We exist in an ideal time for sharing information quickly and liberally. One of the greatest benefits of the Internet Age comes from the accessibility to nearly all of life’s answers. Within seconds, we can find out how to change a tire, bake a red velvet cake, or what’s happening on the other side of the globe. The world is simultaneously becoming smaller and bigger than we could ever have imagined.
Information sharing is one of the many things businesses can offer their customers to help them feel invested and keep coming back for more. However, that shouldn’t be the only reason to do it. There’s certainly merit to the idea of leaving a little breadcrumb trail of “tips and tricks” to show off your expertise and get your prospective clients to bite. There is a point, though, where they begin to see through the charade and feel they’re being led on a wild goose chase with a big price tag as a prize.
If there’s one thing we know about the modern consumer, it’s that they really don’t like feeling like they’re being actively sold to. We see this in their reaction to Facebook advertisements, popup ads, suggested Tweets, and more. They’re seeking that genuine connection; that reason to give your company more than a second of their time. If they detect insincerity, they’re gone.
This is why it’s so important to consider your approach to sharing information. In reality, businesses must be cognizant of their marketing as it relates to sales. But that doesn’t have to mean sacrificing integrity just to get someone to fill out your online inquiry form. Think of ways you can give them real value.
- Don’t repeat what everyone else has already said. In order to be good at this information sharing thing, you need to find something only you can share. Even if you’re just giving your personal spin on it, it’ll be something a little different. If you’re the 1000th person to write the same “Top 5 Best Online Marketing Tips” that have been circulating for the last six years, no one will care.
- Give a little without expecting a return. It’s okay to want to, you know, make a profit. But every once in a while, try giving something away with absolutely no expectation of return. People will appreciate feeling like you’re not always sitting there with your hand held out, waiting to be paid.
- Don’t think too highly of yourself. Everyone’s an “expert” these days. When you really know your stuff, you don’t have to puff your chest and claim your expertise all the time. Just be genuine and nerd out over the things you love. Your enthusiasm will be catching.
- Let other people have the floor once in a while. If it’s the “Me Show” all the time, things may get stale. Part of sharing information comes from letting others have a voice, too. Encourage discussion and feature guests. Some of our best ideas can come from collaboration.
- Offer something of real value. If you’re going to give away a “free ebook” in exchange for their email address, then make sure there’s something in that ebook that’s going to make the download worth it. If they give up their info for a half-baked white paper full of information they already know, they’ll lose faith in you immediately.
There are numerous methods of sharing information in the digital marketplace — email marketing, SMO marketing, blogging, and more. Select the medium that works best for you. Are you good at short-form or long? Is it easy for you to whip up a crowd? Do you have an effective opening rate for emails? These are all important questions. Once you have your medium, all you need to do is give the people what they’re looking for.
Easier said than done, we know. But if you need help… it’s out there!
Stephanie Wargin is the Social Media Strategist at Zenergy Works, a web design and SEO company located in Santa Rosa, California. Her friends like to brush her hair into her eyes whenever she talks about Facebook.