I am writing this week’s post fully aware that I will be upsetting a few and potentially earning the unsubscription of others.

For the most part I make a good faith effort to remain positive in my blog articles and social media posts. Each week I focus on gathering useful and applicable information that I can share in the hopes that it assists others in developing their careers and pursuing their passions.

That said, for those that are reading, I truly wish that the following is taken in the spirit of which it is intended.

“Vote for me”

This morning I had someone message me on Facebook with the one-sentence request and a link to vote for them in an online modeling contest. It is a request I receive semi-regularly and one that (in full disclosure) I’ve been fairly good at paying minimal attention to. It is not because I don’t support the goals and actions of my clients. On the complete contrary, I do very much support them. However I question the value and return on investment of these fairly routine online vote-driven (popularity) contests.

The words “vote for me” even strike a negative nerve. My guess is that many of you felt that same nerve before opening this article. My second guess is that some are not reading this article simple because of the title and fearing what could be contained within.

Back to the message I got this morning. I felt like inquiring further. I asked if this person and I have ever met or worked together before.

The response was “no.”

I then checked to see if we have ever even communicated before.

The answer was, once again, “no.”

So in the nicest way possible I inquired as to why this person who has never met me, worked with me or even been in communication with me needed my vote?

The response at that point was not so pleasant.

I am unsure if this article is the right platform to discuss the pros and cons of investing one’s time and energy intro these online vote-a-thons. Perhaps it is one of those things I’ll simply have to chalk up to the reality that people often take different roads to get to where they want to be. Several years ago I myself invested time and energy into a few of them. I also realize that they are sometimes done with the best of intentions.

However, more importantly, I think the greater topic to discuss is the method of which we attempt to connect with others to garner their vote or their support. A nearly-empty message to a stranger to vote for them (or worse yet to a prospective client).

Vote for me here. Like my page here. Join my following here.

I’d like to contest that there is a far better approach (yes I intended that pun on words). It has nothing to do with them voting for you, or clicking LIKE on your page or following your feed.

The answer lies in the following question: What can you do for them?

The company or individual who uses their channel (FB, Twitter, etc) to share useful information. The one who posts entertaining or inspirational content that their followers find true value in. Or the ones who leverage their medium as a way to connect people together and create a community.

What can you do for them? Focus on that and you will see the return on your investment blossom.

Once you have their trust, respect and connection by showing what you can do for them – you will see a new level of support should you decide to occasionally request their vote.

James Patrick