I don’t really get into the whole business side of social media, I won’t be becoming a social media consultant anytime soon. I do all this because I like it. I don’t read articles on Mashable, I never really figured out why there was the whole switch from the “FAN” to “LIKE” button on facebook.

I hate writing bios for speaking engagements that I’ve already been hand selected for. So the thought of writing an entire pitch about my many amazing virtues and why companies should simply surrender all their money because boy howdy I’m about to make all their dreams come true?

Hives.

Social media hives, they come out in the shape of the fail whale.

You see, it’s one thing to write a bio stating your accomplishments and your qualifications for sitting up on stage talking about something you’re already good at.

It’s a completely different thing to write down how awesome you *think* you are so you can send it to various offices around the country with a very good chance of being rejected. Or maybe it’s only in my head that I’m automatically rejected.

Anyway. I’d rather write praises for one of my friends, I know for a fact how awesome they are and how much I trust their opinion and just how much stuff I’ve bought because they said it was awesome (and when I say they I generally mean Emily because you set that girl loose in a flea market and she’ll come back with a $150 pair of jeans for $1.50, NO LIE.)

So as far as selling myself? I don’t know much about that aside from being myself and doing the best I can with any opportunities I’m fortunate enough to be a part of.

BUT! When it comes to selling yourself? I KNOW EVERYTHING THERE IS TO KNOW ABOUT THAT! (well, not everything, but I have opinions) I’m mostly looking at you businesses, especially you…businesses that send me crappy email pitches.

  • You’re much better off hand selecting a dozen bloggers you want to work with than throwing out a hundred generic emails with [name here]. *shiver* If you send me a good pitch and I’m not right for the job? I’ll tell you which one of my friends is.
  • I once heard that account managers at Edelman are not allowed to contact a blogger unless they have read three months back into their archives. I have never received crap from Edelman. They remain one of my favorite companies to work with. Take note…read the blogs of the bloggers your pitching.
  • Read their twitter streams…if you see something like what’s below? Disengage. Not only will you look stupid, you will make your brand look stupid and all the rest of us are going to think you’re kind of stupid for not researching who you hired to represent you. (This was an actual tweet from a blogger who has all kinds of options for media sponsorships on their site. Some companies have ads on the bloggers site as well. Is this how you want to be represented?)

  • Do not think you are so awesome that you don’t have to engage with your audience. I can think of four brands in particular that do this (Canon, Dyson, Apple and Clarisonic.) Obviously they’re brands I use and recommend, but the fact that they’re over there just basking in their awesome and have little or no online  engagement (HIRE ME, SERIOUSLY, I’VE MADE YOU SO MUCH MONEY, I COULD MAKE YOU SO MUCH MORE.) makes me wonder if I couldn’t be won over by their competitors who DO have a strong online presence. (I’m looking at you Nikon, Hoover, HP and NuSkin.) Believe me, there’s a huge difference when a brand is actively engaged in conversation.
  • If someone calls you out on your crap online…FIX IT…don’t just ignore it and hope it goes away. We all make mistakes. Don’t think that just because you have 2,000 other followers who love you that you can ignore that one complaint. Yes, sometimes a turd is a turd, but sometimes a consumer with a complaint really does have valuable feedback and you should listen.
  • Sometimes little things have HUGE return on investment. For example, Cindy had her PlayDoh held hostage when going through airport security. (I still claim they just kept it to play with in the break room.) Hasbro saw my silly tweets about the PlayDoh loving TSA agents and contacted Cindy to send her more. PlayDoh is *maybe* $5. But this simple action? Earned them far more than $5, it earned them respect.
  • I have yet to see a brand truly fail when they have a real person representing them. A real person behind the twitter account and a real person behind a facebook account. Again, you could let your customers do all the talk about your brand, but having a relatable person with a real life and a real face? Makes you real. Approachable. Worth spending money on. Examples?Angela with HP @AngelaAtHP, George (no longer with Crocs but still awesome) @GeorgeGSmithJr (I own three pairs of crocs when I swore I’d own none thanks to this man.) Scotty (a local Indianapolis restaurant owner)  @brewhouse, Chris with Chevy @cbarger, Scott with Ford @scottmonty and Caitlin from @mabelhood. There’s comfort in knowing if I’m going to invest money in a product, there are real people there to back up my purchase.

Whew! You still with me? It’s pretty safe to say I lost my parents within the first three sentences. This is a post that’s been rumbling around in my head for months after numerous conferences and discussions on the topic. It’s nice to have it out. Now there’s much more room for fun stuff, like brownie recipes and pop culture trivia.

So, what clicks your social media buttons?

Comments

  1. I really liked this post and read the whole thing but you know what stuck with me?

    Emily got $150 jeans for $1.50!? WHAT?!

    Now those are some skills I want to learn.

