Promoting vs. Engaging

There's a product I've been following the last couple of months, and, while I find it intriguing, I haven't tried it. It's called Fitness Coffee – a coffee meant to aid in weight loss (my best guess is there's some additive, probably natural or near-natural, designed to kick your metabolism into high gear).

They're fairly active on Twitter and Facebook, and they're looking to get further into the social space by giving away an iPad.

You can enter by sending them a picture, blogging, vlogging or doing some Facebook or Twitter something. Give it your best shot, you might be able to monetize your youtube videos.

OK, comprehensive-ish, but there are some instructions I just don't get. For the blog entry:

Blog about us on your blog with by posting the following and send us the link...


Once you are signed up and following us, simply tweet this to your list of fellow tweeters...

For Facebook:

Simply become a fan or like of Fitness Coffee on Facebook and post the following on your wall...

So, rather than hearing what their customers think about their product (except the vlog, where they want a 15-second clip – not exactly a review), they're steering the message. Why bother?

If you really want to spend $500 on a give-away, get something out of it. People who read blogs, by-and-large, are not stupid. They'll know the copy was written by someone other than the blogger, and they won't care about your product.

Instead, ask for links of reviews to your product. You'll learn where you can improve, and...wait for it...when you get a positive review, you'll get more customers. Because I read blogs written by people I trust, and if someone I trust thinks enough of your product to write a positive review, that might be the thing I need to push me over the edge to spend $10 on an 8.8-ounce bag of your product (when I'm more than happy to spend $6 on a 40-ounce tin of Folger's at one of those bulk membership clubs).

When people are talking about you on the social web, are they really talking about you? Or are they just regurgitating canned copy for a reward?

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