I had the wonderful opportunity to be invited to speak at Newman University yesterday about personal branding and social media. I had a great time and the room was packed – largely due to the wonderful posters up around campus and the promise of extra credit for the attendees.
After the presentation, several students and faculty came up to introduce themselves and ask questions. I noticed a girl hanging around, obviously wanting to chat with me, but wanting to wait until everyone else had left the room.
After the room cleared out, she came up, introduced herself (we’ll call her Jenna) and we had the following conversation.
JENNA: You talked about turning customers into fans. You didn’t go into that as deeply as I wanted you to. How do you do that?
ME: Well, it all depends on what you’re trying to accomplish. What is your objective?
JENNA: Let’s just say that I was on a forum. And I sold…let’s say…coats. And my customers, they love my coats. How do I get them talking about me outside of that closed environment?
(At this point, I thought maybe she was into live-action role-playing, Dungeons & Dragons or something similar, and was too embarrassed to tell me what she actually did.)
ME: Well, you could create a blog and encourage your customers to follow you from the forum to your blog and ask them to blog, tweet and mention you on their platforms.
JENNA: Yeah, that’s a good idea. My website has the option to just turn on a blog.
ME: Perfect. Well, I should really… (I needed to get back to work, so I was trying to make an exit.)
JENNA (interrupting): My website also has the ability to add a members-only section.
(Five-second awkward pause)
ME: Oh. So…you would…um…invite…people to become a part of your member section?
JENNA: Oh no, they would pay.
(Another five-second awkward pause)
ME (nervously): Hehe…you’d have to have some pretty big fans of yours to be willing to pay to get access to your coats.
JENNA: Oh, they’re BIG fans.
ME: All right, then! Good luck with your coats, Jenna. Bye!
Jenna TOTALLY has an adult-themed website and she was asking me for consulting advice.
So, Jenna, if you’re reading this post, my advice to you is skip the blog and just do the members-only section. I haven’t made a dime off of this site, so if you can get people to pay for your “coats,” more power to you.