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Social Media And Consent to Pitch #GDPR

Can a 2-second click ruin your evening?

It’s Friday night and after a wonderful day with my VIP group. I came home, put my feet up and decided to catch up with Facebook.

As I’m scrolling through my feed I see someone I’d exchanged messages with earlier in the month. They’d asked me a question, I replied, and with my permission, they’d added me to their Facebook group. They were live streaming, and I clicked the “like” as I passed.

It was a 2-second click that I now regret… Why I hear you ask? Why do you regret clicking the like button? Surely liking something is a nice thing to do. 30 minutes later there was a sales pitch in my inbox! It referenced the fact that I’d seen the live stream… (erm nope, I’d liked it as I passed by)…

At this point I really laughed out loud; I’m one of the most productive people you will ever meet. I get more done in a day than most people do in a week. Why would I recommend a newbie whom I’ve never worked with over some of the incredible people I have worked with all because I liked something?

As I thought I knew a little about the person (they’re no productivity expert) I mentioned that my Like was a supportive gesture and not an intention to buy.

Did they get the message? Of course not! They followed it up with a guilt trip message designed to make me feel bad about not doing as they requested. Maybe they think that’s being persuasive? Who knows? At this point, I was deleting and blocking from my friend list.

Does my Like equal consent to pitch?

Of course it doesn’t. A like is an equivalent to a smile at someone as you pass by. It does not give you the right to inbox someone on social media with a sales pitch. If someone smiles at you in the street it doesn’t mean you wish to marry them and have their children!

Bear in mind that we are “friends” on Facebook so the person doesn’t need permission to message me. When we became friends I agreed to this communication. I didn’t agree for them to send me unsolicited sales pitches or meaningless messages.

So what does a decent business owner do when someone likes their content?

They smile and move on. A Like is not a buying signal. It’s not a qualifying sign and it’s not a request to be pitched via your inbox. You can always add an additional comment to the post saying “If you want more like this I have this freebie gift here, and I’ll send you updates about products, service etc as well”. The person gets to choose. If no one choses you, then you’re offering the wrong thing. This also is painful to hear.

It’s not just Facebook users who do crazy things.

Oh no, this practice isn’t exclusive to Facebook. It’s done on Twitter too. An internationally renowned marketer sent me a direct message on Twitter asking me to opt-in to a blogging book as I’d tweeted someone about blogging. At least I was asked to optin! One look at my profile would’ve said I’m not their target audience.

It’s also on LinkedIn – You accept a friend request and three seconds later they deliver up a sales pitch. I’d love for these to be tailored to me and my business, but that seems to be too much of an inconvenience.

This is the message one of the UK’s leading video experts received via LinkedIn (the names have been removed to protect the innocent).

If the sender had bothered to click on the profile and read it, they’d see that the person they were messaging actually has plenty of video on their website; they sell videos.

The one thing all of these social sales pitches have in common is they’re the “spray and pray” tactic. This strategy for gaining sales went down with the Titanic.

Sales is a numbers game. The more calls you make the more appointments you make. The more appointments you make the more meetings you get. The person with the most meetings wins the most clients. It’s tempting to think you can pitch anyone who you’re connected too. However, the first laws of marketing and sales is very, very simple:

Know Your Ideal Customer.

You create an ideal client avatar and you broadly follow it in all your marketing activities. If you’re marketing to VAs, they’re mostly female. In your content you’d use She / Her and other words that describe the smart woman you’re building a connection with. You know she’s most likely to own a cat. You may mention the cat in the content.

The image in the post contains a woman with a cat. When she sees that and recognises herself she’ll feel warm and fuzzy about your content.

You publish the post and you share in Facebook groups.

#PopQuiz

Do you

a) Share the post in every group you are a member of?

or, b) only share in groups that have VAs and women in?

If you answered A, you need to bookmark this post and study it often. Maybe read it another 6 or 7 times to be sure you digest it well.

The correct answer is B. You don’t push your content in places it’s not going to be welcome or appreciated. It’s marketing and sales 101.

You don’t just sling it around and hope your ideal clients fall over it and then click. They won’t. You’ll find this way of doing business extremely exhausting. You’ll burn through your connections. You’ll blame the product you’re pushing. You’ll blame Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. You’ll blame anyone but yourself.

You’ll blame anyone but yourself.

If you stop just for a heartbeat and ask yourself “Is this person my ideal client?” before you send the message, you’ll find the message you do send will be better received. Sure, you may only send 5 a week, but you’ll get 3 maybes and 1 yes instead of 367 nos and “never contact me again” or worse still – they report and block you.

Remember: Everyone loves to buy but no one likes being sold to.

As you can see from Amanda’s comment above – the gimmicky ways of marketing on Facebook (and social media) come from the wrong mindset. They feel manipulative.

The feeling you give someone when you’re marketing your products and services is very important. If they feel manipulated they will resent buying from you. They won’t become a long term customer and you’ll constantly be hustling for business.

Selling to the wrong people will put you out of business very quickly. If you don’t know what’s a buying signal and what’s not, then social media is going to be a horrible and painful marketing experience.

As for likes and consent…

With GDPR coming into force in May 2018, if you pitch someone based on a like then you’re most likely breaching the data protection act. Why? Because consent to contact isn’t the same as consent to send an unsolicited sales pitch. The key to this is to remember if the person didn’t ask for it, then they’ve not given you permission.

 

Sarah Arrow

Sarah Arrow is a content marketing strategist that helps virtual business owners get more from their content. Whether it's blogging or LinkedIn, Sarah will show you the marketing strategies that will grow your business.

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