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16 2012

Is Social Networking supposed to sell?

Syndicated from: Randall Craig

Consider these Tipsheets: there are over 300 of them, and they certainly don’t “sell” anything.  Each week, I give away a small nugget of information, and tie it to an immediate action.  These non-salesy Tipsheets, like the vast majority of blogs, are designed to credentialize expertise and build trust, slowly over time. Interestingly, I recently received an email from a reader saying that he was about to unsubscribe, but he wanted to give me “a chance” and explain why, in person.  As this reader was in the same city as I was, I took him up on his offer to meet for a coffee.  Social Networking translated into real-world networking. Beyond the introductions and pleasantries, what I received was a high pressure sales pitch for their marketing services.  As the service wasn’t needed, the meeting ended relatively quickly.  There was no follow-up email post meeting.  And a few weeks later this person unsubscribed.  (It’s ironic – he is the one that needs to see this post!) Lessons learned: Developing relationships takes time, both in the real world and in Social Media.  Trying to make a quick sale over coffee is great if you’re selling coffee, but bad if you’re selling something more complex – like anything. Bait-and-Switch is a bad networking strategy.  If the invitation to meet is for one purpose, don’t trot out something different. A blog is a great place to develop and explore ideas over a longer term.  And in so doing, a blog is also a great place to develop trust. Follow-up after a network meeting is critical.  Like the blog, a real-life meeting and a follow-up email are merely steps up the relationship curve. Social Media can be used to sell, but one of the most effective strategies has to be Give to Get;  the sale will take place, but only when you’ve demonstrated your expertise, earned the trust, and the buyer is ready to buy – which may take years. This week’s action plan:  Where does your blog fit on the sell/no-sell continuum?  If you’re not happy with it there, make a change.  If you don’t blog, look back at your favorite blog (besides this one!) and evaluate it: where does it fit on the continuum?  And how would you feel if it was changed?   Note: The Make It Happen Tipsheet is also available by email. Go to to register. Randall Craig @RandallCraig (follow me)   Join me on May 24th at 4pm EST for a (free) look at Strategic Blogging. Click here for more information or to register.  

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