I'm sitting on a regional jet right now as I write this. I'm heading back to New Jersey after three days with the RJO in St. Louis, Missouri. For me, it was a weekend of discussions about e-commerce, online local marketing, and social networking.
I was very impressed with all the jewelers I spoke to this weekend and I'm starting to think that the need for social media is starting to be understood as a necessity for marketing, even though the results can't be tracked. Many jewelers told me they were actively trying to learn how to manage Facebook, and several others told me they hired new employees dedicated to managing their social media.
In my typical conversations about using social media, I explain how each social network plays its part in the overall online recognition strategy. Facebook is just one part, and I'm excited to hear that the jewelers I met this weekend are taking that first step.
To help with those first steps I've put together some words of social wisdom to help prevent you making a social buffoon of yourself. Simply put, when it comes to social network usage, its apparent to me that some people get it while others don't.
Social Friending Bad Behavior
Social media is not for spamming. For the love of God, don't friend request someone on any social network and then immediately send them a sales pitch. I am so sick of this behavior.
It's gotten to the point that I suspect all friend requests I receive through LinkedIn and Facebook. LinkedIn is especially bad for me right now. Unless I've met someone at a trade show, the recent connection requests I've accepted are immediately followed up with full sales pitches through LinkedIn email. I view this as pure spam and have reported this activity to LinkedIn.
Facebook friend requests have been especially evil recently. While I'm an advocate of security and for jewelers to be discerning of who they accept as friends on their personal accounts, I admit that I am less discerning because many people want to friend me after reading these Daily Golden Nuggets or seeing me at a trade show.
However, the majority of the friend requests I've received recently are coming from personal accounts in India. Just like on LinkedIn, as soon as I confirm the friendship I immediately get a Facebook instant message asking if I want to buy their jewelry, diamonds, or gemstones. This tells me that they don't know who I am and didn't bother to read my profile before requesting friendship. This behavior always results in my unfriending them and blocking their messages.
Better Social Behavior
Here's a better method of how you should behave on social networks.
- Request a connection
- Post something with value
- Post more stuff that your friends/customers will find valuable
- Post something to create a conversation
- Only do a sales pitch after you've demonstrated your value
Online Social Behavior Mirrors Real Life
Here's an analogy to better illustrate the above steps...
Imagine that your website is your work place, and social media is like the bar you and your friends go to after work. Would you randomly walk up to someone in the bar and ask them to buy your product? Probably not, because it's the wrong environment to immediately sell your product when first meeting someone.
The best action in a social environment is to get to know people, just like if you were at an in person network meeting. People who make sales pitches at network meetings are usually dissatisfied with their results.
Do you see the parallel? The disappointment one feels after a trying to sell at a networking event, like a chamber of commerce or a meetup.com event, is the same type of disappointment you'll feel when you always try to sell through a social network.
Social networks are for making connections, not selling. Keep this in mind as you build your social network following and you won't be disappointed with the long term results.