Giving Away Golf Clubs

What if you had a beautiful gift to give away?

Let's pretend it's a brand-new set of golf clubs. Instead of "going viral," you have the feeling people are avoiding you like a contagious illness... something like the flu. It's a 

virus that is all around us, every day. You can catch it in e-mail blasts, Facebook posts, hashtags, and tweets. I've christened it the "buy my book bug."

Some authors post about their topics, their writing process, their pets, their partners, their projects, and their progress. I love reading their stuff. I feel connected to them, and, because of that, I enjoy their success. When they do post about a new release, event, or sale? I gladly retweet it or share it on my page -- because there's a relationship.

Because There's a Relationship

Then there are the others. I "like" or "follow" someone new, hoping to find out about them and enjoy some good, fresh content. But, instead, I get the automatic, one-size-fits-all private message "inviting" me to connect with them (and see the identical content) somewhere else. Ugh. I solved part of this for myself by eliminating the option of direct messaging from my personal account. So, if you're a friend and I haven't gotten back to you, you now know why. 

The are a lot of people who just don't get it: social media is not for selling. It's for creating and developing relationships. And, as Bob Burg says, “All things being equal, people will do business with, and refer business to, those people they know, like and trust.” Fellow author and marketing mega-star Lisa Wilber reminds us that "you can be successful at anything as long as enough people know what you're doing."

Sometimes the Truth Hurts

I've taught social media basics to authors and other small business owners for a while. It breaks my heart to tell them, "Nobody cares about your _______ (book, restaurant, service, store or product)." Inevitably, I feel like I kicked a puppy, even when I tell them it's not personal: most people don't care about mine, either.

What do people care about online? The same things they care about in real life: themselves, their families, and their own lives and problems.

So why should authors and small business owners have a vigorous online presence? That's where our readers are. Part of our job is to make it easy for them to find us. Another part is to let them know we care about their lives. Writing, tweeting, or posting on Facebook... it can't "be about" you.

What happened to those golf clubs?

A lot of people would be thrilled to get a brand-new set of golf clubs for their next big occasion. I'm not one of them. I don't play golf and have torn both rotator cuffs; my chances of becoming a regular

a regular, happy golfer are pretty extremely slim. If you offered me golf clubs, I'd know you don't know me well...  But, if you kept trying to give me golf clubs? I'd start to wonder what was wrong with you.

There's nothing wrong with you; in fact, I appreciate your generosity. There's nothing wrong with golf clubs, either. They're just not something I want or need right now.

And, if you stop trying to give me golf clubs and, instead, try to find out what I DO want? I'm a lot more likely to continue to follow you. And if you let me get to know YOU a bit? I'll probably even stick around and may even share your message with the golfers in my life.