Ever since I gained a certain level of visibility and credibility in the marketplace, I’ve been bombarded with private messages and e-mails from people who want me to promote their books, products, teleseminars, live events, telesummits…

I’m particular about who and what I promote. I only share people and products I have personal experience with. I only share things that have helped me and improved my business. If I connect with someone or read a book that just didn’t help me, I’ll be darned if I’m going to promote that to my subscribers and followers, just to get a fat commission. I’ve never believed in promotion for profit. It’s just not my style.

But what bothers me most is that I regularly receive requests for help from people who have befriended me on Facebook, never said “hello,” and then sent me a message a couple of weeks later asking me to promote their new book and help them get to “bestseller status” on Amazon.

Why would I do that??

Why would I ever promote someone I don’t know? Why would I promote content I haven’t reviewed? How could I possibly recommend someone I don’t know and maintain my own integrity and authenticity?

I imagine there are people who will promote anything, thinking that associating themselves with someone they perceive as more successful makes them look more successful. It doesn’t.

So here’s the scoop: if you want people to promote your products, here’s the way to do it:

  1. Create really solid content. Don’t hold back. Give everything you’ve got and make sure you have a good editor (for print or audio).
  2. Form strong relationships with other entrepreneurs and small business owners who have the same target market. Look for complimentary businesses to form alliances with.
  3. Talk to people. Get to know them. Comment on blogs, Facebook pages, articles, and show your support.
  4. Bring value to the table for other people before you ask them to do something for you. Believe it or not, things like what I mentioned in #3 are ways of bringing value and forming a relationship with someone. I remember the people who post comments on my Facebook status updates and blog posts.
  5. If you want someone to promote your product or book for the first time and they haven’t seen your content before, send them a copy of your work before asking them to promote it. You might end up with a great blurb for your book cover or web site and you might also gain a fan.

Ultimately, the most important point I can make here is that if you’re using social media as a business networking tool, make sure you use it the right way. Remember to focus on the “social” part of social media. It’s all about the connection and the conversation.

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