Illustration from my book “Badass Your Brand: The Impatient Entrepreneur’s Guide to Turning … [+]
Someone recently emailed me and asked for my help.
She was doing a GoFundMe campaign to support small business owners and asked if I would share it. I checked out her profile and saw she owned a social media company.
I told her, sure, I’d be happy to donate and advertise her campaign on my feed. Then, I asked her to send me a good image for my Instagram Stories. I made the assumption that since she was a social media marketer, she would take full advantage of my willingness to share her campaign with my own audience.
I was expecting her to send me a Swipe Up-worthy photo to go with the post and some catchy copy to grab attention. So you can imagine my disappointment when she simply sent me a lame screenshot of the GoFundMe page.
I still shared the campaign because I told her I would, and I took the time to make the post more engaging because I wanted the fundraiser to succeed.
But if I were her? I would have sent a fully thought-out post to take full advantage of the situation! Not just with me, but for everyone she was reaching out to.
So I want to point out two unexpected lessons about opportunities.
Lesson #1: Opportunities Abound
What a missed opportunity to get her fundraiser as much media as possible!
Reaching out and asking for a share was a step in the right direction. But what she really did was ask for a favor, and then gave me work to do.
If I hadn’t taken the necessary time and effort to create or edit the image enough to make this post compelling, then posting it on my Instagram wasn’t going to get much traction rendering it useless for her and the cause.
Anyone who uses social media for business—especially Instagram—knows that you can’t just post a screenshot or some other boring image if you want people to take action. This is even more important when you’re asking people to donate or spend money.
If you haven’t made the post engaging or the cause compelling, why even share it?
If I could give this person one piece of advice right now, it would be to do as much of the heavy lifting ahead of her “pitch” as possible. She missed an opportunity to take control, showcase her expertise, and make an awesome, share-worthy post.
Lesson #2: If You’re An Expert, Show It
This business owner wants to be seen as an expert, and yet, here I was—someone who both happens to be looking for a great social media service to hire AND knows many people who need great social media marketing as well! This was a perfect opportunity for her to demonstrate what she can do as a social media marketing business owner.
She really botched a major opportunity to potentially acquire multiple new clients. After seeing her lackluster work, for a cause she actually believes in no less, there is no way I could feel confident referring her to any of my friends or clients.
My point is that it’s crucial to treat everything you do in your business as an opportunity to showcase how great you are. You never know when it will be seen by a potential client or referral opportunity. You never know who you are communicating with, what connections they have, and how they might be able to help you grow your business. And even if they don’t need your services right now or don’t know anyone who does, that may change at some point in the future. If you’ve made a good impression, they’ll remember you for it.
Especially whenever you’re doing what you sell.
Never phone it in.
I could tell she was trying to do this project quickly and just wanted to check it off her to-do list. I know the cause mattered to her, too, but it wasn’t her primary focus at the moment. She didn’t use it as an opportunity or think about how that would reflect on her abilities and expertise.
“All The World’s A Stage”
I truly believe that being proactively awesome at what you sell at all times creates opportunities. Sitting back and waiting for opportunities doesn’t make them appear.
You CAN, however, turn every interaction you have with anyone into a chance to showcase your unique, specialized abilities.
When people can see your skills, talent, and professionalism in everything you do, you never know who they might tell or send your way.
And that’s some of the cheapest marketing you’ll ever find.