This past Saturday I finally was able to free myself up for an hour to attend Margie Clayman’s Tweetdiner, one of my favorite Twitter Chats. The topic of the chat was Social Good, something I wrote about just a few weeks ago and something that I truly believe in.
In the process of the discussion, one of the topics that came up was how Social Good and the support of Social Causes work so well on Twitter and other Social channels because people are tired of all of the online self promotion. My first reaction to this comment was I agree, and my second reaction was it isn’t really all that “Socially Good” of us to sit here and criticize how others are using the channel.
The fact is, while some of us are here for pure social and connecting purposes, many of us are here for business reasons. Whether sole proprietors, small business owners, Social Marketers, or something else, if you are here for business you have to promote. After all, you will never get a sale you don’t ask for. (<- Idea for a blog post???)   This raised the question, why do people resent all of the self promotion online?   The answer is actually quite simple. It isn't because you promote, in fact even those pushing social good are "Promoting," the problem lies in how you do it? Consider the following...  

  • In Social Media, just like in the real world, sales aren’t only about YOU! Say it with me people…”Sales are not only about you.”
  • In Social Media, just like in the real world, relationships aren’t only about YOU! Repeat “Relationships aren’t only about YOU.”
  • In Social Media, just like in the real world, trust isn’t built on words rather they are built on the actions associated with your words! No need to repeat, just remember this one…

These ideas seem simple, yet so many people miss the boat here. So when you show up on Twitter or Facebook (or other) saying “Read this or Buy this or Subscribe to this,” people aren’t frustrated that you asked, they are frustrated that you asked before you established a relationship.
Like Steven Covey (Author of 7 Habits series) says, “you have to put first things first.” A social sale, is the same as any other sale. If you don’t come across as highly empathetic and if people don’t feel they can trust you, then you are nothing more than a living-breathing billboard.
However, if you want your network to embrace the ideas and products you desire to market you first have to sell yourself. While this won’t happen overnight, it will happen with the right balance of engagement and selflessness; and when it does, your promotion (assuming it is of relatively good quality) will handle itself. Before your next promotional activity ask yourself these questions…

  • How do you promote online?
  • Are you winning your network before you promote?
  • Does your network trust you?

Put these things first, and watch your social influence grow!

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Daniel Newman

Founder and President at Broadsuite, Inc.
After 12 years of running technology companies including a CEO appointment at the age of 28, I traded the corner office for a chance to drive the discussion on how the digital economy is going to forever change the way business is done. I'm an MBA, adjunct business professor and 2x author of best-selling business books including "The Millennial CEO" and "The New Rules of Customer Engagement." Pianist, soccer fan, husband and father, not in that order. Oh and for work...I'm the co-founder of V3B [Broadsuite], a marketing firm specializing in the digital space, helping companies be found, seen and heard in a cluttered digital world.
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