We had an event at my church last night, an evening of home made soup and board games.  And, of course, as we played, we talked of this, that and the other.  As we sat and chatted over many topics, family stuff, home renovations, hobbies and accomplishments, the topic of social media came up.  I spent most of my time listening to what the others were saying (listening is one of a marketer’s most important skills).

What came out in the discussion were the following:

  • People don’t like ads being sprung on them as a surprise in a video they’re watching.
  • All of them agreed that they tend to watch videos with the sound off.
  • All of them hated being sold to.
  • They each agreed that although they may search for a specific product or service in social media (mainly YouTube and Facebook), they didn’t want to be sold to unless they were actually looking for something.
  • …And they did have relationships with commercial pages on Facebook and YouTube, based on their needs, interests and wants.

So what does this teach us?

It’s still all about relationships.  People actually want you to sell to them, but on their terms.  One of the men at the table said, “It’s like when you go into a store and the sales person won’t leave you alone.  I want to look around and then ask for help when I need it.  I don’t mind if they come up to me and say something like: ‘I’m here if you need help.’ and then they walk away and let me shop, but I hate it when they’re hovering.  Sometimes on social media it feels like that.”

That being said, he added that he tends to shop where he knows people or where his friends have recommended a particular service provider or retailer.

This applies to online marketing as well.  Just as you wouldn’t go to a party where you didn’t know people and immediately start the conversation with:  “Hi, I’m Bonnie Dillabough.  I’m an internet marketer and you should buy my amazing internet marketing training program.”, you shouldn’t do this in your marketing either.

People expect ads in the sidebars of websites even in social media, but they don’t appreciate people littering their newsfeed with posts that are just another advertisement and they especially don’t want people they don’t know well tagging them in purely commercial posts.

It comes down to the old saw: “Give to get.” or “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Both are good advice when it comes to proper marketing netiquette.  Consider a blog that gives good information about your niche, but doesn’t come right out and sell anything.  As people come to appreciate and respect the information you provide, they are more likely to sit up and take notice when your recommend a particular product or service, even if it is your own.

I know many people who have built complete empires on the trusting relationships they have created with “tribes” they have gathered around them.  One of my favorites is the master marketer and one of my mentors, the man who gives marketing advice to the 900 pound marketing giants like Google, Seth Godin.  I have read pretty much every book he’s ever written and follow him daily on his blog.  When he comes out with a new book, I just go out and get it, usually without even reading much about it, because I trust the content he provides.  He can sell me just about anything.

So how do you go about this in social media?  A good example of this is the Facebook group created by Mike Sellick, The Crochet Crowd – Stitch Social With over 100,000 members, Stitch Social is one of the most active groups I’ve ever seen.  Most posts by members recieve hundreds of likes and often as many as several hundred comments.  So how does “Mikey” (as group members refer to him) make money with this group?

  • He provides free crocheting patterns for the members.
  • He answers crocheting questions and interacts with the hundreds of group posts that occur daily.
  • He creates free tutorail videos that help members to hone their craft.
  • AND THEN…he sells them yarn, patterns and tools from his sponsors and no one minds a bit.  Every member of the group knows it’s how he makes his living and not one is offended by it.

He has built his YouTube channel, his Facebook business page, the group and his website all on the concept of service.  He has become a celebrity in his niche and is well paid as a direct result of his willingness to give value to his community, his tribe.

Success leaves clues.  Can you follow this pattern in your business?  This approach takes serious effort and means an investment of time, energy and money, but ask yourself, “What do I want to accomplish with my business?  Do I want to have to constantly tweak my marketing strategies and outlay huge amounts of money to attract new clients and customers?  Or do I want to create a tribe of raving fans who come back to me again and again and gladly share my valuable social assets with their friends?

What do you want to build your brand around?  Ads or magnetic attraction?  Following the rules of social media netiquette, creating relationships or “driving traffic” (which sounds a little agressive when you think about it)?

Just as you wouldn’t put your feet up on the table in a fine restaurant or wear a tall hat in a movie theater, social media posts and videos that are a blatant ad that are placed randomly without regard to the audience involved, are major social media faux pas.  So…be polite…be kind and share instead of sell.  That pretty much wraps it all into one great package, don’t you think?





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