This week I got a direct message as a result of following someone on Twitter. It said something like, “Thank you for following me. I look forward to reading your tweets. If you need my XYZ services, I would be happy to help. Visit my website, www.XYZ.com.”
It was nice to get a thank you, but there is a pitch embedded in it!
A better message (and I assumed it was direct) was from one of the first people I started following, Mike Stelzner, author of Writing Whitepapers. His message said, “Hi! Thanks a bunch for the follow. Have you seen this on how to get more followers (from Guy Kawasaki)? http://tinyurl.com/5vvd5u.” Now this was helpful! What I especially liked about it is that Mike didn’t even provide a link to free stuff on his site (he has lots of terrific content there) – he linked to someone else’s free and helpful content.
I read Chris Brogan’s blog this morning, in which he asked his followers to buy his new book, Trust Agents, this week. Is that a self-serving promotion? In today’s post, Chris’s tone was very hat-in-hand as he explained that he rarely asks for help from followers. In another blog post, How to Manage Twitter, he said that his ratio of promoting others’ valuable content to promoting his own stuff is about 12:1. I’ve gotten a lot of value from following Chris. So, guess what? I’m buying the book this week!
Just as in our personal and work relationships, social networking on Twitter, Facebook and blogs is like banking. The more you deposit, the more interest you will earn and the more will be there when you need to withdraw. Add lots value for your followers first. When you need to ask for something, you can ask for and receive what you need.