Give it away for FREEThe social media world may just be the ideal expression of social justice.

Many of us are familiar with the old adage that “it’s better to give than to receive”. Every day this advice is proven to be true, millions and millions of times over, through the power of social media.

If we want to truly reap the rewards of social media, we must give to receive…
We must offer more than we solicit…

Indeed, we must ‘give it away for free’ and expect nothing in return.

The Real Role of Social Media

FACT #1: With a few notable exceptions, sales aren’t made on Social Media.

FACT #2: None of us are in business to provide our services for free, but that’s not what social media is about.

Your social media presence is your company’s face – it’s seen by users as being the candid, unedited version of what the company really represents. Social Media provides a rich opportunity for those companies who excel in their area of expertise and who truly care for their customers.

Blindly spoil your connections with your valuable insights and expertise.
Freely give away information and opinions about recent developments in your industry, where the technology is headed, or tips and tricks that your customers can use to get better value and utility from your products.

Customers will flock to your insightful online brand more than they ever will around for even the fanciest broadcast ad.

Add Value, not Coupons

Sure, everyone talks about adding value to the conversation but what does this really mean? Unfortunately, many marketers have interpreted it literally and set about publishing discounts and coupons in an attempt to ‘add value’ for their customers.

The net result of that approach is to create a following of bargain hunters – who’ll give back exactly what is being put out by the business: cheap, fleeting attention.

REAL value is gained in the 5 following ways:

  1. Answer Questions. The questions may not even be directed at you and that’s fine. If the question pertains to your area of expertise, you can still join the conversation and answer as an expert on the topic.
  2. Give out Tips and Tricks Freely. For example, if you’re an arborist, reveal your methods for eliminating wood bugs. If you’re a dry cleaner, give away your best tips to get common stains out of clothes. It may be counter-intuitive to train your market to do the little things themselves, but they will love you for it, reward you with expert status and turn to you when they have a real problem that requires a professional (and billable) touch!
  3. Make Connections. You have clients with needs; you have industry connections with solutions. When you see an opportunity there, hook them up. The favor will not be forgotten and all three parties will benefit.
  4. Refer Interesting or Useful Content. To be useful to your followers you don’t need to have all of the answers, simply aggregating the answers and directing people onto the right path will set you apart from the majority of businesses who greedily horde the attention of their connections.
  5. Be Interesting. Social Media can be fun too – never forget that. Feel free to allow your brand to ‘goof off’ every once in a while. Post a funny video, tell a joke, poke fun at yourself – have a personality!

Businesses that add these kinds of value are a part of something truly special: a place where mutual benefit flourishes and the selfish are forced to the fringes. The future of social media is bright for those who know that it’s better to “tweet than to receive”.

Do you have a good story of how you gave something away and it came back to you even bigger or better? Let us know by leaving a comment, below.