The One Blog Post I Really Want You To Read
I could have titled this post: Why I Love Social Media Marketing, but I was pretty sure few would bother to read it, and this is something I really want you to know.
Most people hate marketing. We hate being pushed and prodded and enticed and manipulated. Advertising is everywhere and all of it is designed to persuade us to buy something — whether we need it or not. We’ve all had terrible experiences with pushy salespeople. We’ve all been tricked by “free” offers that end up being something entirely not free. Most of us have learned to trust nothing a salesman says or an advertisement claims.
I could tell you a dozen horror stories of times I fell for scams or have been abused by unethical salespeople. I now have a firm rule — I never do business with anyone who calls me on the phone or comes to my door.
But I don’t hate marketing anymore. I still hate dishonest, aggressive, and manipulative marketing tactics, but two things have helped me see marketing in a different light:
- having to sell something I really believe in, and
- social media marketing
I feel sorry for salespeople who have to sell junk. Or even those who have to sell something they are indifferent about. I couldn’t do it. But I don’t mind selling WriteAtHome, and not just because I started the company and personally benefit from its success. I actually like telling people about WriteAtHome because I really believe in it. It works and it’s a good value. My own four kids have learned to write through WriteAtHome.
I want homeschoolers¹ to know about WriteAtHome because I know it can help many of them. I don’t want to foist it on people who don’t need it; I want people who would benefit from it to find out we’re here. That’s what marketing is for us–making sure everyone who would be excited about our service finds out about it.
At heart, I am a teacher, not a marketer. My desire is to see young people learn to write more effectively, more winsomely, more creatively. The idea that I run a business that is actually making that happen is a source of tremendous joy and fulfillment. That’s why marketing WriteAtHome is actually fun. I don’t have to twist any arms or pressure people into parting with their money. I just have to share good news about something I love.
The Social Media Thing
Let me make this clear right off the bat: I run this blog, our Facebook page, our Twitter account, our Pinterest boards, and our YouTube channel as a marketing strategy. I happen to have an absolute blast doing it, but the point is to attract attention to my business.
But there’s nothing tricky or manipulative about that. In fact — and this is why I love the social media approach to marketing — it’s a wonderfully congenial, friendly, mutually-beneficial way to go about selling a product.
Here’s how it works (I’m letting you in on my secret strategy here). I regularly provide interesting, informative, sometimes amusing, but generally worthwhile stuff that I create myself or find elsewhere through our various social media. (The marketing catchword for this stuff is content.) People who are interested in this content become regular readers or subscribers. Some of them even participate in online discussions and we build a relationship. Not a regular come-over-for-a-cup-of-coffee or hey-can-I-borrow-your-pickup-truck kind of relationship, but a virtual relationship based on shared interests.
Every now and then, I’ll use social media to talk directly about WriteAtHome — like I’m doing now. But that’s only occasional. The emphasis is on sharing what I know about writing, teaching, grammar, language, words, and homeschooling. People who enjoy it stick around and even share content with their friends. And if I do a good job, this social circle continues to grow and more and more people get to find out about WriteAtHome. How cool is that?
I get to teach and write. I chat with people and answer questions about grammar and vocabulary conundrums on Facebook and Twitter. I create virtual posters or share images and links on Pinterest, and I create educational videos to share on YouTube. Can I just say that I love doing all that stuff? A teacher who has to be a marketer gets to do marketing by teaching! It’s perfect.
And there is never any pressure on you or me. People who are interested find me. They follow or they don’t. Those who do benefit, whether they enroll in a WriteAtHome course or not. And that’s perfectly okay.
It seems to be working. It’s been almost three years and this blog has gone from an average of 69 page views per day in the first year to 2,500 views per day this year. As of today, we’ve got more than 42,000 followers across our various media. And that number grows daily.
Thank you for being a part of WriteAtHome’s social media project. Just the fact that you read this article down to this sentence makes me happy. Be as involved in what we are doing as you like. Drop by occasionally. Like our Facebook page. Follow a Pinterest board. Subscribe to this blog (button in the upper right corner).
And of course, I’d love it if you signed up a student for one of our courses. But never feel any obligation to do so. It’s good to know that you are around, and if someday we can offer some professional assistance in the area of writing — all the better.
¹We are of course thrilled to work with students who are not homeschooled as well, but homeschoolers have always been our core customers.
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