    And AMEN – Amen I say to you about companies not ignoring problems and hoping they go away. That’s just annoying.

  2. What I find frustrating about the pitch emails are the ones who just send you press releases about such and such celebrity putting their kid in a specific stroller, and offer you photos and info “for your site”. Translation: we want you to write an online infomercial for us, for free.

    The other thing I don’t get is the companies that email you saying, we’ll send you our product for you to giveaway on your site. SUPER. So now you not only want me to write about your product, but also pay to ship it to someone else?

    I started blogging to write about what was rambling around in my head as a father. I took some review opportunities because they offered me some books and other stuff my kids would like. Lately, it feels like a lot of people view the blog writing as secondary (or tertiary) to the marketing and social media “presence”.

  3. um yeah. i went through this phase where i was all “oh! oh! pick me! pick me!” because i thought all the cool bloggers had ties to major companies. but then (thankfully as i did with my other phases–hello jordache acid wash) i got over it. when i’m writing, i want to be inspired by my family or my faith or my feeble attempts at depth…not by product endorsement. now if a company just adores me AS I AM and wants to hook up, i’m game. otherwise, i’ll stay in my corner of the blogosphere and watch the big girls play.

  4. I don’t get pitches so I really have no opinions about that.
    Amelia’s classroom asked the parents to buy some extra supplies for the classroom. I chose to buy the playdough because I remember the company was awesome to my friend.

  5. I adore this post. I will send the link to my social media club attendees (at work).

    I’ve worked with companies who researched, and then contacted a group of bloggers they wanted to work with and it is the best type of experience. The form email thing gets deleted. But I’m just doing it for fun too, so I can be super picky about how I want to play on the business end of things.

    Great post. If you could get Canon to hire you that would be so awesome! (I love my Canon and it does stink that they are too *whatever* to do social media.)

  6. YES YES YES YES YES YES

    LOVE this post. Just YES to all the above.

    Also, SO with you on Canon ;-)

  7. This is such a great post. I hate companies that have a social media account but do nothing to interact with their customers.

    My MAJOR social media pet peeve is when someone tweets a link that takes me to their facebook page. I’m on TWITTER, not FB – don’t force me to change mediums. And don’t treat your FB page as your company’s webpage. It’s not.

    Headless Mom Reply:

    @kakaty, YES! I get that you can have a company presence on fb, but don’t force it. Not everyone loves it.

    sarah Reply:

    @kakaty, YES. I just had a self-described “web social media expert” tell me to do this – tweet FB to Twitter and then people could click to FB for the full text. Um. No.

  8. Totally on the same page. What I like is when brands and their representatives can be so engaged that they smell a rat when there is one, and see a legitimate opportunity/relationship when it comes along.

    Some (ok many) bloggers are just as ill behaved as those blog pitch emails. Know when you have a gem on your hands and do something with it.

    Stop “sleeping around” with every blogger/brand that will throw you a bone I mean link/free stuff.

    I had a great experience with Angela at HP, too. She got my HP mini back and running and honestly, I feel warm fuzzies about HP for that. THAT’S what they should be working for- keep us feeling warm fuzzies. I also feel warm fuzzies for the awesome behind the scenes service from Tiny Prints as well. That’s why I keep going back and spending my real money and giving my honest recommendation to others and not just using them for free stuff and when the free runs out I don’t go back. Not that at all.

    Steph

  9. Yeah, you lost me after the first few sentences. That’s because I only do all this social media stuff for fun. But brownie recipes…that I understand. Bring ‘em on! :-)

  10. I’ll show you my shopping ways anytime you want, young one.

    And my favorite is when a company contacts you to promote their product, and you agree, because you love their product.

    Then when you ask to sample their product so you can effectively work and promote their brand, they tell you that they don’t have any samples for you. They’ve saved their samples to send out to “big bloggers”, which you are not one of.

    Love that.

  11. Casey, I have SEEN you sell yourself and do it very, very well.

    And that? Is totally cool. Hell, I wish I could do it as well as you do!

    But own it.

  12. I am often curious how people find me when I receive a pitch for a twitter party or “come look at my website” or they leave a link to THEIR website for my readers. I could not agree more with brands taking the time to find out what I am all about and to want a genuine voice to represent them instead of the current hot mom blogger on the web. As much as I love my Canon camera and I am invested in a lot of glass, I would give it up for a company that actually paid attention to my passion for their stuff. Mercy!

  13. *standing ovation*

    AWESOME, Casey. Awesome.

  14. Thanks for sharing such awesome social media tips! We are sorry to hear that you haven’t had a positive engagement experience with Clarisonic online. We are excited to be growing in the social media space. You can find us on Twitter @Clarisonic or on Facebook at facebook.com/clarisonic. We’d love to connect with you and hear your thoughts about our product. Please let us know if you have any additional questions. Cheers!

