How Un-Marketing & Social Media Can Transform Your Business

I’ve been reading Scott Stratten‘s book, Un-Marketing. I scanned the book nearly a year ago because a client asked me to review a few chapters to write some themed blog posts.

I researched the book. Got intrigued. Wrote the posts. Yet I put it aside on my shelf.

Thanks to social media (amazing how it works) and a recent tweet by Nick Usborne linked to a post about Scott – his book was back in my hands all weekend.

I started dabbling in social media in 2008. A colleague (at the time) asked me over lunch if I had a Twitter and that I should get one and start tweeting. Think about how odd and a bit intimately personal that suggestion must have sounded to me at the time (“…get a Twitter…start tweeting…” Wha…?).

But I listened…just like I’m listening now.

I wasn’t ready then, and I wasn’t ready a year ago to REALLY hear what Scott Stratten has to say. Now, I’m all over it! And have been for awhile now.

In fact, social media is the primary way I’m un-marketing my business. And businesses that “get” social media will un-market themselves too.

What Stratten means by un-marketing (in a nutshell) is having the mindset that marketing is more about relationships (engaging) than it is about selling (marketing without a trusted connection). The results align – people are sold – but the platform is different.

Think of social media marketing (uh, engagement) as a return to the essence of sales. It’s like a handshake long before the deal is done. It’s a connection that says – I trust you because you’ve invested time to do so.

For social media, the time investment is about information…content. And that’s where the engagement (un-marketing) starts.

What Stratten is teaching me about how to start un-marketing with social media:

1) Value relationship development.

We’ve known for eons that relationships lead to sales. But some sales relationships are like an occasional one-night-stand. Ewww…right?

Picture this – a quick mailer (the wink across the crowded bar). Then – an unsolicited email blast or two (cue creeper-pick-up-line). Continued with – a flurry of slick-eye-candy-web-popup-ads (too many drinks to remember). Boom! Sales cha-ching (“…now what was your name…?)! A tad overstated…perhaps.

Use (not abuse) social media to create trusted conversations that lead to relationships where ongoing, profitable connections are made.

2) Restore engagement to selling.

As a trained copywriter I’ve learned the necessary value of trust building. What separates profitable promotions (whether print or online) from all others is their ability to lead a reader – in a trustworthy way – to a point of decision about the product or service. And ultimately a “yes” decision.

Everyone sells. Though some don’t necessarily like using the term.

Try this – exchange sell for engage.

For the most part, engaging with social media instills a trust-oriented attitude about how you approach friends, clients, vendors, and all prospects related.

3) Get outside-the-box (seriously!)

I didn’t say “think-outside-the-box.” Thinking often stops short of action. And action is vital if you’re wanting to engage with social media.

I know a business is at least thinking outside-the-box (about un-marketing) when I see social media buttons show up on their website or email signature. And that’s a good, commendable start.

But there’s more to going social than eye-candy buttons that indicate a Twitter account, a Facebook page or a Google + presence.

Take action…engage already!
>Ask questions you/your clients/friends want answered. Social media is generous with information.

>Answer questions others are asking. Give and receive (there’s something “golden” about that rule).

>Establish a consistent routine. Random activity (not engagement) will deliver random (that’s being generous) results.

>Get help. There’s plenty of us who see engagement as an un-marketing lifestyle and not a passing trend (Check our Twitter profile feed too. Follower numbers tell less about engagement than a consistent timeline of quality…tweeted content).

Now to un-finish Stratten’s Un-Marketing book!

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