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Bitch Session Marketing: Getting started in Social Media

Mitch Joel wrote a great post a while ago about offer fatigue: the feeling you get when you’re sick of a company sending you emails — even when those emails contain great deals.

The best way to prevent offer fatigue in your customers is to make sure that every email you send, every link you post on Facebook, and every Tweet you tweet, contain great value. And that can’t be done with money alone.

That was important, so I’m going to repeat it. Great value can’t be provided through monetary rewards alone. No matter how steep the discount, no matter how great the coupon, customers will get tired of hearing from you if all you send them is discounts, coupons, and giveaways.

Partly, that’s because you overestimate how much people care about price. And partly because, if I get a coupon every week that offers me 50% off your product, I start to believe that your product is worth half as much as you’re charging. And then 50% doesn’t seem like a great deal, because it’s how much I think your product’s worth. And then your coupon stops seeming like a great deal and starts seeming like an annoyance.

So how do you provide non-discount value? You give your customers valuable information.

But how do I know what my customers would consider valuable?

Great question! The most reliable way is to be connecting with them in person and online — you’ll get plenty of questions to keep you going for pretty much ever. But that’s hard to do unless you already have contacts in social media, so how do you get started?

This method is intended to help you start on social media by coming up with items of value for you to post while you’re building followers and making friends. And the best part is, you get to complain while you’re doing it!

Bitch Session Marketing

First off, this works best if you have some people around to complain with, so call a staff meeting, or hook up with some buddies who own similar businesses or are employees in your industry.

Get yourself some drinks (alcoholic or caffeinated, your choice), and a pad of paper & pen. (If you have it, a voice recorder might come in handy, in case the complaining really gets going).

Your topic of conversation is
“Man, I really wish our customers knew that…”

    Example:
    The only industry I can really do this for is computer repair, but this conversation for some computer repair techs might go like this.

    “Man, I really wish that our customers knew how important backups are. I mean, seriously, HOW many times have we told them? And they still won’t take 20 minutes to set up a backup. There’s nothing I can do to save your data, guys!”

    “Yeah, I know! And they’re all like, ‘Oh, backups are too hard! I don’t know how!’ Online backup runs itself, for Pete’s sake!”

    “But you mention it, and they’re like ‘I don’t want to pay a monthly fee!’ It’s $5 a month, dude. You just paid me $250 to set up a new system that doesn’t have your data. You lost most of your business records. You don’t think that’s worth $5?”

    “I know! Or the people who have, like, some antiquated backup system that takes two or three hours to even get the data off of it? You’re paying me $100/hour to get at that instead of a couple bucks a month to just have it instantly available.”

Now, if you cut through the whining, there was an awful lot of value just in that little bit of complaining. Look at what we came up with:

  • Our customers have been told repeatedly that they need to back up their data, but they don’t do it anyway.
  • We also know several reasons they don’t make backups: they think it’s hard. They think it’s expensive. They aren’t looking at the big picture.
  • You know that getting customers to back up their data would be tremendously valuable. And you know that their fears are exaggerated. But they don’t know that.

So now you have all the material you need for several Facebook posts, a bunch of tweets, or a nice long newsletter: let your customers know that

    a) Backup can be done really easily
    b) There are options available that are much cheaper than they’re thinking
    c) There are things much more expensive than backups — like not having backups.
    d) Give them some specific advice on how to get backups set up.
    e) Invite them to contact with any questions they have.

Sick of customers complaining that they couldn’t get your product to work? Write up a blog post covering how to get it set up.

Wish people would realize that you can’t get this done overnight? Make a YouTube video showing all the steps in the process.

Just finished dealing with someone who could have solved her problems by visiting a single website? Post a link to that site.

Anything you wish your customers knew, they probably also wish they knew; help them find it.

And back up your computer. Seriously. It’ll save you so much money in the long run.