Sharing ideas for free vs getting customers to pay for them.

Recently I was faced with a dilemma. During my habitual trawl through Twitter, I read an interesting Hootsuite post about writing a social media policy for staff. This happens to be an element of one of the services we provide to our clients – it’s important to have guidelines so that staff are clear about what they can and can’t use the company name for on social media and help to avoid PR slip ups.

I thought the article was a good read and was about to retweet when the thought crossed my mind – if I share the “secrets” to some of our consultancy advice, does this undermine the services we charge for?

My hesitation lasted only a few seconds – firstly our company ethos is centred around a desire to be helpful.

Secondly, if a client wanted to google “social media policy” and write one themselves they could find the article in seconds. The point of being a consultant is to make resources accessible to clients and then guide them through how to use them or amend for their purposes. The reason lots of our clients engage with us is to save them the effort of searching themselves.

Thirdly, it’s possible that a prospective client might see my post, think “how helpful, they must know their stuff” and engage with us on something else.

The moral of the story? Let’s take the mystery out of marketing by making it easier for small businesses to do themselves, if they have the time and inclination to do it. If not, they can call HeyStrategy (then I clicked retweet!)

Interested in how useful marketing can replace the hard sell? I highly recommend reading Youtility by Jay Baer.

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