In one of my previous blogs I addressed the concept of FREE and how social media has provided everyone with invaluable information that is out there for grabs! In a follow up post I noted that there’s always a catch attached to the word FREE – so what’s THE CATCH?
We are all in it for the business! In my comment on Christy Li’s post about the concept of FREE – I said that you have to give a little to receive a little. Sharon Crost dubbed it as “Fair Trade – give knowledge FREELY, but not for FREE. Trade knowledge for knowledge. Trade knowledge for productivity. Trade knowledge for action.” That is THE CATCH.
I’m reminded of a conversation I always used to have with my dad – he would always accuse my generation of being lazy and very dependent on technology to manage our lives – he used to tell me to stop using the calculator and use my head, my come back used to be: “Why should I waste time and energy on calculations when I can be using it to be more productive!” This is exactly what we have in the social media world – abundance of information (the numbers that need to be calculated), social media network (the different types of calculators), and The Catch (seeking experts to help transform this knowledge into action). The analogy being – why should I waste my money on information when it’s readily available – you should focus you efforts on converting this wealth of knowledge into action and your money should be spent on hiring the right people to do that job!
Think of it when it comes to purchasing a new software – it’s always FREE to Try! It is very similar to the concept of FREE in Social Media – let’s take the example of my blog – I’m pouring my years of study and experience in marketing onto these pages as a “FREE sample” of what I am capable of offering any company that decided to hire my consulting services. Denise Wakeman aka Blog Squad said in one of her sessions on blogging – “business blogs are a business marketing tool. It’s OK to tell people you have a business and you sell services/products …”
In conclusion, “strings will always be attached” and there will always be a “catch” associated with FREE. Therefore, as a business, the more appropriate question that you need to be addressing is – How do I offer Value in a FREE World? – Think About It