Guest

Bad Advice Night at the Mixer

By: Guest | March 1, 2011 | 
34

Davina K. Brewer is doing solo PR as 3Hats Communications, helping Atlanta small businesses with marketing, design, dog washing or whatever hat she wears that day.

I was at a networking thingy the other night, one of those business card swap meets with everyone trolling for new customers. Yes that includes myself as, shockingly enough, Apple and Coke aren’t beating down my door, wanting to give me piles of cash.

I met someone who had a new business venture and I gave her some ideas. Lots of them.  Good ones. She liked them, she wrote them down and took my card.

Also in the conversation was an SEO marketer who was, based upon my five-minute impression:

  • A hack.
  • A scourge preying upon small business owners.
  • A blight upon smart social media marketing and PR professionals.

The elevator pitch:

“I’ll do local for $300, state for $500. Totally AUTOMATED tweets and Facebook and YouTube. You never have to get involved or do a thing yourself. We’ll push out your stuff, blow up the Internet with your presence,…” Word vomit.

I wanted to run away, before someone noticed the blood dripping from my ears.

I wanted to scream “NOOOOOO! That’s wrong,” at a glass-shattering volume.

I wanted to help the person hearing this crap, thinking this is how it’s really done.

A taste for shoe leather

The more comfortable I am around you, the more I speak my mind. (Hostess with the mostess Gini Dietrich can speak for that, much to her regret.) I’ve started calling it my WYSIWYG marketing approach, and it hurts as much as it helps.

“Open mouth, insert foot” is my go-to move, but I was going for impressive.

Do you tell someone they got some bad advice? Pull them aside and politely redirect them to better sources on marketing integration and social media strategy?

For the hack, I professionally mentioned that my approach is different, casually dropping the obligatory “strategic, organic, authentic engagement, inbound marketing” buzzwords. I made sure the small business owner had my card, wished her well with my suggestions.

Then like a chicken, I crossed over to a conversation well on the other side of the room.

Time or Place?

I am the first to quip all blah blah “TEHO; more than one way to better mousetrap a skinned cat; if it works for you, then it works” blah.

As I read horror stories of sucky PR pitches or terrible tool-based social efforts void of any strategy, I’m also apt to point out via blogs and comments that there are ways that are right and ways very, very wrong.

But it didn’t seem the proper time or place.

What would you have done? Let me have it.

Davina K. Brewer is doing solo PR as 3Hats Communications, helping Atlanta small businesses with marketing, design, dog washing or whatever hat she wears that day. She blogs, she tweets, and she works to support her addiction to shiny, new Apple products.

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