I’ve received a decent amount of free stuff on the internet since the burgeoning of social media. It’s actually quite surprising. Some of it was through contests, others of it was from being a huge nerd. This morning, I woke up to find an email in my Inbox from Lift (remember when I posted about that app?) asking me for my address because they wanted to send me free stuff to thank me for the nice post I wrote. That is a very smart thing to do on their behalf because now I’m writing a second post talking about how great they are. This made me reflect on how much free stuff I have received and how it usually ends up happening. Here’s how:
Tweet, Facebook, blog about products you love. Be honest and be generous. If you love something, talk about it. Why not? We all know no one trusts marketing, unless it’s by real people we trust, so why not help the brands we trust by gushing about them in a place where more people can hear about it (and so can the brands).
Let them know.
Tag them in your post so they know you love their product so much you’re giving it to your sibling/spouse/friend.
Don’t be greedy.
Every time I’ve received freebies it was totally off my radar. I have never intended to get free things (unless it was in relation to a poor customer service issue) I have just really loved the product so I’ve talked about it. I used to go to this coffee shop by Guy-Concordia metro called Café Myriade all the time because I worked near Concordia. I really loved them and the owner Anthony started to know me by my tweets. I would tweet about how I was bringing in my dad to try his first latte, how i was bringing any friends who came to town there, etc. I even thought about stopping there on my wedding day. It became common for Anthony to give me a free drink when he was working the cash. Those free drinks didn’t discourage me from tweeting in the least, I sent more people there because I liked the business more! Or, I talk a lot about a certain handmade journal company I like a lot, and I get a free journal for all the publicity. I never tried to get these things. I just loved them so I talk about them.
Customer service cases are different.
In those cases, we have every right to be compensated for poor service and social media leverage can get you the recognition you deserve. If you were treated poorly, tweet about it and tag their company twitter. But, don’t get in such a huff that you lie and blow the situation out of proportion. Be honest about the fact that they replied to you to try to mediate the situation (because they probably will) and give them the credit they deserve if they fix it. If they don’t, well, that’s another story. I’ve had some good and bad experiences with Rogers on twitter. Some great experiences with WestJet and Air Canada on twitter. In this day in age, using social media leverage is very wise when dealing with things like airlines and other brands. They’re often quick to compensate for fear of bad publicity. That’s where you can benefit.