I have a proposition for you. You may not like it, but please approach it with an open mind.
Here’s what I’d like you to do:
STOP SELLING FOR ONE DAY
And by the way, this doesn’t only apply to you, but to everyone advertising a business on social media. Big businesses, small businesses, all businesses.
Before you question my proposal, ask yourself this:
What does selling mean to me, and how soon does selling become spamming?
I’ll give you an example. I’m in Vermont and I like outdoorsy stuff. I like companies that act responsibly and treat their employees well. These businesses make reliable, long-lasting products I am totally in the market for. Best of all, I am willing to pay a premium price for quality.
What happened is that these companies know I like them. In a day and age where every mouse click sends a signal to my personal profile in some secret marketing database, my online habits have become an open book. I have become a TARGET.
IT’S NOT JUST ME
ALL of us have become targets. There’s even a name for those deemed to be the easiest to manipulate. Marketers call them “the impressionables.”
Now, even though I have a tremendous amount of goodwill for these outdoor lifestyle companies I already buy from, they want to squeeze and bleed me more, and that’s why they keep bombarding me with sales messages on all platforms. It’s a very organized and relentless attack.
Do you think that this constant hammering is helping or hurting their business? Will my respect for these companies only increase, or will it go down?
Then why are they continuing to sell to someone who is already sold? Why are they making me hate them?
Now think about your approach to online sales and marketing. Chances are that you are a voice over like me, interacting with other voice overs. You probably post weekly, if not daily messages telling me how good you are and why I should hire you. Quite often, you post nice quotes from clients. You share prestigious projects you are proud of, and you can’t wait to show off your new studio gear. Most of the time you post the same messages on different platforms, just because it is easy.
Don’t tell me that’s “just being social.”
It’s SELLING and MARKETING, and you know it.
Now, I totally understand people trying to use social media to promote their business, but if you’re one of them, ask yourself: “Am I targeting the right audience? Are the colleagues I am exposing my Look-At-Me blasts to, the ones that are most likely to hire me?”
And even if you believe they are, isn’t making it all about the CUSTOMER (instead of making it all about you), the most effective marketing approach? And at what point does selling become spamming?
Selling is not beating someone into submission. It’s infuriating and counterproductive.
That’s why I am asking you: Stop selling, advertising, and marketing for one day.
A NEW APPROACH
During that day, think about a new approach to social media marketing and marketing in general, that isn’t more-of-the-same and doesn’t piss people off. Think about the audience you want to reach, and where you can find and meet that audience.
Show up where your clients are. Go to their conferences. Not to places where you find colleagues congregating. If you’re an audiobook narrator, hang out with authors and publishers. If your specialty is eLearning, find out where eLearning people get together (in person and online).
My realtor just told me his multinational company has a running list of preferred providers like photographers, videographers, people who stage homes… but there are no voice overs. He said: “If you get on that list now, I guarantee you can work all day long, narrating house tours, especially with that international accent of yours.”
And another thing… dare to do something that hasn’t been done before to show the world you’re not a copycat. And don’t tell me: “I can’t think of something. Everything has already been done, and much better than I will ever be able to.” You’re a creative freelancer, so, BE CREATIVE!
And if you can’t come up with something right away, perhaps you should team up with a marketing/branding expert. Subtle hint: you won’t find them by hanging out in VO Facebook groups talking about microphones. I always find inspiration in other fields by studying freelancers who are social media success stories.
Take Tiffany Poon, for instance. She is one of hundreds of thousands of pianists with an online presence, yet her YouTube channel has a whopping 305K subscribers! Her videos have been watched millions of times. She’s a great pianist, but there’s something very endearing and personable about Tiffany that has made her a YouTube sensation. Take a look.
Want another example? How about Sarah Jeffery. She plays what many consider the most basic and boring of instruments: the recorder. Her YouTube channel (with 165K subscribers) has made her into one of the most recognizable and popular recorder players in the world. Her disarming British sense of humor is one of her secret weapons.
Prior to appearing on social media, Both Tiffany and Sarah were relatively unknown to the world, even in classical music circles. But thanks to the exposure they created for themselves, they are definitely on the map. Not only that, those who watch their vlogs feel they have a personal connection to these musicians.
Here’s what you need to get. I have watched lots of videos of Tiffany and Sarah, and at no point do they turn to the viewers saying: “Look at ME. Please hire me for your next concert. You won’t regret it.” They demonstrate their artistry and their personality in every vlog and Instagram post. Even if you’re not into classical music, you will be drawn into their world. You want to be friends with them.
There’s something else I want you to notice. Sarah and Tiffany won’t spam your inbox or your social media accounts. Instead of chasing you with repetitive messages, they produce content you don’t want to miss. They make you want to come to them, and it works!
I always say: If you want people to be interested, you have to be interesting. Here’s the good news: lots of people find what voice overs do very interesting, and they love to get a look behind the scenes to see how you make the sausage.
PLEASE BE REAL
To round things up, here are a few keys when it comes to using social media for sales and marketing:
Be sincere instead of slick. Treat people like people, instead of as prospects. Get to know their needs, fears, and fascinations. Answer their questions. Be entertaining, and most importantly…
WELCOME THEM INTO YOUR WORLD
Show your viewers and listeners what you’re all about.
Don’t take yourself too seriously. You don’t need to post an overproduced demo reel to show off how amazing you are. The most essential thing is TO BE REAL so people can relate to you and start liking you. Don’t try to please everyone, though. Keep your quirks and all the things that make you special.
The goal is CONNECTION, not PERFECTION.
Lastly, be patient and keep on creating cool content. It took Tiffany and Sarah a few years to build a following. They’re in it for the long haul, not for the occasional hit.
I can’t wait to see and hear what you come up with!