Sharing, not shilling.

Originally posted some time earlier. Recycled for maximum blog churn. – dp

I’ve got a problem. A client is finally waking up to the potential of social media. Hallelujah for that. The problem is, they are rock solid certain that the best way to use it (for them) is as a always-on megaphone for their products and services. The online equivalent of dragging their catalog behind an airplane over a baseball game.

To say they don’t “get it” is like a health club that creates a smoking station right outside their front door. But you know clients—they’re always right.

Except when they are not. And this is one of those critical exceptions.

Describing it in the simplest way possible, social media is for sharing, not shilling. It’s predicated on the cliché that launched a million bumper stickers: Love. The more you give, the more you’ll receive.

An important thing to note: the word is love. Not respect, customer service, or value. The latter are marketing buzz words of little to no real common meaning anymore. But love? We all know what that means.

Facebook is an excellent example of this in action. It’s all about sharing. Photos of your kids, favorite recipes, offers to help friends move/paint/mourn—it’s all there. And, but for a few black hat exceptions, it’s all a gift, an invitation, a friendly wave from the front porch. Want to stop by to chat? No? OK, see you tomorrow.

The best salesmen have known this forever: Maintaining a great relationship is more important than shilling a great product. The first opens the door to the second. And the first makes sure there can be a third, fourth, fifth…

My social media maxim: Share. Don’t shill.

– D.P. Knudten

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