Jim's Marketing Blog

Marketing ideas to help you grow your business

Why your Internet marketing NEEDS your voice!

I saw a joke on Google+ yesterday. It simply said:

How to start an argument online

  1. State an opinion.
  2. Wait.

There’s some truth in this

Many small business owners lack visibility online, because they fear being challenged for expressing their own opinions. So, they will like, retweet, +1 and stumble what others say and ensure their own messages are as uncontentious as possible. Whilst this approach does almost eliminate confrontation, it also robs you of the visibility you need, in order to succeed.

  • Your marketplace listens to you, when you have a message worthy of their valuable attention.
  • They follow you, when you lead. Not when you simply nod along like everyone else at the back.

Business should be challenging

Yes, you will get challenged, if you have the courage to share what you think and it happens to go against the grain. If you believe in the value of your opinion, you should welcome people to test what you say. In many cases, you will learn something about the strength of your own view point. In others, you will learn how to make your point more clearly. I have learned a great deal from people, who have caused me to dig deep and question my own opinions.

Looking through their lens

So, what about those people who just seem intent on arguing, when you confidently express your opinion? A quick look at what you have said, through their lens, will usually show you (in seconds) why they are arguing with you. Looking through their lens, is a phrase used to describe looking at what you said, from their perspective, so you can identify their motives.

Here’s what I commonly find, when I look through the lens of someone intent on arguing rather than discussing a viewpoint:

Vested interests: They have a vested interest in the opposing view. I saw a recent post by a guy who said that traditional networking groups were becoming less relevant, as more people connected with others on services like LinkedIn and Facebook etc. He was attacked by a lady who said online networking was of zero value, zero use and that he was in denial. After clicking through the link on her comment, I saw she ran several offline networking groups. Her business model needs that guy to be wrong.

Trolls: You are dealing with a troll. Trolls are going to troll, it’s what they do. Welcome to the Internet. It’s your call, but if they are only looking to insult you, there’s little value publishing their abuse or responding to their jibes on social networks. Seriously, you would not allow someone to do that to you in public and you shouldn’t online either. If someone’s just being a bastard, there’s no room for that in my business and I’m guessing the same is true for your business, too.

They want your juice: They want to gain your attention or the attention of your readers / followers. Some people seem to believe that it’s an effective marketing technique, to argue with people in their profession on social networks and on their competitors blogs. This is pretty rare and tends to happen more when you have a large readership or online following and a reputation for publishing comments that disagree with you.

In summary

I’ve written thousands of blog posts and only ever needed to delete a handful of trollish comments. Others who challenge my views, often open up the conversation and that’s how I evaluate their input: As an asset.

It’s your marketing and your decision, but it’s extremely hard to attract the attention of your prospective clients or earn their respect, if you’re simply nodding along with the masses.

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  1. Jim,

    Wise words indeed. Somewhere it was said that the greatest teachers are the ones who give you the greatest challenge.


  2. Then again it’s difficult to do anything but nod to all that! :)
    Hello you. Happy 2012 (I know. I’m behind on that, I spend the first month in denial because I had yet another birthday!)

  3. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on this Jim and I have to agree that some people will just be negative online just because. They honestly go around offering negative rants on other peoples opinions and thoughts but how I look at the issue is that if you are passionate about what your trying to do with your business then your going to offer really relevant responses that their going to notice that your not going to just back down and your going to continue to voice your opinion.

  4. A solid post. There are a lot of opinions out there and it can be easy to offend or be offended, but I think this is where I learn the most is when I’m being challenged. This solidifies my expertise on the topic and if I’m wrong it’s nice to know. Great topic, thanks.

  5. So, here I am sipping on a cup of coffee thinking about a post I had responded to on a forum. I was attacked by a troll.

    I am not certain why, but another person responded with an extremely negative response.

    In my efforts to keep it positive, it just wasn’t going to happen. It was better for me to just bow out.

    I enjoy the opinions of others when they are sincere and I am treated equally with respect. If a person is negative for the sake of being negative.

    There will always be those with vested interests, trolls and juicers.
    So, just sit back and enjoy life the way you should.

    • Hi Morris. Sadly, trolls are something we have to learn to deal with, if we put information out there, where it can be seen.

      You can’t stop trolls from trolling, but you can control how you respond or react.

  6. This is so great! I have been trying to think of better ideas to engage our fans & group members on Facebook, but there seems to be so much “liking” and re-posting going on its taking away from a proper discussion. I also have issues with clients never wanting to touch controversial issues surrounding their business in their blogs. They only want to publish fluff. I am going to pass this along to them as well. It will be nice to have some back up when I challenge their topics!


  7. Nice post with a good break down of the types of interactions. I heard arguing explained in terms of 2 people on either side of a rope. The one who is arguing has picked up the rope and if you want to engage them, you have to pick up the other side of the rope. But if you don’t pick it up, they are just left standing there. They need you but if you don’t engage, it’s just an angry person standing there by themselves…..I’ve always liked that visual.

  8. Hi Jim. Great points. I think the most attractive personal attributes in a business person are strong ethics and integrity. You have to be true to yourself and that means you need to express your opinions, as long as they are true and fair to others. There is nothing wrong with being challenged fairly (without hidden agendas), you’re spot on it helps you grow and develop. As long as it isn’t troll like in any way!

    PS Craig – love your holding the rope analogy. A virtual tug-o-war! But very true.

  9. Great post Jim. No one likes a weak leader and whilst people have said how difficult Steve Jobs was to work with at times, he was greatly admired … for his opinions. The same is true on social networks. If you don’t have your own mind, people will notice it and ignore you as a weak leader.

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