When Do You Feel Most Successful?
Before we dig into that, I wanted to give you something to move the entrepreneurial juices on a Monday. The first question is: When do you feel most successful? It might be when we help a client have a serious breakthrough, having opportunities to engage with the audience, etc.
That’s what it is for me. I love doing the interviews, workshops and speaking engagements because I feel like I have a really big impact. So I feel most successful when I have those types of opportunities. So whether you choose to answer in the comments or not, go ahead and give it some thought and see if you can spend more of your time in that time and space. The second question is: How can you spend more time in that type of space?
What Are Social Media Trap Posts?
On today’s Marketing Monday, we’re going to talk about not turning your social media posts into traps. I am so tired of seeing this type of marketing behavior. It’s most prevalent in Facebook groups, but I am seeing it trickle over into LinkedIn.
For example, somebody took organic marketing and boiled it down into 4 spammy steps. So organic marketing is supposed to be a business development process. It’s supposed to be a bit intuitive, but it leans into relationship building.
The Spammy Organic Marketing Steps
But somebody out there was like, “Hey, so instead of this empathy-based thing, I’m going to teach people these 4 super spammy steps to getting engagement.
- Step 1: Go post on LinkedIn or in a Facebook group with some really vague questions that a whole bunch of people are going to engage on.
- Step 2: Send everyone who likes/comments a friend/connection request.
- Step 3: Slide into their DMS for no apparent reason. You don’t need to check their profile to see what they’re up to. Just go right into the DMs, no need to do your homework.
- Step 4: After the perfunctory, “How are you doing?” Go ahead and ask them some deeply personal questions about their business, even though they have no reason to trust you.
These people assume you need their help. I’ve had people ask me how much I’m paying my virtual assistant. I said, “I don’t really feel comfortable sharing that with you.” And then they ask me how much I’m spending monthly. Same questions. Still don’t feel comfortable telling you.
I don’t know you. They also wouldn’t know that I value my virtual assistant Silvia beyond our business relationship. So very much so, that I could not imagine replacing her with stranger danger from my DMs.
Getting Personal Before Building Trust
I also had a relationship coach ask me where I was struggling most in my marriage. I said I wasn’t really comfortable discussing that, and then they asked me, “Oh, so are you prioritizing your business right now?” I don’t feel like I have to prioritize my relationship over my business, or my business over my relationship.
But thank you for insulting me just because I was not willing to share the biggest relationship struggles in my marriage with a complete stranger.
These are bad moves, people. I joined somebody’s Facebook groups and they said they wanted to get on the phone with me. I asked why, and they said, “We just want to talk to you about your business and blah, blah, blah. And then we can give you some recommendations to help you scale, blah, blah, blah, blah.”
And I’m like, how do you know I even need your help? We haven’t had any type of conversation for me to tell you what my business is about, where I’m at with my business, or even like the surface-level stuff.
How do you know I need your help? You don’t. Those types of things get on my nerves because oftentimes those posts are just copy-paste messages. People don’t have boundaries, and it’s horrible.
Examples of Posts That Are Actually Traps
Sometimes I like to ask fun, open-ended questions too. But these ones are obviously traps. Now, I will still choose to engage with them only because it gives me an opportunity to talk more about what I do. But a lot of people comment on them and then go through the 4 spammy steps. So let’s take a look at some of the examples I have for you today.
Social Media Post Trap #1
Here is a new coach, less than 6 months. “Why did you decide to be a coach?” So I’m going to assume that the original poster is a coach who coaches new coaches, or they may have their own Facebook group for new coaches.
So they’re going to friend request that person, message them, and then send them an invite to the group. Wonderful.
So again, it’s a trap post because the idea is not to engage with people and learn more about them and make actual, real connections.
It’s about getting them to like/comment/react to show a sign of interest. So you can then run them through the 4 spammy steps that have become bad, organic marketing.
Social Media Post Trap #2
Next example. “What do you think is the biggest reason you can’t 10x your clients?” I’m going to assume that this person is a marketing/sales consultant. First of all, I wouldn’t even want 10x my clients right now. I don’t have the infrastructure for that.
So that’s the first sign that’s a dumb question, but it’s an open-ended question. And the biggest problem with this spam stuff is that it works. People do comment- except people like me- unless they’ve got ulterior motives. So I like to go and talk to people, and actually develop those relationships.
Social Media Post Trap #3
I’ve got one more trap example for you. “Need help making sales? Drop your website.” Well, for a lot of people, they can actually make sales without a website, so I’m not really sure what type of consultant this person is. Now, do I think having a website is important? Absolutely. But I’m curious why I need to drop my website if I’m having trouble making sales. Usually, a website falls more into the marketing sphere of things.
This person was targeting a B2C audience and that person was struggling to convert, so I suppose they could also be some type of e-commerce business consultant.
