How Nicaraguan Tour Guides Can Shape Your Social Media Strategy

by Marian Schembari on June 21, 2012


Alexis Grant is an entrepreneurial writer, digital strategist and author of How to Create a Freakin’ Fabulous Social Media Strategy. She also offers a free newsletter.

A few months ago I traveled to Nicaragua and visited Ometepe Island, which holds not one but TWO volcanoes.

While wandering Ometepe’s main port town, I noticed most of the tour offices displayed a similar sign, one that offered free information.

The tour guides in this town were SMART. They wanted tourists to hire them for tours, wanted to guide visitors on a morning volcano hike or take them for a horse ride along the beach. They wanted us to PAY for their services. But to get tourists to bite on that sale, they first offered something free, something that was incredibly helpful: information about the island.

This is exactly the lead you should follow when it comes to your social media strategy, whether you’re growing an online presence for your company, a client or yourself.

Because yes, you want your community to buy something you offer or participate in your events or use your services or whatever goal you want to reach. But before you ask people to shell out money or time or effort, you’ve got to give them something for free.

What can you give them?

Free information.

And let’s take this a step further, because your community doesn’t just want free information. Like tourists on Ometepe Island in Nicaragua, they want free, HELPFUL information.

Why offering free information should be the crux of your social media efforts

Offering free information benefits you in two BIG ways:

1. It demonstrates your expertise, so people know you’re an expert in your field

2. It increases your likeability factor — because who doesn’t like someone who’s helpful?

Both of these benefits lead down one fabulous road: toward you getting hired. Or selling your products. Or landing you customers. More than anything else, offering free information will help you reach your goals.

Because once potential clients learn how knowledgeable you are, they’ll want to work with you. And if they see how NICE and HELPFUL you are, they’ll LIKE you, which is yet another reason they’ll want your services.

Let’s explore a bit more how this works. As an example, we’ll look at blogging.

How smart bloggers use free information

Bloggers offer a good amount of information for free, with the hopes that some of their readers will want to go beyond that free information and buy whatever they have to offer.

My own blog falls into this category. I blog at least three times a week about careers, writing and social media. People come to my blog to read for free. Indeed, I could put a banner at the top of my site that reads, FREE INFORMATION! (Don’t worry, I won’t actually do that.) You can come to my blog again and again, and you’ll always be able to learn something for free.

Then, if you really like what you see, there’s something ELSE you can get for free: my newsletter. So I actually offer several forms of free information.

And yet, some of the people who land on my blog want more than what’s free. Some readers step beyond that free threshold, purchasing one or more of my guides or courses.

See how this benefits both me AND my community? I use free information on my blog to prove that I know what I’m talking about. And I give you a little taste of the extra awesomesauce you’ll get if you choose to pay.

Oh, but we’re not done yet. There’s yet ANOTHER benefit of providing free information: it increases the satisfaction rate of people who do buy, because buyers have a good sense of what they’re going to get. They’re familiar with my style when they press “buy,” which means their expectations are where they should be and they’re more likely to be satisfied – and hopefully inspired – by my product.

In more ways than one, offering free information sets me up for success.

So how can you set yourself or your company or your client up for success by giving information away? What expertise can you share that will help your community?

How can you follow the lead of those brilliant Nicaraguan tour guides? What free information can you offer?

Alexis Grant is an entrepreneurial writer, digital strategist and author of How to Create a Freakin’ Fabulous Social Media Strategy. She also offers a free newsletter.

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  • http://twitter.com/marianschembari/status/215793470101651456 Marian Schembari

    How Nicaraguan Tour Guides Can Shape Your Social Media Strategy http://t.co/f7GJZjvD

  • http://twitter.com/alexisgrant/status/215884758704603138 Alexis Grant

    How Nicaraguan tour guides can shape your #socialmedia strategy, on @MarianSchembari's blog: http://t.co/GD3Mbc7E #travel

  • http://twitter.com/meta_guide_ni/status/215888008614912001 Nicaragua Meta Guide

    #alexisgrant: How Nicaraguan tour guides can shape your socialmedia strategy, on #MarianSchembari's blog: http://t.co/GOWvcBVH travel

  • http://twitter.com/carrieatthill/status/215962324534689792 Carrie Keenan

    How Nicaraguan Tour Guides Can Shape Your Social Media Strategy http://t.co/kplXnz7W via @MarianSchembari

  • http://twitter.com/beallison/status/215975646516621312 Ben Allison

    New Blog Post How Nicaraguan Tour Guides Can Shape Your Social Media Strategy http://t.co/yGSTD3Kx

  • http://twitter.com/emmacunningham/status/216151637637595136 Emma Cunningham

    Get social media strategy that's inspired by Nicaraguan tour guides from @alexisgrant via @marianschembari ! http://t.co/XDm0Urbq

  • http://twitter.com/mrgames4all/status/217634081121374208 MrGames4All

    How Nicaraguan Tour Guides Can Shape Your Social Media Strategy http://t.co/Y6vJ3REK

  • http://sylverblaque.wordpress.com/ Sylver Blaque

    Hi Marian, I’ve “Bubbled” you on my blog: http://sylverblaque.wordpress.com/2012/07/17/two-ears-one-mouth-ears-win/
    Keep the great posts coming! :)

  • Hebert Theodore

    thanks this 

  • Pingback: The Number One Place to Look for Blogging Inspiration — Marian Schembari

  • Pingback: Alexis Grant of Socialexis: How to Grow an Audience Through Content Creation » The Scripted Blog

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