Fishing, Weird Uncle Pete, And You: What You Need To Know As A Business Owner

Over the past several months, I noted that folks were all too eager to post their business, sales, information, etc. in a number of the marketing forums I subscribed to. Some were honest mistakes (folks misunderstanding the razor-thin focus of the forum, and inadvertently considering it a free-for-all), while others were just blatant plugs for their business they clearly hoped wouldn’t be removed by the forum administrators.

Often, the administrators would give the benefit of the doubt (and be more civil than I might be about it) when removing the offending posts. Over time, however, the civility gave way to overt frustration – and rightly so. I had watched them weather far more than I would personally have: I have a low tolerance for recidivism.

Time and time again, they even went out of their way to point the wayward posters to the appropriate group for such things: Specifically, local business advertising and booster groups. After seeing it mentioned a number of times, I popped over there to take a look. And it was… depressing. The fact that the site was there was great. The fact that very few used it well is the topic of today’s post.

As part of the ever-growing Digital Ninjas Media family of media-related pages (four and counting, with more on tap), I created a FaceBook group to specifically cater to this group of folks who didn’t know where to go. The difference, I decided, was that I was going to assist them, rather than just opening a wall and disappearing. And this is the first installment in that effort that will be cross-posted in three of the four groups, as well as the Rockford Social Business group hosted by Stacy Stateham. I hope it helps, because everyone in our groups deserves to be treated like a customer. Because – someday – they just might be. And I (and I’m certain Stacy, based on her numerous efforts to assist without asking for a thing in return) want to be there for them then as well.

So, to the meat of the post: Advertising your business on a Social Media wall. Any wall applies to what I’m about to tell you. Here’s what you need to consider:

Advertising on a wall, at its heart, begins as a losing proposition. Assume your message will go completely ignored. It’s harsh, but if you expect the worst, you can better arm yourself to achieve the best. So before you hit that ‘POST’ button, consider this analogy I’ve cooked up for you:
When someone goes fishing, they do not take a stick, hook their belt to it, throw it in the water, and walk away in the hopes that some astronomical odds will be in their favor that a starving, blind, stupid fish will eat it and hold on until they return. No: most fishermen consider EVERYTHING. They begin with the type of fish they’re trying to catch. They select the appropriate pole, and sometimes reel, for that type of fishing. Then they choose the strongest, least visible line to give them a further edge. They choose a well-made, well-considered lure that is appropriate for their prey – sometimes based on the weather as well – and tie it on with a scientifically developed knot. But they’re not done: Now, they choose an appropriate lake, and subsequent spot on the lake, to find the fish. Often, ridiculous numbers of electronics are brought to the party just for good measure. And there’s usually beer. I’m pretty sure that’s so the fish have a little bit of a fighting chance.

Think about all of the thought that went into the entire endeavor before the first cast is lobbed. The fisherman has done everything he or she can do (or, at least, afford to do – fishing can be expensive, believe it or not) and NOW it’s up to the fish.

“How is this relevant, Heath!?”

THIS is the level of preparation I want you to consider before you hit the post button. It sounds insane, but – believe me – it’s that important.

Recently, I saw a post in one of the aforementioned groups. I won’t say for what, nor will I divulge by whom. What it said to me in the verbiage was this: “I didn’t care enough to tell you what I do, nor to spell this correctly, nor to punctuate or capitalize the sentence. I simply demand that you blindly appreciate what I’m doing, like my page, and buy something after YOU do all the research into what I actually sell, and why you should buy it.”

At first, the marketing Nazi in me got a little upset. “Why even bother posting this nightmare?” was my initial reaction. Then, the compassionate side of my brain came off of its coffee break and said, “Did I miss something? I felt your heart rate go up drastically. Is Weird Uncle Pete around?”

Once it took the reins, I realized that this was an opportunity for me to teach, and hopefully share some things I’ve learned. So, as a phase-two, I kicked over to the web site that was posted with the message. And it was a blatant nightmare. Again, the products were all there. BUT, there was nothing compelling at all. It was a rote list of items for sale, with names that vaguely outlined what the product might be. And that was it.

Is this person ever going to make a sale? I doubt it. In fact, I’d be surprised if anyone even took the time to follow the link. But this is where I can help: You might be the best widget maker/salesman/repairer/other around. But if you don’t succinctly explain your product, in graduating levels of depth, then your chances of a sale are slim to none.

Your initial foray should be short, and intrigue the reader to want to see more. It should also be grammatically and punctuation correct. It can be funny, witty, insane, interesting – it’s all good stuff, when done right. This is your proverbial bait.

Your second foray (what the user sees when they are interested enough to click through to your web site, FaceBook page, or other medium) should also be succinct, well organized, and offer the opportunity for a third (and possibly fourth) level of information which is progressively more detailed.

If you just post, “Here’s this thing: $35.00” think about this: Would you buy a thing in a picture with no description from someone who appears disorganized whom you’ve never met? If the answer is yes, then we totally need to talk because I want all of your money. Oh, where are my manners? I want all of your money, please.

So do yourself a favor: Take the time to consider each level of what you’re offering. Craft a post that will make an impression. Consider whether that little post will go out into the world to be the next millionaire, or whether it will starve, homeless, under a bridge in some urban death-maze metro-plex. Because you work too damn hard in this life not to take every reasonable, legal, and righteous advantage that is available. The choice is yours.

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~ by digitalninjasmedia on November 20, 2011.

 
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