Strangers with Business Cards March 24, 2009Posted by Brian Link in Uncategorized.
So yesterday, I asked a good friend of mine, Jeff Brown of the DigitalDept (@digitaldept), for a stack of his business cards to help hand out to the various small businesses I run across in Columbus. He’s fantastic with anything and everything to do with digital media for marketing by the way (everything including logo designs and digital branding, posters, mailers, newsletters, twitter backgrounds, high quality inexpensive business cards, you name it).
Then today, I was doing some searching for Twitter tools that help you figure out who you’re following that’s not following you, and got lost in a zillion search results about this topic and bloggers talking about strategies about who you should follow back and all kinds of discussions about your Twitter counts. You’ve all seen it. It’s like a big contest for people, isn’t it? It really makes me wonder why. I mean I understand the purile popularity contest that social media ignites in people, but for those that are treating it seriously and trying to leverage social media to grow their business and do something strategic with their marketing… why would you care?
So I ask this question: would you (and do you) trust every stranger you meet to hand out your business cards for you? I hope your answer is no. Your brand is something you need to value. And while you *do* want as much exposure as you can get and are right in trying to find the right way to use social media to extend your capabilities and reach, you need to be cautious here. There are only a few trusted friends and business partners that I would ask to hand out my business cards for me.
So what am I getting at? Well, why do you think most people try to accumulate followers on Twitter? I think that *they* think that they’re increasing their ability to spread the word about whatever they’re tweeting – spreading news about their company, bragging about blog entries, sharing information they find. But random followers, meaning people you’ve not done business with or don’t know much about beyond their profile data are really just strangers, aren’t they? And I purport that asking these strangers to retweet your messages about your company is exactly the same as asking strangers to hand out business cards.
Now this is social media and it’s a whole new world, I realize. And getting more exposure whether it’s through trusted partners or random @strangeguyyoujustmet can actually put your brand in front of more eyeballs in some cases. But I’m suggesting you think about your strategy and whether this feels like giving a stack of business cards to strangers or not. Maybe it doesn’t bother you 🙂
What do you think?