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Newsletter #960: The “Permission is Powerful” Issue

[Welcome back to the Damn, I Wish I’d Thought of That! newsletter. This is text of the great issue all of our email subscribers just received. Sign yourself up using the handy form on the right.]

Some businesses have well-meaning-but-actually-dumb rules. If you’ve ever seen a “no pictures” sign on the wall or an “extra charge for sharing” disclaimer on a menu, you know what we’re talking about.

So when companies give customers explicit permission to do this normally-frowned-upon stuff, something cool happens:

1. People share more
2. People come back
3. People have a better experience
4. Check it out: Periodic Table of Alcohol

1. People share more

Photo thanks to @EmilyRebeccaCole

New York’s ABC Carpet and Home has a pretty interesting set-up in the back of the store where they keep piles of salvaged industrial items. They call it their RAW room, and people love to take pictures of the cool collections. So when ABC noticed this trend, instead of shutting people down, they put a sign on the wall that encouraged visitors to share their photos with the hashtag, #RawABCHome.

The lesson: With this hashtag, ABC Home can keep track of all of the cool photos visitors are taking of their stuff. Plus, by using a social media call to action, they’re encouraging casual photo-takers to share their experience with even more people.

Learn more: PSFK

2. People come back

Photo thanks to Reddit

Photo thanks to Reddit

It’s not news that parents often share their meals with their toddlers at a restaurant. People do it all the time. Some restaurants respond by posting somewhat rude things on their menus like “no sharing” or they charge extra for an empty plate. At this German restaurant, there’s no fee for kids to share a plate with their parents. In fact, their menu calls it “The Bandit Plate,” which says, “You are getting a plate with some cutlery and you can steal from your parents.”

The lesson: By putting this option on their menu, it not only lets parents know it’s OK to share, but it also makes them smile — which is a whole lot better (and more profitable) than annoying them with a petty fee.

Learn more: Reddit

3. People have a better experience

At most conferences, the intro speaker will ask the audience to put away their phones, shut down their laptops, and turn off their tablets. But our SocialMedia.org BlogWell conferences are full of social media executives — so at the start of each conference, we encourage them to do what they want to do naturally: tweet, post Instagram photos, blog, and record Vine videos. Our social media feeds get tons of love during our events because our attendees like to share — and we’re not going to stand in the way of them doing it.

The lesson: Instead of trying to prevent your customers from doing what’s natural to them, encourage them to do it. That way, everyone will have a better time.

4. Check it out: Periodic Table of Alcohol

Photo thanks to Fast Company

Photo thanks to Fast Company

This informational chart by Area 42 beautifully categorizes the drinks you’ve heard of (and probably consumed) but didn’t know much about.

Check it out: Fast Company

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