Ask for the Commitment on Social Media

In our previous post, Your First Social Media Contributions, we discussed how to make your first contributions on social. In this post, we get into a serious subject: asking your community for a commitment.

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Ask for the Commitment

“Social Networking that matters is helping people achieve their goals.
Do it reliably and repeatedly — so that over time people
have an interest in helping you achieve your goals”

Seth Godin

You’re using social media for a reason. You want something. It may be attention; it may be sales; it may be brand awareness. The best-designed social media sites feature calls to action — click to get our newsletter; click to find out more; click to buy.

Your site should ensure that your audience knows what it can do to help, and can take a positive action online. “Click to email a salesperson” isn’t going to cut it. “Click to chat with a live person” is much better. “Click to buy” is even better. “Click to recommend this site to your friends,” however, may be the best outcome.

Based on the goals you identified in your engagement plan, design interactions that explain the participation options, and entice people to get involved, right now.

The old saw that salespeople must practice ABC — Always Be Closing — is applicable to online as well. But what it means to close may be different. If you’re that obnoxious sales guy always asking, “Are you ready to buy now? How about now? Now?” you’re not going to be successful online.

While it doesn’t pay to be obnoxious, you also don’t want to be shy. It’s best online to give before asking, and it’s also best to gradually draw your audience in to a more intimate relationship.

Perhaps you start off by offering information on your business, and then ask for a small commitment, like entering an email address to receive a white paper, or a newsletter, or a bumper sticker. Then perhaps you ask them to email their friends about your social site. Later you may ask them to sign up for a newsletter, or come to an event, or take action in some other small way. It’s a conversation. It’s relationship building, and you don’t want to go too fast, yet at the same time you want to enable those who are really excited to proceed at a faster pace.

How you ask and what you ask for at what time is more art than science. You can take your learning from offline efforts and try to apply it online. Just be sure you keep your ears open. Ask those you’re involving how they’d like the relationship to progress, and don’t fall into the offline ways of constantly pushing messages as a passive audience.

Regardless of your other online goals, most businesses share a common goal: Increase sales. Buying online now has a long history, and is rather sophisticated and well-developed. Social media definitely offers new ways to reach and inform prospective customers while drawing them into an ever-more-intimate relationship with your business. We take a look at this topic in the following post.

Next up: Social Media Relationship Stages

Ask for the Commitment on Social Media is the 32nd in a series of excerpts from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (itself part of a series for different audiences). At this rate it’ll be a long time before we get through all 430 pages, but luckily, if you’re impatient, the book is available in paper form at and you can save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV

See the previous posts What is Social Media?, Social Sites Defined, Why Social Media? How is Social Media Relevant to Business? First Steps Toward a Social Media Strategy, and Decide What Your Business Will Do About Social Computing, pt. 1