Put the Social Back in Social Media

How Not To Please Twitter Followers

Hand holding Twitter birdsThis morning I was catching up on my Twitter account (@k2_kogercr8tiv). Several people had started following me, so I naturally returned the favor and followed them. When I follow someone on Twitter, I don’t just blindly hit the Follow button just so I can have a boatload of followers. I send them a direct message and thank them for the follow. I usually add a small bit of chit chat so they know that I am an actual human. It’s a nice touch, if I say so myself, and it seems to make the recipient feel welcome. Ah, the ol’ warm and fuzzy feelin’! Everybody wants it, right?

Apparently not. I sent out four “thanks for the follow” direct messages. Two folks sent me direct messages in return and we had some nice conversation in the 140 character way Twitter allows. One person didn’t respond at all, which is fine, no response is required. Then there was the fourth.

Don’t Send Your Twitter Followers a Sales message Right Out of the Gate

Instead of a thank you, or a nice note back, this person sent me a sales message. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me, but it sure gets my goat every single time. Apparently, sending someone a direct message is the same as saying, “Yes, I want to make a million dollars by sundown… send me your latest crap!” Sorry to disappoint you, Mr. Internet Marketer, but I don’t want to be bombarded with your sales pitches without so much as a hello.

Take a Lesson from Retail

Think about this for a second. If you were selling something in the “real” world, would you start pitching to someone without so much as a greeting? Even in a retail store, where the customer is taking the time and effort to go into the place of business and is therefore true fair game and ripe for selling, what does the proprietor of the store or even the lowliest of sales clerks do first? They welcome, greet, or ask how they may help. No one in their right mind would go up to a perfect stranger and start pitching something. So why is it that in the “virtual” world, marketers somehow feel they can jump straight into a sales pitch?

Perhaps, due to the distance, or the unlikeliness of ever having to encounter the person being pitched in real life, an insulation factor comes into play. What the hell? Might as well give ’em my best shot! Guess what? It doesn’t work. It never has, nor will it ever. Try putting yourself in the other person’s shoes for a moment. Would you like to be bombarded with a sales pitch when all you did was thank someone for a follow on Twitter? I doubt any sane person would say yes to that question.

Twitter Is Social Media—It’s Called “Social” For A Reason

Remember, social media is called “social” media for a reason! You are trying to make connections, sure, but you want to start relationships before you start selling. It’s not that difficult to do, either! Start with a hello, thank you, or little bit about yourself. You don’t want to open up too much to a stranger, of course, but no one is telling you to give out your phone number, Social Security number (that’s not what the “social” in ”social media” means!), or pictures of your children. However, you do want to start a conversation, learn a little bit about your new connection, and possibly make a new friend. Then, if the other person is open to it, should you make a pitch.

Build A Relationship, Then Sell

For instance, part of my business is social media consulting. If I start a direct message conversation with a fellow Tweeter (remember, you can only send a direct message, or DM, to someone who is following you), then I might ask them after a few pleasantries back and forth if they would like to get connected on Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+. I will probably mention my business and ask them what they think of this website. Or perhaps send them a link to one of the posts on this blog if it applies to them somehow. Let’s say the person really wants to learn how to incorporate social media into their business in a more effective way. Bingo! Now is the time to make a subtle, not spammy, pitch. You’ll get much better results selling to a friend or someone you’ve managed to build trust with than you would by just blasting your message in a wanton fashion.

Always remember, social media is social first, selling second (or third, or fourth…). Yes, you can sell your services through social media. You’ll be far more successful if you build relationships first rather than come across as a marketing machine.

Have you had a similar experience? Please, share your stories and anecdotes below. And no, I won’t send you any links to my latest, fastest way to make money online!

photo credit: ~Ilse via photo pin cc

This entry was posted in Social Media by Keith Koger. Bookmark the permalink.

About Keith Koger

Keith Koger is the owner-operator extraordinaire of Koger Creative. Although one heck of a graphic designer and copywriter, he has yet to learn that Star Trek, Star Wars and Monty Python references are the quickest ways to drive away women.

2 thoughts on “Put the Social Back in Social Media

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