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… like the flu. It’s around us, every day, in e-mail blasts, Facebook posts, and tweets; since I follow
a bunch of some a few authors, I call it the “buy my book bug.”
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.
There’s a Relationship
Then there are the others. I “like” or “follow” someone new, hoping to find out about them and enjoy some good, fresh content. But, instead, I get the automatic, one-size-fits-all private message “inviting” me to connect with them (and see the identical content) somewhere else. Ugh. (I solved it by eliminating DMs (direct messages) from my Twitter account — so, if you’re a friend and I haven’t gotten back to you now you know why.)
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.”
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, restaurant, service, store or product).” I feel like I kicked a puppy, even when I tell them 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 those 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.
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.