)?
What really matters is connecting with people on a personal and relational level. Then you should constantly ask them… “Do you still like what I am sending? What do You want to hear? How can I REALLY help you?”. Sometimes, we are so focused on collecting names and email addresses that we forget they are people… and (other than a sale) why we connected with them in the first place?
Here are some things ALL of us can do better by NOT doing all the time…
1) Just Posting Ads – Nobody logs into social networking asking “I wonder what I can be sold today?”. They log in for information or for fun. Social Networking is about ‘Social' first, ‘Networking' second, and selling “Maybe”. IF… you are posting awesome stuff all the time (like great blogs, links to useful information, or fun and entertaining pictures), then you may have earned the trust to mention your product, service, or event. If all you do is treat it like “Social ME-dia”, then you are sure to become an afterthought, or even worse… un-liked or un-friended!
2) The “Fill in the Blank” Posts – I know we all are busy and don't have time to do all this ‘Social Media Stuff', but don't kid yourself. People can totally smell the difference between a “You” post, and a robo, or intern, or, virtual assistant post. Open ended questions with the fill in the blank, may be fun for some, but they are filler compared to heart felt thoughts, raves, or insights. People follow and interact with you because you are YOU… not a brand. What works for Coke or Dunkin Donuts will not work the same for a small business or an expert. Sorry if you manage a big brand… your rules and motives are different. If you are a small local or regional business, you are your brand and people expect you are interacting with them!
3) Nice to Meet You… NOW Click My Link – You may have someones' email address from a business card or a attendee sheet, but that does not mean they gave you permission to fill their inbox. It does give you permission to contact them personally and ask them to follow you if they feel so inclined. We are all inundated with messages, ads, emails and more. To get people to care takes time and I understand that, but getting someone to sign up for themselves for your blog, posts, or Facebook page, will make them pay 10 times more attention, than just forcing them to click on your stuff. Relationship first equals commitment. Trying to make them connect the dots about who you are and how you met, leads them to a Rorschach test… “Nice Blob (or blog)… Now who are you again?”!
Sometimes we focus so much on creating NEW business, that we forget who we are doing business with, or who we have done business with before! There is no way to change the past or manipulate the future, and nothing is as powerful as being the best you can be in the present! Try to treat every transaction as a reaction that transforms business.
Being top of mind is important, but become human, relational, and more of a resource, and you will become a trusted connection, and less of the noise we all try to avoid, yet have to deal with!
I would love to hear your experiences, thoughts and feedback?