New Culture, New Thinking
Whether you’ve been on social web from the beginning or you just got here and whether you work for yourself, for clients, or an employer, if your goal is to grow your business or cause — and if it’s not, why isn’t it? — being able to spread your positive message is critical.
Social business and social media can business development, brand awareness, and marketing so much easier because of the people-centered, networking nature of the tools and culture. What drives social media and social business is the idea that people like to connect with and talk to other people.
The messages we share are important and vital to the causes we care about. Often they’re urgent and vital to the success of the projects and campaigns that we’re working on. Yet we need the help of our networks — our communities of colleagues and friends — to get them out, hopefully to take them viral.
So we put together an idea to spread, a call to action that our advocates and evangelists might talk about and share. The problem is that everyone is trying to be subject of the hour as much as we are and true advocates and evangelists are few. So we reach out further to find volunteers in hopes that they will help us as well.
Why Your Request for Help Isn’t Getting A Response
The problem is that we can get so wrapped up in the value of the “goodness” of what we’re doing that we can forget to pass that goodness on it with our request for help. We use the time to detail the “ask,” without letting the people we’re asking know how and why it’s about them to follow through on it. As a result, the request to help us with our cause, our launch, our contest, and sound selfish and leave folks wondering why they should take time to do it.
We can’t ensure a message with take off like wildfire, go viral, with certainty. It’s a combination of timing, connection, resonance, and a perfect match to the audience. Here are three reasons why a request won’t get much attention at all…
- “Buy my stuff” / “help my cause” and “tell everyone” broadcasts. No one has time or resources to do something just because someone asks. It would be silly to do so and we’re not doing our work if we think just saying “buy now,” is enough. These days people get asked so much that lack of a compelling reason to act is enough to be an excuse to say “no.” And passing it on means that we’re only passing more “buy my stuff” noise to our friends.
- “Do this because I / we / need you” to share this messages. Research shows that using “because” will raise your odds. But will that raise your odds enough? We’re bombarded by “calls to action” that are really “calls to help” so much so that the nonprofit world has a term called donor fatigue. Our response to such messages is directly proportional to our relationship to the person, business, or the cause that is asking. We can’t give our everything to everyone, can we? And you can’t keep asking every week.
- “I’m shameless to ask / feeling guilty to ask / begging, so won’t you share this?” messages. Asking for a favor is a friendship action. If you feel shameless for asking, then you shouldn’t ask. If you don’t, don’t say that you do. Saying you’re shameless is asking me to be shameless with you. If we have a relationship of trust, you can tell me what you need and let me decide.
All three messages stop short. They literally leave out what’s need to connect in way that resonates. If we want the potential to go viral, we need that connection in a human to human way.
These messages ask the receiver to choose between helping out and interrupting, nagging, possibly irritating their own network of friends. That’s pressure that no one enjoys and it often backfires on the sender who may have had the best of intentions.
Very often when I get messages like these, I wonder whether the sender has considered me at all in what they’re asking. I want to reply with “Why should I promote yours and not the other ten I just got? I can’t spent my time or bother my friends promoting all of them.”
As they stand all three messages are missing one powerful piece that is crucial to taking a message viral – a connection to the person we’re asking to pass it on. To make it much more likely that your message will get a chance a long and viral run make the act of doing what you need about the people you ask not about you or your cause.
Be a hero by pitching in $1, http://hero.link [someone will sleep in a warm bed tonight]. Pass it on to heroes you admire.
When you make it easy and help folks like heroes for helping, they more often do.
How often do help and RT requests that make you feel proud to pass them on?
–ME “Liz” Strauss
Work with Liz on your business!!
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