So they would help people who typically make sales on their website using Shopify or WooCommerce to build out the site and have their products listed.
People will drop their websites and stuff, which actually makes the most sense because that person could go onto the website, see what they would change, and then be able to weave that into their messaging. But again, my biggest problem here is: How do I know that you’re qualified to help me with sales?
Don’t Call Out People For Reacting Instead of Commenting On Your Post
One of the ones that gets on my nerves the most is this nonsense here, where you’ve liked someone’s posts and then they go into their own comments and say, “Hey Ruthie, what about this post did you like?”
The fact that I’m never going to comment on another one of your posts ever again. That’s the part that I liked, because now you’ve called me out in the comments. Second of all, if I wanted to comment, I would have commented.
People will also tag people in their own comments when they’ve only reacted. That’s a no-no, because I’m just not going to comment on your stuff again.
And then as a dovetail off of that one, sliding into people’s DMS with a copy-paste message, just because they’ve engaged with you. I’m never liking another one of your posts ever again. If I wanted to be called out, I would have probably messaged you. And it’s so annoying because there are better ways to go about this.
How to Not Turn Your Social Media Post Into a Trap
I’m not saying you can’t post the questions, because the questions do work. It’s what everyone does after that that’s annoying, especially to an entrepreneur with some years of experience. Anybody who’s been doing this for even a little while can spot these types of traps. So how do you engage after you spot it?
Engage With Other People in the Comments
One of the things you can do is have a real conversation with this person. Do not immediately slide into their DMs. So I had a really good post takeoff in a black businesswoman group, where I asked people who in there was a coach/consultant. And I asked them what their specialty was.
It sounds exactly like one of the posts that I just put up as bad examples, and it’s not even that those examples were inherently bad, but they are a sign that you’re going to run me through the 4 spammy steps. So if you’re not going to, you need to actually engage with people in the comments.
A lot of people posted, “Oh, I’m a business strategist. I’m a business plan consultant. I help people create their business plans.” And so I would ask them, “So who is your ideal audience? I know you said small business plans. Is there a particular industry that you work in?” And then they’ll respond.
So I’m going back and forth with these people in the comments, asking them real questions and giving real feedback based on what they’ve said. And if they were a good fit, then I would send them a connection/friend request. I also take a look at their profile before I do that because if their profile’s 100% locked down, the likelihood of them accepting my connection/friend request is low.
So avoid looking like a spammer. I send it to people who seem to be open to networking. So there’s a lot of different things that you can check to make sure that you’ve come across as genuine and authentic.
Learn more about Radical Authenticity in this blog post.
If They Didn’t Comment, Engage on Their Public Posts
Let’s imagine another scenario. Let’s say they only liked your post. They didn’t comment, but they liked it. That doesn’t mean you can’t go scope them out, because that’s an indication of interest. That part is not wrong, but going into their DMs and thanking them for the like just turns your post into a trap.
Instead, go to their profile. If they have public posts, go and engage on that content and see if you can get a conversation going there.
There’s a Fine Line Between Helping and Offending
These posts are meant to start conversations, but that’s not how people are using them. The vast majority of the time, it’s just a nice little slide into the 4 steps of spammy, organic marketing. We have to stop doing that. Well, not me. I don’t do that, but everybody else needs to stop doing it because it gets on my nerves and it makes me hesitant to engage.
I commented on somebody’s post because about being a toddler mom, and then she gets into my DMS and says, “Hey, so I’m actually a parenting coach and blah, blah, blah.” Just because I can’t get my kid to pick up his toys doesn’t mean I’m ready to hire a parenting coach.
We could’ve connected on what having toddlers is like and all their funny little habits and behaviors, which would have been fantastic. We totally could have done that, but you immediately were just like, “I’m a parenting coach and you’ve obviously got problems.” Don’t do that.
If you’re a website designer, don’t say, “Hey, I took a look at your website and it looks pretty bad. Here’s my business card.” That’s what you’re doing when you’re sliding into these DMs and people don’t like it. It leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. Not to mention it’s an excessive use of time in a very low-quality way.
All of That to Say: Stop Trapping People With Your Posts!
So that’s pretty much my rant. I’m not saying not to do those open-ended questions. That’s not the problem. What happens after those open ended questions is the problem. Don’t just slide into people’s DMs or send them random friend/connection requests when they don’t look like they’re open to connecting.
Instead, have real conversations and be willing to invest some time in them so people don’t like to feel like they’re just another number.
As Silvia noted, there’s a fine line between helping and offending. And you need to know your audience, which is why it’s better to start out with some conversation and test the waters than to just immediately jump in. When you’re coming into people’s DMs and asking these types of questions, make sure there’s a reason for them to trust you first.