The odd relationship between hunting night crawlers and social media
You haven’t lived yet until you’ve hunted night crawlers.
Never hunted night crawlers? Here’s how to do it:
1 Warm summer evening
1 lawn (owned, rented or borrowed)
1 or more 8-12 year old kids eager to catch some crawlers tonight and some huge trout tomorrow
Firm plans to actually go fishing tomorrow (never disappoint a young fisherman!)
1 flashlight for each hunter
Several buckets to put the crawlers into once caught
A spirit of laughter and adventure
Step 1: Water your lawn
Correction, soak your lawn.You can’t just water it. You have to drown it, for several hours. You’re trying to flood the little night crawler tunnels so they’ll come to the surface.
Step 2: Wait until nightfall.
Not dusk, real nightfall. Think dark.
Step 3: Turn off your sprinklers
This step seems to make for happier hunters
Step 4: Do some serious hunting
This is where you get stealthy. Night crawlers can feel vibrations in the ground and can hear noises (at least that’s what I was taught.) So you’ve got to be sneaky to succeed.
Shine your flashlights across the lawn. Look for little brown nightcrawlerish-looking bodies lying on the ground. Be aware, however, that by light of flashlight, many things, like small sticks, toys, and doggy dodos take on the appearance of night crawlers, so be careful what you grab.
When you see one, carefully creep up on it. Bend over really slowly, then grab it fast.
Yes, you have to be fast, because the favorite position of a night crawler whose home is temporarily flooded out is halfway out of its hole, keeping its tail (you do know that night crawlers have tails, right?) in its hole in case someone successfully sneaks up on it and tries to grab it. And not only is its tail in the hole, but it expands the end of its tail to anchor it in the hole and stretches its body out extra far to allow for…
When it senses danger, the night crawler uses its tail anchor as leverage and sucks its body back into the hole, in a fraction of a second. So you’ve got to be fast, really fast.
You’re going to miss the first 5 or so you try, but once you get your hands around your first night crawler, the real battle begins. The crawler’s tail anchor is tenacious, and he’s not about to release it just so the he can become trout-bait. Basically what happens is a tug of war – you pull, he pulls back, and it keeps going like that until he either slips out of your hand, you pull him out of the hole, or he breaks in half. That’s why it’s such a great adventure, and why its almost a must to have a few 8-12 year olds around just to watch their faces the first time they actually win the battle and place a whole crawler into the bucket! They won, it was a hard-fought, slimy battle, but they won, and their faces will show it! (Remember they can’t shout, or you’ll lose your entire night of hunting!)
Continue until you’ve got enough to catch a full creel of trout the next day, plus a couple of buckets more for the kids to sell to other anglers on the banks – which makes for great (and essential) sales training for a 10-year old!
Why this exhaustive write up about night crawlers? Because the process of hunting crawlers is a great example of what not to do when hunting customers.
Many people pursue online marketing in a way that reminds me a great deal of night crawler hunting. They carefully flood the environment where their customers hang out, basically drowning them into revealing themselves. They they sneak up on them, grab them and start a tug of war, basically brow-beating their customers into buying.
Yes, a few do end up in the proverbial bucket. But why would you ever want to create a marketing plan based on cajoling unwilling customers into buying? Wouldn’t you rather have a situation where they willingly come, practically begging you to sell them something?
That’s part of what social media does. When properly done, it helps you create a relationship of trust and familiarity with your customers. At that point they’re less like night crawlers, dug into their lairs and holding on (and holding onto their wallets) for dear life, and more like a puppy, eager to learn a trick so he can be rewarded with another dog biscuit and an enthusiastic pat on the head.
What kind of seller are you? What kind do you want to be?
Social media’s your answer!
Like this analogy? Hate it? Know a trick to crawler hunting that I don’t know about? Share it by making a comment below.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/peculiarmomma/508391174/