Here’s a lesson in what NOT TO DO in social media. Last week I made this amazing iced coffee using Starbuck’s VIA Instant Iced Coffee product. It’s pretty good. So I added the photo to my Facebook page for kicks and posted, “Honk if you like iced coffee.” It was fun. A lot of people honked, beeped and commented on their love of the dark brew. Then I thought I’d link the post to the Starbucks site which has thousands of users on it. So, I had a new friend request from someone there. Hmm, I thought, should I accept this friend request? The rule of thumb is not to accept friend requests from people you don’t know. I some times hear from people I don’t know so I usually accept the request, check them out and then if they look good (and credible) I keep them as friends. Otherwise, I delete them immediately. Well, this one guy from UK looked good and he was even working on his dissertation so I accepted (and kept) his friend request. At least for one day. You see, as soon as I accepted his friendship on Facebook, he posted a request to all my friends on my Facebook. I deleted the request and thought, well, he’s just trying to find people to answer questions for his dissertation research. Had he just sent me a personal request, I would have posted the request for him. Instead, he didn’t try to build a relationship with me, but posted on my wall annoying me. (It messed up the flow of my vacay photos. LOL.) The very next day, he saw that I deleted his post and immediately reposted his dissertation request. Annoyed again, this time I simply deleted him from my friends list so he didn’t have access to my wall. This is the take-away: just ask people for help; don’t take advantage of their new friendship. Even though we live in a social media world, the old rules of meeting people apply. You wouldn’t barge into my home and ask all my friends attending a party to come to your house for a party. That would annoy me. So don’t post to people’s walls unless it’s about them and you know you would have their permission. The best rule of thumb of all is, if you wouldn’t mention it in person, don’t mention it online. Build relationships online as you would offline. Happy networking!
Front line peeps. You gotta love ’em to get through to your media contacts. Truly coveted media have plenty of phone bouncers aka gate keepers. How do you get through to them? The same way you deal with bouncers at a bar … or even at this Peruvian Starbucks in the San Isidro Lima neighborhood. The bouncer’s circled in both photos. Yup, Peruvians love their bouncers and almost every building, especially shops, have their gate keepers to make sure their visitors are on track … purchasing not wasting time or begging and bothering others. Keep in mind the media relates to overly-promotional pitches and press releases as “begging” too since it doesn’t move forward any editorial work they’re creating and in the end, they feel like passing you to advertising. Invest your time and others’ time wisely. Phone gate keepers do the same as this Starbucks bouncer in Peru. They exist to ensure the people calling are using the time wisely of the people behind the gates. So, if you want to get through them on to your editors and producers, use time wisely. Have a succinct pitch ready and tell them how you can help their editors and producers versus wasting their time. If you’re calling Oprah you better also have an extension of your intended producers. Not having done your homework tells the gatekeeper you’re not a professional and that you will potentially waste the staff’s time. Don’t have extensions? Buy a list or order a distribution to get their attention. Above all else, be sure you’re not wasting a media person’s time. Or, you too will be bounced instead of booked.