If you’ve gained a significant following of people who listen, engage, click and read, you’re going to be tempted to compromise your social media integrity. You didn’t get to where you are by doing that but now . . . now you lead a community and they are listening. The opportunity is ripe for the taking.
What comes to mind is a politician who gets into office on the strength of his convictions and desire to do well for his constituency, and then, as they say, “power corrupts.” The sheer headiness of all that attention and the opportunity to use it for one’s own benefit takes over.
The difference is this: In politics, you’re in for the term—virtually no matter what you do—but in social media, you can lose your constituency any time.
Over the years, as our community grew at Lion Brand, I have been asked many times to promote a product or event from another company in exchange for some tempting reward. Once you have an engaged community, people will be tempted to “use” it.
What I’ve discovered on the few occasions I’ve tried something where I took a chance because there might be potential for our followers to benefit, the response has been tepid.
Because that’s not what they came for. That’s not what we have built into peoples’ expectations. And once you start contaminating your social media with offers, everyone will want a piece of you.
When in doubt, imagine your most loyal fan—not the imaginary community–but the most engaged member. You know what resonates with her, and what she wants from you if you’ve been counting the clicks, shares and comments. Ask yourself, “would she be excited to share this with her friends?” If the answer is “no,” don’t compromise her trust or your integrity.