I have to be reading a book of some type constantly. Sometimes, when I don’t have a new one, I pick up an older one and revisit it. I did that this week with a book by Dan Arielly called “Predictably Irrational“. As it is subtitled, the book talks about “The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions.”
In my second pass through, a section of the book hit me that really hadn’t stood out in my first romp through it. We’ll get back to that in a minute.
I have run into quite a few people who are very curious as to my blogging and the subjects that I choose. In many cases they can”t believe that I don’t write directly about my company, our products, or our successes.
Most of the time I answer to the effect that in Social Media, it is more important for people to get a good glimpse of who you are and how you think and operate than it is to try and make an elevator pitch for your product.
If that is not enough explanation I typically ask them that if every time you saw my picture on a Twitter or LinkedIn status you automatically know its going to be a product pitch, how many times would you click through?
No one likes someone who only talks about and promotes themselves.
Varying the content and providing something besides a product pitch each time you tweet, update status, or blog keeps you in the good graces of your community and is just plain good social etiquette.
But is there more to it than that? Is there some science behind NOT pitching your own product constantly. Well it turns out that there is. It has to do with the fact that people have an innate distrust of information provided by brands themselves about their own products. I found a great example on pages 263 and 264 with an AV tie in back in “Predictably Irrational” that really brings the point home.
“We invited University of Chicago students to our lab to evaluate the quality of some stereo equipment, asking them to listen to an ‘Azur’ model stereo made by Cambridge Audio.
Before being set loose on the woofers and tweeters, all the participants read a brochure describing and reviewing all the different features of the stereo equipment. Some of the participants read a brochure said to be from Cambridge Audio, and others read the exact same brochure, but this one indicated that it came from Consumer Reports. Then, all of the participants took half an hour to listen to a composition by J.S. Bach and evaluate the stereo system. How powerful was the bass? How clear was the treble? Were the controls easy to use? Were there any sound distortions? And finally, how much would they pay for the system?”
As it turned out, the participants liked the stereo much more if they were told that the information that they read came from an unbiased source such as Consumer Reports. They also said they would pay, on average, about $407 for the system, far more than the $282 offered by those who read the Cambridge Audio brochure. Sadly it appeared that mistrust in marketing information runs so deeply that it colors our entire perception – even in the face of firsthand, direct experience – causing us to enjoy the experience much less than we otherwise would.”
So not only is constant product blogging somewhat annoying, it actually goes farther and could decrease your customer satisfaction, perceived product quality, and affect your market price.
Of course a company has to have Marketing and Communications for people to know who they are and what they do. However there needs to be some division and separation of how they communicate through more traditional print and web channels and how they approach Social Media and Blogging.
Company blogs that center on company culture, processes, and or events do much better as they relate social aspects of the company that give potential customers insight to the company’s culture, approach to customers, and its people.
I’m lucky to work for a company that understands this. Chief has a blog on our Roadshow which focuses on our dealers, the different parts of the country we are in and where we are headed next, and dealer feedback as opposed to product advertisements. Our Social Media team may also guest blog here on rAVe or other publications at times, but you will notice that those focus on subjects like customer empathy and are not posts about “fire sales” or discounts on current SKUs.
At the end of the day, all things being equal, we still buy products from people and companies that we like and identify with more, and Social Media and Blogging can be key to promoting these key qualities within a company.
It is best to leave the Social Media and Blogging about your products to third party entities that are trusted in the space called influencers. Then when those influencers share something noteworthy about your product, it is perfectly appropriate to distribute it through your Social channels, allowing potential customers to experience your brand through the eyes of others who are trusted for their opinions.
For example, an industry consultant, Chris Neto, posted this on Instagram a few months back, and others in the industry quickly commented on the products in the pic and on Chris’s photo caption.
Sharing this type of post is much more valuable than writing one yourself as your own will immediately be discounted anyway.
So at the end of the day I choose to write about industry trends and best practices, or about previous integration experiences at other companies because they do not directly promote my company, but they do allow you to get to know me. It allows my potential and current dealers to get some insight into me, into how I think, and into how I approach my current job on a daily basis.
If they want specific information on new product in a press release or a product they see in a 3rd party recommendation, they know who to come ask for it .
Have fun blogging out there!