Who's that Girl?


Becoming a Social Media Pitchman

Originally posted: August 13, 2010 on TrishMcFarlane.com

Are you an infomercial junkie?  I don’t know if I’d classify myself as one, but I’ve been know to be lured into buying infomercial “stuff” a time or two (or ten).  I was an early adopter of Oxy Clean, the One-Sweep broom, ShamWOW, Kiyoseki hairstyler, the Shark Mop, and more.  I even bought a set of Ginsu knives WAY back in the day.  Why?  Is it because the product was SO great and I knew it?  Not really.  It was because these products had a pitchman who was so credible, I wanted to believe him.  These pitchmen would show me that they could take a knife and cut through a phone book, then slice a tomato paper thin.  And Billy Mays, one of the most famous pitchmen, truly convinced me that Oxy Clean would take care of any stain my family could make.  Well, almost any.

This got me thinking about social media and all of us who pitch the idea.  How effective are we?  Do we have the characteristics and behaviors to really “sell” this idea to more people?  Here are a few things I find most important in convincing others that an idea is a good one to latch on to:

  • Know the product- You really have to know the product to be able to pitch it effectively.  People are smart and can easily see when someone does not know much about the product.  In the case of social media, this doesn’t mean that you have to know how to use EVERY site or platform.  What it does mean is that you regularly use several so that you can speak with authority on how social media really works.
  • Have genuine enthusiasm- If you can show other people your excitement for what you’re telling them about, it is infectious.  They will want to use it that much more.
  • Be able to demonstrate- This expands on the “know the product” point.  You are far more credible, especially in social media, if you can show your audience that you can really use it.  Give examples of how it works in your day-to-day life.  Just be able to use it “live” so that people understand how it really works.
  • Anticipate the questions- Know that people may be uncomfortable asking questions about something they are unsure how to use.  Anticipate their questions by thinking back to when you began using social media.  Share the answers to questions you found most pressing as you got started.
  • Make it appear simple- The reason infomercial pitchmen are successful is they make the product look simple to use.  When you tell people about social media, give them suggestions for easy ways to get started.  If they think it will take too much time, be too challenging to understand, or only hear strange terminology (like tweets, hashtags, etc.) they will shy away.  Make it easy for them.
  • Give a compelling case- Bottom line is you have to make it relevant to their life.  Show them how social media can save them time, help them with research, collaborate with others, whatever.

So, who was the person that convinced you to get involved in social media?  Who’s the pitchman or woman we can learn from?  Share it in the comments.

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