  15. Thumbs up… wait… I’m a Fan… er… like… um… you’re pretty.

  16. For the record, I was going to send you salami before you said awesome things. Just so we’re being transparent when it comes to artisan meat affection.

  17. There are nine pairs of Crocs in my house. NINE. Four of them are mine. @GeorgeGSmithJr … Call me!

    In all seriousness (okay, that was serious) you are RIGHT ON. I am often shocked by whom certain companies are affiliated and even more shocked by the way some companies DON’T use social media.

  18. I am alarmingly outside of the know as far as the “business” of social media. I think it is amazing as far as community goes, but I see people get all bent out of shape over – what seems to me – to be such silly things.. and I find myself thinking, “Seriously? It’s JUST twitter. It’s 160 character bites. What could possibly be so important?” I can’t tell if I’m just more down to earth than most people, or just completely clueless. Maybe both? :)

  19. You’re spot on! Someone emailed me asking me to review a baby product in February.

    I had a miscarriage in January.

    Not cool. Reading through archives really is so important.

  20. I do find it interesting that blogging seems to be the only area where marketing firms are expected to be so personal and one-on-one. Advertising and the concept of social media is almost mass by definition.

  21. Awesome, amazing, incredibly valuable post. Casey, this is seriously one of those posts I’m going to keep on hand for as long as social media is a part of my life. And being relatively new to this whole PR/branding, sponsorship thing, this is exactly what I needed as a guide and warning…all in one post.

    You are good.

  22. This is a great post! You have many interesting and thoughtful things to say! I am definitely subscribing. I invite you and your readers to check out my posts and blogs with products and things to buy!

    monica Reply:

    @Carina, <>

    monica Reply:

    that was supposed to be a giggle. major comment fail. ((face palm))

  23. My favorite is number 1. I have often referred pitches to other bloggers either by response to the PR agency or by simply forwarding the email to them. I don’t understand why more people don’t do that instead of just ignoring it if it doesn’t fit you well.
    Would you throw away a perfectly good pair of shoes ig they didn’t fit you? Or would you pass them on to someone else?

  24. You need a box in your comments that I can click on that say All of the Above.

  25. Must agree with all that, well said!

  26. Very well said. And THANK YOU for your “silly tweets” about Hasbro, because my kid was totally stoked to get an all-new package of Play-Doh. (Even though that Play-Doh later landed my husband in the doghouse, when he let her play with it at the coffee table in the living room. Where we have white carpet. Aaiieee!!!)

    But yes. Companies doing it right. Also… you got a comment from Clarisonic? Hook a sistah up, yo?

  27. Admittedly, I don’t do many reviews. And that’s okay. Sometimes a pitch comes through and hits my heart (a certain company had a breast cancer line of product they were introducing – it was a brand I like and a cause I love – that’s all I need).

    I’ve done a few big brand things, but really? I got into blogging because I have a passion for writing. And sometimes there are perks (free music is a big perk for me, hits my happy place), mostly I write because if I didn’t write, then I would be a bitter cranky mess.

    If a great opportunity knocked on my door (OH CANON) I wouldn’t turn it down, but I don’t actively seek things. It’s just not me.

  28. I am terrible at doing anything that makes money – but I enjoy blogging.

    I get emails all the time but the people who contact me really must not read my blog because it couldn’t be about a more specific topic but I wonder how you do start to make money with a blog. I have no idea how to do this and still maintain the integrity of the blog.

    I have a passion and my blog has been a great way for me to share that passion so for that I am thankful. I have also done pretty well on Facebook too but like you said, it takes personal investment and time so that people will trust you and feel they are somehow connected to you. I like this connection and try to nurture it wisely.

    I appreciated reading your post because I can relate with much of it and I am always learning…

    Take care:)

  29. Standing O! You’re absolutely right.

    I’m still new and trying to figure a lot of this out and find my own way, but even as a newbie I can absolutely tell when a company is ‘doing it wrong’.

    I love it when someone reads through my recent posts and my About Me, etc. A little bit of effort goes a long way with me [MAJOR props to Edelman for requiring that much research!].

    What I’d also like to see is more companies helping those of us who are involved with a cause. Energizer sponsored several bloggers by paying their entire $2300 fundraising commitment for the breast cancer 3 day. I try to use rechargeable batteries, but I have such a good feeling associated with Energizer now that I’ll be keeping my eye on what type of green products they offer.

  30. These are great points, Casey! I especially like the last one where you encourage brands to have “real faces” and “real people” behind them. I agree 100%. It’s so nice to actually talk to someONE as opposed to some company. ;)

  31. Great post! As someone who sits on both sides of the social media spectrum (blog editor & social media marketer for a brand) I hear ya. You didn’t lose me. Sharing this!

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