A social media no-no (for ad agency new business, of course!)

A funny thing happened on the way to Ad Age the other day…

When I have been paid to offer an opinion on social media, I sometimes use my own example. Fully disclosing, of course, the relative newness of the effort you’re now reading. And in the same breath, suggest the agency take a look at good ol’ Michael Gass @ Fuel Lines.

I also have suggested they identify a couple of online locations where prospects are likely to gather. Agencies are to listen in a bit, then look for ways to contribute. In some cases, this can mean making a comment on a story or a blog post. And, I’m not opposed to adding in a link to your own blog or site.

Well, sports fans, there is such a thing as too much. And this is personal experience talking! Yours truly has been practicing what he’s been preaching for a couple of months on agency trade magazines. And always adding a link. Well, I just got spanked for it by another reader. The words stay with me even today, “You comment everywhere. The self promotion is getting rather annoying.”

Yikes.

I share this because it might have a bit of value as you… explore your social media plan. And you know, I think the reader just might be right! While it would be easy to claim these are the mistakes of a social media rookie, and that the traffic spikes have become like crack to this new blog… I really should have known better.

The mistake I made was looking at stories and thinking, “what might I say that will enable me to put my name on it” vs. coming up with an honest thought or two that will be valuable to other readers. (And to really mean it.) To be clear, this is not to suggest that whatever’s said isn’t interesting, of course. But I will admit that the balance might have been a bit off recently, particularly on Ad Age comments.

So, yours truly still likes the tactic. But it is possible to wear out a welcome. The lesson here for you and me? Identify a few places, say something substantive, and self-edit if need be. Also, consider taking a step back every so often. Compare current behavior with what you originally set out to do. (You did write that down, didn’t you?!) Course correct.

Now, as to attaching a link to a post? Well…from what I’ve gathered the social media experts seem dead set against it. They say never do it. Apparently we aren’t supposed to sell in social media. I look at it a different way – the link increases the speed at which you get to a transaction point. You know, some benjamins! To me, a simple link can monetize awareness. And there’s a right way and wrong way to do that. Execution.

Trust your instincts. Listen to that inner voice. Pay attention to how others are behaving. The really blatant, awkward plug hurts, rather than harms, me thinks. But I’m very OK with a bit o’ selling.

Just thought you’d appreciate a lesson from a slight stumble. If you want to hear more, lemme know. Thanks!