I am seeing a trend happening as we enter 2014. It seems the spamming, desperate and free earned media beggars are coming out of the social fabric like never before. Even people who don't know how to barely spell influence marketing now think they can tap into this new free “social media influencer” opportunity they have heard about.
There is not a day that goes by that our agency, Marketing Nutz and my blog site do not receive at least 5-10 requests for free earned media “opportunities” or brands begging for us to write about them, share their infographic or include a link on our site.
This is not going to be a long post where I go into detail on what influence marketing, earned media or brand advocates are. I will deliver an updated post on these topics soon.
For now I just want to deliver a very crisp and direct message to any brand leader, business owner, marketing leader, chief executive office, chief marketing officer or chief of whatever you may be. The message is pretty simple and it goes something like this…
Value my time and I will value you and your brand.
It has taken me years to build an integrated platform that fosters community, relationships, relevant value, and business. It did not happen overnight. It did not happen from some magic mission I paid for on Empire Avenue or by buying Twitter followers and Facebook fans.
No, it happened from investing in community and the human beings within them. It happened by getting in the head of my target customer and providing them the highest value possible in everything we write, say and do.
It required late nights reading, blogging, digging in deep to every social network known to man. It required learning code, developing my own WordPress sites so we could better work with our developers and the technical consultants we hire so that we can offer the highest value to our clients who pay us to build them for their brands.
I didn't get here by begging for free earned media. I didn't get here and you didn't land here by me buying fake Twitter followers or gaming Google plus.
You likely landed here because you either know me, follow my content and it has provided value to you or you follow someone who does.
Leveraging influencer marketing, brand advocacy strategies and earned media is as much art as it is science. Take the time to learn the art as much or more than you do the science of numbers.
- Humanize your brand and you will have more success in relating to human beings, versus simply “using” them.
- Value the time of the people within your community.
- Quit begging for free earned media where you have not built relationship first.
- Shift your budget a bit so you can pay where there is real value. Consider chopping off some of your other traditional or other media that is not delivering results.
- Introduce yourself before asking for the sale. Give, give, give, get. Not get, get, get, kill your brand! Read Gary Vaynerchuk's book “Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook!”
- Earn my trust before you ask me to give you my free time and resource.
- Be my friend first. I like to talk about and help my friends in a real and authentic way.
- There is a cost to the real estate on this or any blog. It is called time. Respect the time of people for which you are asking anything from.
- Focus on relationships first, selling second.
- Quit spamming my Facebook wall with your book, business or whatever it is you are selling if I don't know you and you don't talk to me otherwise.
- Quit touting that alignment with your brand will bring me much brand awareness. There is a reason you want to leverage our platform and communicate with our community. You want access to our community. Treat me and others as partners, not a “blogger” who needs your brand. You need us as much, if not more than we need you.
- Respect me as a human being.
- Respect communities and the human beings within them as human beings.
- I am not for sale. I am not a piece of earned media that you can “tap in to” or add to your free resource marketing plan.
- Build a relationship with me. Earn my respect. Earn my trust and you may end up earning my advocacy in real way which is much different than the tactic many are trying to play. Check out this post and video I did as an earned advocate for Fedex as an example-> Fedex Brand Humanization Case Study, Driver Delivers Holiday Smiles
- Bottom line, be human!
You will get out of this world what you put into it. If all you do is ask, ask, ask you will likely get very little. Instead reverse this scenario and give, give, give. Then when you get it becomes a gift, not a free expectation that burns bridges and damages your relationships and brand more than it helps.
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