The Memorial Day Non Jerk Guide To Social Media

Filed in Social Media 101 by on May 31, 2010 0 Comments

Here’s some Memorial Day advice….

Don’t be a jerk today.

I know how you are. You show up at a Memorial Day cookout and start shouting about your job or your small business. You start handing out business cards to strangers and telling people how wonderful your company is at doing XYZ.

Stop it.

This is a holiday and you are at a party. A cookout. Don’t be a jerk.

Wait! You don’t run around spewing your own self promotion today? My bad.

I’ve seen you do it with social media, so I figured that’s what you always do.

Of course I’m being a bit “tongue in cheek” here

The truth is, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and YouTube are more like giant cookouts than anything else.

You need to act the same way online as you would during a cookout.

Do people “sell” at cookouts? Sure they do. But 95% of the time it’s AFTER they have actually met the person and spent a few minutes getting to know them. The 5% who don’t are considered jerks.

Also for those that do it right it’s not a hard sell. Most of the time it’s something like this…

John: I can’t seem to get my pool clean. My wife is bugging me to drain it – but I wish there was an easier solution.

Susan: You know I own a landscaping business and it looks like your problem is the tree cover. All those leaves and sticks keep dropping in. I have a report I wrote about how to keep your trees trimmed if you’d like to read it.

John: That would be great. Do you have it here?

Susan: No. (smiles) Didn’t bring it to a cookout. But give me your email and I’ll send it to you.

John: Thanks.

Obviously this is a condensed version of what the real conversation would be. But you get the idea.

In this example Susan is seen as a trusted advisor/friend – not a salesperson. She is offering John something that will solve a problem with his swimming pool that also happens to relate to her business. She isn’t pushy, she isn’t slimy she is HELPFUL.

And what did she have to do to achieve this? ACT HUMAN.

Now all Susan has to do is figure out a way to do the same thing online. She can offer people advice and value in return for their email address. This is a perfect example of how online and social media marketing should work.

Today’s Action Step

I know this is a holiday in the United States. So here’s your action step. While you are hanging out with friends and family today spend some time thinking of ways you can offer something for free that will help people solve an immediate problem. This is your ticket to attracting more customers and clients.

Happy Memorial Day.

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Joel Mark Witt is the Publisher of Folk Media and author of 21 Days To Twitter Leadership. He is a producer, author, and speaker who consults with businesses and nonprofits on how to use social media in marketing and communications. Get more from Joel on Twitter or Google Buzz.

*Photo by AblazeTheMage

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