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Hype

Here’s a little lesson on hype for all my wanna-be self-promoter friends.

If you hype something you’ve got a vested interest in it’ll come off as fake.

If someone else hypes it for you, even if you lose some level of control, it’ll go a lot better.

Three examples:

  • I follow hundreds of pastors on Twitter and Facebook. (Totally guilty as charged) They are all excited about what they are teaching and think hundreds of people should invite their friends to come hear them speak. Their band is gonna melt your face. Their preaching is going to be super cool. They’ve got an illustration that’ll make every knee bow and tongue declare that Jesus is Lord.
  • Lots of people I know have written books or created a product you can buy. (Again, guilty as charged) There’s a fine line for an author between being accessible as an author and overhyping your product.
  • Each day I write a blog post. If I post a link more than twice, the click through rate on that to my blog goes straight to zero. Knowing that it drives me nuts to see bloggers post a link, 8-10 times per day to their blog.

You need recommendations

Times have changed. It used to be that having access to an author or a speaker somehow validated their message. But now, since everyone is instantly accessible that is no longer the case. In many case the best way to hype something is to limit access to the creation process. (Apple is the master of this, all the hype is in the speculation)

Think about your actual decision-making process. Take a few minutes to do some self-examination. I think what you’ll see is the power of recommendation. A recommendation is infinitely more powerful in my day-to-day life than hype.

  • I rarely go to a restaurant for the first time without checking Yelp or asking about a place… unless I want to discover something so I can recommend it.
  • Wander through the maze of a bookstore. The average Borders will have 100,000+ titles. You wouldn’t have a clue what to read if it weren’t for recommendations.
  • Think about the products over $100 you buy. Or the places you take your kids. Or the things you try at work. Now think about how you heard about those things or knew it was worth putting your name behind.

Right now, it’s all about recommendations.

If you want to (or need to) hype something, focus all your energy on recommendations. And stop with the self-hype.

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3 Responses to Hype

  1. Deanna Ogle November 5, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    I think you’re definitely onto something. I recently went to a marketing conference for work and the thing they probably talked about the most with the rise of social media was that it’s not just about (1) who you are and (2) what you want anymore. There’s a third piece and that is who you trust. Like you said, you’re so much more likely to go to a new restaurant or a see a movie if one of your good friends gives you a review, or if you see someone rave about it on Facebook. In this case, it sounds like people are promoting themselves or their products in their networks, but when you blab it over and over it start to not be a recommendation anymore and turns into useless, unwelcomed self-promotion.

    • Adam McLane November 5, 2011 at 8:08 am #

      That’s absolutely it. 

      Conversely, to become “powerful” in a social media world you build trust by transparency and curating your recommendations. I live in San Diego, a tourist destination for millions of people. When friends come to town they’ll ask me for a list of places to go. (many are here: http://www.beyondthezoo.com) When they have a great time who looks good? The places they visited or the person who did the recommendations? That’s why when I do product recommendations or even the ads on my blog, I am so picky. I don’t have a problem endorsing things I love. But when I recommend a product it reflects as much on me as it does on the product I’m recommending. 

  2. Ben Patterson November 5, 2011 at 9:11 am #

    I agree. Seems like there’s a careful balance between awareness and hype. It’s important to let people know but you can’t afford to be constantly blowing your own horn.

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