Creating friends for fun and profit

It always amazes me how people assume that because there are millions of people on social networks, there are millions of people who can (will?) subscribe to their posts, click through to their web site, buy their products, and make them rich. It’s about the same as saying there are millions of people on the planet, so all I need to do is send them the same ad copy I send to everyone else on the planet, and the moment they read it they will come to my business, buy some stuff, tell their friends how great I am…

Seth Godin has a great post on finding the right people to message to. He suggests finding the people you already know, and I would agree with that. In my opinion, though, you also need to work on building relationships that create that ten. After all, if I kept forwarding offers from clients to my Sister, she’d stop trusting me, and would tell me to cut it the hell out.

You need to build up your company’s own network of the faithful. The best way to do this is to listen for conversations that are about you. If you can’t find those, listen for mentions of your product or industry.

Then chat these people up. Make conversation. Don’t push messages on them, just get to know them. Do this often enough, and you’ll develop a cadre of users who like you.

And once you’ve done that enough, you’ve got your magic ten contacts to spread the word for you. I’ve done this often enough to turn contacts into brand champions – not because the offer I had in hand was so good, but because I would relate to people as actual people. Anything else just annoys them, and will hurt your chances of ever getting these people to become customers again.

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