Sunday, October 4, 2015

"Join the conversation" -- No thanks!

    Anyone who follows marketing trends is aware of the stampede to commercialize social media and the growing number of success stories from businesses that claim to have used social media exclusively to promote their products profitably.

    There is no argument against the wisdom that you CAN use social media to grow your business. But for the smallest businesses, an individual making their own perfume for example, HOW can you use social media successfully WITHOUT losing the creative mojo that inspires a new perfume?

    Here's the rub. Promoting a product through social media and building a social media presence (now called your "brand"), is a full time occupation. If you don't believe me, read Brooke Erin Duffy and Emily Hund's article in the Atlantic, "The Invisible Labor of Fashion Blogging." It will quickly set you straight.

    The heroes of the blogging world, the real stand outs, are the ones who receive dozens of comments to each of their posts. Readers of these posts are invited to "join the conversation" by adding their comments to the post. These comments, each of them, must be moderated by the blogger or a member of his or her staff.

    The vast MAJORITY of comments that will be received are spam -- comments trying to move you to another website so the commenter can push some nonsense on you.

    Some comments will simply be "thank you for your post," which adds nothing to the conversation. No information or intelligent opinion on the post is being shared.

    Abusive comments have become rare but the real "problem" -- if you are busy trying to make your own perfume, write books, articles, or a newsletter, or are engaged in any other labor intensive task -- are the comments that call for a RESPONSE.

    These, ironically, are the comments you WANT. They are the other side of the "conversation." I write something and you ask me a question about what I have written or share useful insights on the topic that will be of value to others who read my post.

    But now I have to join the conversation with YOU. I have to respond with the information you have requested or acknowledge and perhaps validate information you have shared that expands on the topic. I have to be AVAILABLE to interact with you.

    And I must constantly monitor incoming comments so that my response, to the few that should get a response, is TIMELY, so that you will feel that I am part of the conversation, that WE are interacting. In short, to "join the conversation" to my own blog, I must be on call 24/7.

    But I don't want to be.

    If you look at the history of this blog you'll see tremendous posting gaps -- weeks without a post. Why? Because I am busy elsewhere, perhaps working on the products themselves, the fragrances, the books, the newsletters for which this blog was created as a marketing tool.

    Feedback is good. I welcome it. But I'm not ready to devote my life to "conversations" 24/7. For now I would rather blog as time permits, when I feel I have something to say and want to share, and when my head is not fully engaged in some other project.
Moonfaire perfume by Lightyears
Moonfaire perfume by Lightyears

    In using social media to market your own perfume or other product you too will experience this same conflict. My advice? Don't feel bad about it. Build the product. Then worry about getting the word out. But don't play the 24/7 game.

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