One thing i’ve heard a lot, especially among professional service providers is, “If I give it away for free they won’t need me.”  It’s usually when we are discussing what they should be posting in social media – or to use the industry jargon – defining their content strategy.

The world is awash with information – in theory, with enough time, you could become an expert in almost anything based on the information you could find online or elsewhere – but businesses still grow and we haven’t seen a world develop where everyone does it themselves.

So the fear of ‘giving it away for free’ is unnecessary and one that will restrict your marketing efforts, especially if you want to embrace social media. Here’s 5 reasons why – and this applies to service providers and those creating physical products

1. You need to demonstrate you know what you are doing – so how do you do that without providing details of what you do know.

2. What else are you going to use to generate ‘content’ or ‘things to use in marketing’ – creating new content that doesn’t give away your ‘secrets’ is expensive and if you are not a comedian why are you creating a funny video. Use what you do have in abundance – your knowledge and expertise (and it feeds point 1.)

3. Its fulfills your customers needs. They know what they want. They have a specific need/pain – do your broad and unspecific statements about what you do (but don’t give too much away) answer those specific needs or pains. I bet they don’t.

4. “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” Aristotle. So by showing them  this it makes them want, or need, you even more. They realise they need the help of a professional, or a more premium product.

5. Humans like to reciprocate. If they have spent some time looking at your website to get lots of free information about their situation and then realise they need help – who do you think they will turn to? Not the other websites they have looked at which didn’t answer their specific question/need/pain.

So in social you should be looking internally to see what information and expertise you can give away. If it’s really clever it’s more useful and has greater value. For example my post about circumventing Linkedin restrictions using Google was by far my most shared post.

So don’t be afraid to give it away for free, it’s what your customers want until they realise it’s actually you or your product they really need.