What Bonnie Raitt Knew About Social Media Marketing


The best piece of social media advice you need isn’t something that was heralded by the demi-gods of Twitter, or something you read on Godin, Brogan or Solis’ blogs. I mean, you can look there, but you probably won’t find it. It was something nine-time Grammy-winner Bonnie Raitt told us way back in 1991. People want to talk and you gotta give ‘em something to talk about. How about love? About your brand! [Okay, I inserted that last part]

Very often I have to stop myself from breaking into song when talking to small business owners. They’ll contact me or Outspoken Media after hearing how Twitter and Facebook are great platforms to help them connect with their audience and identify the people talking about them. However, when they get there they find that NO ONE is talking about them. The only thing they hear on Twitter is crickets! They want to know why people AREN’T talking about their brand and how can they get them to start.

It’s simply, really. If you want people to talk about, you gotta listen to your old friend Bonnie and give ‘em something to talk about. If you’re a SMB owner, where do you start?

Do Something

If you’re finding that no one is talking about your brand in social media, take a step back and ask yourself why. Really be honest when you’re evaluating if you’re doing anything that’s worth someone talking about. Often the answer is no, you’re not, and therein lies the problem. But you can fix that!

If you were on Twitter this morning, you couldn’t escape seeing tweets about the BlueGlass show currently taking place in Florida. They’re everywhere. BlueGlass is getting a lot of buzz today because they’re busy doing something People are tweeting about the content coming from the show, the speakers, the people they’re meeting, what they’re finding interesting, etc. It’s very often that simple. If you want people to talking about you, you have to give them something to talk about. You can do it with a blog post, an eBook, a comment you made somewhere, a Twitter update or, yeah, even a conference. But give them something worth sharing. If you’re not creating an experience or finding a way to surprise them out of their day-to-day, no one’s going to share your story.

Hang Out Where Things Are Happening

There are generally two types of business owners:

  1. The hermits who lock themselves in their basement (or their own Web site), keeping their head down and never venturing out.
  2. The social butterflies who travel between social communities, sharing content with everyone and making new contacts.

Who do you think gets talked about more? One of the greatest things social media has given us is the ability to form and take advantage of satellite communities. We no longer have to market our business by sitting on our Web site and waiting for people to find us. We can go out and leverage other people’s audiences to start conversations with potential new contacts and drive people back to our site and/or business. This morning I had posts go live on Copyblogger [Fanning the Social Media Flame] and SmallBizTrends [Who Should You Follow On Twitter?]. This week I will finish up two more guests post for other highly respected marketing blogs that should go live sometime next month. I’m giving these communities something to talk about to keep my name, the Outspoken brand, and our services top of mind. And I’m doing it on outside communities to build important relationships and increase Outspoken’s audience beyond the people who already like us (we thank you guys for liking us).  Rhea is doing the same by speaking later today at BlueGlass.

Encourage People To Talk About You

Even worse than sitting in your room and doing nothing, is doing something cool and then not letting people talk about it with their networks. You want to encourage people to spread your word, not hinder their ability to do so. But for some reason, brands still do. For example, how many brands don’t make it easy for someone to grab their logo of their Web site to use in a blog post about their company? How many sites throw a series of 15 ginormous hurdles before someone can comment on a blog post and interact with the community?? How many make it difficult to share their content or connect with other fans on Facebook? People LOVE to talk, but that doesn’t mean they care if it’s your story (or the correct story) they’re talking about. In order to build the right kind of buzz, you need to seek the conversation with content worth sharing and then encourage people’s ability to share what you’ve put out. Because it doesn’t matter how great your conference is if you tell people they’re not allowed to use their laptops or cell phones while it’s going on. You’ve just mass murdered your promotional army.

Social media is made for talking and sharing the brands that we love. However, if you show up to find out that people aren’t talking about you, you may want to ask yourself why.

Your Comments

  • Chris H.


    Like the reference to Bonnie Raitt here! Informative and entertaining. I just recently posted “Keith Richards’ Secrets to Becoming a Copywriting Rock Star.” Similar in feel to your post. I’d love to hear what you think!


    All the best,

    -Chris H.

  • Giulietta Nardone

    Hey Lisa,

    I sing B. Raitt songs at karaoke. This is a great one and you’re right to give them something to talk about. Making it easy for folks to spread your good word goes a long way! Thx. Giulietta

  • Katy

    And now I’ll be singing that all day!

    Good stuff here, as always, In particular what you say about hurdles for interaction–I think that’s one of the reasons why people love Facebook so much–it’s a one time log in and then you can connect with lots of people you know, businesses you’re interested in, and even news organizations. I see it on my blog all the time. People will read it through Facebook and then return to FB to leave a comment–I’m assuming because that’s easier than typing in their name and e-mail. It’s the same with Twitter.

    That’s why I don’t understand sites that make you give your name, phone number, and the names of your future children just to leave a comment. Can’t be good for engagement.

  • Ricardo Bueno

    Re: “This week I will finish up two more guests post for other highly respected marketing blogs that should go live sometime next month…”

    I think the key thing to keep in mind here is that you should always put your best content forward (which you clearly do). Participating in other communities just for the sake of participating and doing a less than mediocre job and/or pitching all the time is a great way to end up on people’s bad side (IMO).

  • Gabriele Maidecchi

    It makes sense, as you can’t be part of a conversation without actually having anything to say. No talk = no conversation, people will just move on.

  • TrafficColeman

    People will talk about your business once you get it out there and allow people to find you..its said that close mouths don’t get fed..so make something happen.

    “TrafficColeman “Signing Off”

  • Laura "Ole" Olesen

    Yep! You’ve given tune to my motivation to make sure I’m always adding value. So a seed of thought….The more we ALL do this, the more we can make the world a better place. That’s the fun I see in all the social media out there. The Tipping Point on GREAT ideas can be that much faster. Thank you!!