Give it Away

One of the most followed “voices” and highest profile taste makers in the social media network world is Gary Vaynerchuck.  And while Gary’s style isn’t for everyone he is on point in several areas. One of them is that social media is about engagement. In others words successful social media campaigns are way more than just posting generic content.  They’re about connecting with the people that engage with your message by responding, re-posting, and ‘liking’ your posts. And especially connecting promptly to the people who reach out to you directly. One of the quickest ways for you to connect to these people initially is to use your posts like I’m using this one here to share your valuable information for free.  In other words, to ‘give it away’ and share your expertise for free.  Two weeks ago on the way to an appointment my German car displayed a ‘headlamp out’ warning.  I wasn’t close to the dealer so I “Yelped” for a service shop near my location hoping I could have it replaced on that Friday afternoon, after 3pm I might add.  The place I found had about 30 reviews and four out of five stars on Yelp.  So I gave it a shot.  The shop had eight bays bustling with activity as ‘worker bees’ diligently and efficiently made their way through work orders.  I walked inside past a dozen waiting customers and stepped into a line with another ten.  The line was for the cashiers window.  I didn’t know where else to stand.  I just wanted to find out if they had the part and if they could install it while I waited.  Within two minutes the owner approached me and in an efficient yet not rude manner asked me “what you need?”  I asked if he had the headlamp.  He replied yes, “pull it in.”  I pulled my car in knowing that an expensive German car is going to command a hefty hourly wage and expensive part costs as part of ownership.  I was skeptical but still felt that based on the social media reviews his service shop would be less expensive than the dealer.  I was in for a shocker.  Within fifteen minutes I went from a Yelp review to pulling the car into a service bay.  I  stood back as a technician immediately popped the hood and began to remove the old bulb and install the new one.  Without a work order or a quote I was nervous. “‘How much is this gonna be?, ” I asked.  “Just the bulb?” Replied the technician, “Twenty bucks.”   OK, I figured. Plus the $150 labor charge and I’m still out the door for less than a dealer would charge me.  The job complete, the car was returned to the driveway as the diligent tech told me, “You’re all set. $20 bucks.” Shocked and almost guilty for my good fortune I handed him a 20 dollar bill, opened my Yelp account and shared the story for the next ‘Taft’ to read before they pulled in for the first time.  Then I took my review to the owner.  It was now approaching the end of the work day and work week and the mood in the shop was noticeably upbeat.  I shared my review with the owner and let him know that my experience with his shop was so rare today that I felt moved to sing his praises.  “Thank you so much!”  He said to me as if I had done him the favor.  But it gets better. Exactly a week later the other headlamp went out and again on a Friday.  I was nowhere near the shop this time but I drove twenty miles out of my way anyway just to get to his shop. This time he installed the lamp and refused to charge me.  He wouldn’t take my money.  He gave it away.  Today I am a loyal client and needless to say have spent a fair amount in regular maintenance fees.  That experience earned my business.  We all have expertise and we choose to share it in different ways.  Some charge for speaking engagements and consulting fees and others by the hour or job quoted. But what my new friend did was give his time and even a part away in return for a loyal customer and now an advocate for his business.  I’m still writing about him today.  The point is that just like this post, I’m “giving it away” to educate my clients and prospects in order to earn their trust and repeat business.  When you give your expertise away through your social media networks you learn the power of connecting with businesses, clients and customers in ways that most people only do socially o Facebook for example.  So “give it away.” Offer your experience with the confidence that that free knowledge you’re providing not only educates your target audience but also helps define you as a leading authority in your field.  Do it because you love what you do and you’re confident in your ability.  That confidence and positive energy earns clients.  Your social media network connections will respect you for educating them for free, they’ll keep coming back because you “gave it away” and one day they’ll ask a question that will turn into new business.


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