Unmarketing Through the Use of Social Media
Advertising and promotion have their places on the web. When done right, they can attract customers and increase sales. When it comes to social media, the best form of advertising is none at all. Many new and even established businesses forget that any kind of direct advertising can eliminate them from establishing a presence on media sites. Their best method to grow a base of customers is through the sharing of information.
The first method of unmarketing is to avoid talking about products and services or talking extensively about your achievements as a business owner. Social media marketing is about building trust. Attention grabbing headlines may draw the eye, but viewers prefer to share interests or get informed. The only kind of marketing you should be doing is focusing on building a list of followers and encouraging the interaction of ideas. Nowhere does this require any sales pressure.
Following your first consideration you must be willing to provide information that benefits your readers in some way and establishes you as a credible source of that information. This leaves out drawing attention to your products. You will know how successful your efforts are when someone asks questions or seeks for more information. In the initial stages of unmarketing you don't need to offer free ebooks, reports or widgets on first contact. That can come later as you angle for those most interested in what you offer.
Friendly dialog is a key to good social media contact. If you don't have the time to devote hours online answering a potential stream of questions, you should hire someone to do that job while you focus on other areas of your business. Keeping an open dialog takes time and not every businessman and woman has the communication skills or patience required to cultivate a customer from first contact to buyer. Facebook, forums, blogs and face-to-face contacts always take longer to bear fruit, but they can produce loyal customers.
Social media requires you to be honest. Trying to elevate the status of your products or debunking the competition is clearly transparent to many viewers and few of them will accept your hype without question. You need to be friendly and helpful, not the proverbial bull in the china shop. Be honest. Invite comments, even if they aren't what you like to hear. It's those critics that can best help you improve your product lines and your business. You don't need to hype the value of your products as your followers can clearly see the value as you describe their benefits and features through honest dialog.
Another method of unmarketing that is often overlooked is by providing comments and opinions on competitive products and their manufacturers. Social media sites are open forums, so those who are interested in buying can weigh the pros and cons of products supplied by differing competitors. Your opinions and attitude online may sway a buyer to buy from you because he sees that you respect the marketplace and provide more value with your products than that of the competition.
Use social media as a communication tool rather than a marketing tool. Done correctly, you are more likely to grow a loyal customer base for life.