Social Media Tip: Play before Work

This bit of advice surfaced in a discussion at an in-house SEO event I attended last weekend, and I think it merits a note. We were talking about companies selecting people to run their Social Media campaigns and what criteria they should use.  My experience at the car dealership immediately sprang to mind. I selected people who already used each platform.

The best Social Media marketers and salesmen are the ones who are already playing in the medium.

Social Media is not really one easy part of the sales / marketing funnel. It’s better used for building brand-love, and for connecting with fans and customers. Someone who has been on Twitter for a few months for their own purposes knows this. Anyone who scrolls past fan page content on their Facebook newsfeed understands that intuitively.  Casual users understand the culture and the social rules.

I’m following a bunch of authors who get this right. Who let their personalities shine through, who chat with other people. Then, sometimes (and only sometimes), they toss information out there about their books.  This is appropriate. And expected.

I’m also following a bunch of authors who get this terribly wrong. They seem to have a lot of followers, and they seem to be retweeted often, but this is deceptive. They are followed by people who follow-back automatically. They are retweeted by people who use their accounts exclusively to push their own books or retweet others.  No one is reading this. No one is responding to it. No one cares.

If you want to schedule a whole bunch of repetitive tweets that will get lost in the noise and never generate a sale. By all means, build your platform that way.

If you want to actually have fans and people who care about you and your success, it’s time to change the game.

My advice: Don’t try to sell anything – yours or anyone else’s anything – for two months.

Log in every day. Send out notes and @-replies every day. But don’t try to sell anything.  Make friends. This will help you learn how the medium works. It will let you see examples of what not to do in your own feed, because they will irritate and distract you.  It will help you intuit how to improve your own interactions.  You’ll learn the culture.

After two months, you can start selling again, but I guarantee that if you try this experiment, you will change your tactics.

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