What if you had a beautiful gift to give away? Let’s pretend it’s a brand new set of golf clubs. Instead of “going viral,” you have the feeling people are avoiding you like a contagious illness. It’s around us, every day, in e-mail blasts, Facebook posts, and tweets; since I follow
a bunch of authors, I call it the “buy my book bug.”
[Tweet “Instead of “going viral,” people are avoiding you like the flu.”]
Some authors post about their topics, their writing process, their pets, their partners, their projects and their progress. I love reading their stuff. I feel connected to them, and, because of that, I enjoy their success. When they post about a new release, event, or sale? I gladly retweet it or share it on my page. There’s a relationship.
Then there are the others. I “like” or “follow” someone new, hoping to find some good, fresh content. But sometimes get the automatic, one-size-fits-all private message “inviting” me to connect with them somewhere else. Ugh.
The second group doesn’t get it: social media is not for selling. It’s for creating and developing relationships. And, as Bob Burg says, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.”
[Tweet “Social media is not for selling.”]
I’ve taught social media basics to authors and other small business owners for a while. It breaks my heart to tell them, “Nobody cares about your _______ (book or product).” I feel like I kicked a puppy. It’s not personal: most people don’t care about mine, either.
What do people care about online? The same things they care about in real life: themselves, their families and their own lives.
So why should authors and small business owners have an online presence? That’s where our readers are. Part of our job is to make it easy for them to find us. Another part is to let them know we care about their lives, too. Writing, tweeting or posting on Facebook… it can’t “be about” you.
What about the golf clubs?
A lot of people would be thrilled to get a brand new set of golf clubs for their next big occasion. I’m not one of them. I don’t play golf and have torn both rotator cuffs; my chances of becoming a regular, happy golfer are pretty slim. If you offered me golf clubs I’d know you don’t know me well… But, if you kept trying to give me golf clubs? I’d start to wonder what was wrong with you.
[Tweet “There’s nothing wrong with you; I appreciate your generosity”]
There’s nothing wrong with you; in fact, I appreciate your generosity. There’s nothing wrong with golf clubs, either. They’re just not something I want or need right now.
And, if you stop trying to give me golf clubs and, instead, try to find out what I DO want? I’m a lot more likely to stick around… and share your message with the golfers in my life.
Do you have a social media pet peeve? Or, better still, a tip? Please share in the comments.
Love this Andrea! Thank you! I opted-in to a few new peeps and have been annoyed by the daily “selling” I get via email. Yesterday I thought, “Am I the only one who doesn’t respond to this? Is this what I should be doing too?” You answered the question. Thank you!
Sometimes I think I follow people just so I can learn more about what not to do! Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Appreciating your word wisdom of: “…It breaks my heart to tell them, “Nobody cares about your _______ (book or product).” I feel like I kicked a puppy. It’s not personal: most people don’t care about mine, either.” This was most timely as I continue to navigate on the white water rapids of social media, specifically as a virgin blogger and podcaster! Your humor is also appreciated, Andrea.
P.S. Your comments on my third, posted blog post would be welcomed to see if I pass…or if I’m selling golf clubs.
Lore, I liked your post and left a comment telling you why. Thank you for not asking me to kick your puppy!
I have seen social media’s limits and am accepting that. I am very turned off by the selling especially when I have just connected with someone. I desire to have deeper connections to others and have started having phone calls with people from social media. I love hearing their voice and learning more about them. I find it is making my social media experience richer.
Over the years I’ve even been able to connect with some of my lovely online gal pals in “real life.” It’s wonderful!
Yes, I have met up with some women in person also! I enjoy connections if all kinds.
I am literally busting out loud laughing. I don’t want any golf clubs either, however the thought of wandering out on the beautifully manicured landscape randomly smacking balls does sound fun. Of course the score card will be left at the Pro Shop because, well, does anyone truthfully keep score? Seriously, though, this is a great article and I’ll be sharing it to build more relationships for both of us.
Thanks… I’m laughing, too… and looking forward relationship-building with you.
I don’t want to be selling anyone golf clubs either. Another pet peeve on social media is when people add me to groups! Thanks but no thanks. Ask me first. Give me your link. I’ll decided to join or not. Which is why I refuse to add anyone to my group. I invite them, give them a link, and they can decide for themselves. xxoo
Sometimes I think about what these behaviors would translate to IRL. Not pretty!
Sue Kearney (@MagnoliasWest)
Genius! Well put. Find out what I want and you’ll engage me so much more than when you just sell at me (it feels like that, doesn’t it?).
Love your message that social media is for “creating and developing relationships.” That’s so easily lost, it seems…whether in a push for a sale or in a push to proclaim something rather to interact, listen and connect.
Great post, Andrea. It is true, I hate putting out “buy my book” messages, and would much rather post something I think might be of interest or value, because that’s what I want to see also. You’ve reminded me to keep the audience needs in mind.