This article, from Scott Stratten, originally appeared on UnMarketing on 1/20/10 and is reprinted here in its entirety with his permission. While it is addressed to social media consultants, the advice here is equally useful to authors, publishers, and anyone else who hopes to avoid missteps in using social media.
An open letter to all my friends in the social media consultant/guru game,
You’re steering people the wrong way.
You sell yourself as social media consultants, the ones that can show you the way and then fark it up.
I beg of you to stop.
Go back to teaching Internet marketing from the old days, I could at least ignore you then. I talk to you at conferences, share the stage but I can’t listen to you up there any longer spewing “tips” that hurt people and their relationships.
Here is what I and many, if not most of the world, request of you to stop immediately when teaching “Facebook Strategy”:
1. Stop telling people to invite everyone in their contact list to every event, even if it’s local. If you invite me to your 1 hour workshop at the library in New Mexico, and I live in Toronto, it hurts my view of you and questions your geography skills
2. Stop teaching people to create fake events. You know what I’m talking about… it’s the “month long event” that you say people should create, and then they “message” all the “no’s and maybe’s” and “not yet responded” to continue to pump out their message. It makes me feel all unfriendy. (yes, that’s unfriendy)
3. You know that trick of tagging people in articles/pics/videos that they don’t appear in so they come and read it? Stop it. Getting me to think I’m mentioned somewhere just to find out I’m not and you’re just being a selfish bumhole, does not bode well for our future “friend” status on the book of faces.
4. Inviting me to a “loss weight” teleseminar event, where it lists people you’ve invited is like being on a roll call at fat camp. Really? Do I look fat in these jogging pants? I know a lot of people are overweight, but inviting someone to an event to lose that weight, especially when I’m perfectly happy living my life of denial, does not strengthen our relationship.
And while we’re here, can you start teaching your clients:
1. Inviting me to assassinate someone in the temple in Mafia Wars may give off the wrong vibe for your brand… I don’t know about you, but I like to be a sniper in the privacy of my own Xbox, not regular updates on my wall of whose neck I’ve cracked
2. Hundreds of Farmville updates on your wall doesn’t make me think you’ll focus on my needs if I become your client. Especially if you’re positioned as a “busy” person, and your status update says “I have no time!!!” And yet we can read how you just nursed a sickly cat on your farm in FarmVille, well, um, it’s just awkward.
3. Blingee generic mass-sent greeting animated cards make people go nuts. Before turning off and blocking the app, I had 43 posted on my wall. In 4 hours. Nothing says “I thought of you personally” like a mass sent lame greeting self-serving wall post. “Hey Scott, if you don’t like the app, you can just turn it off” Well, I didn’t ask you, but if you insist, that’s like me having to tell people to stop kicking me in the nuts. It should be opt-in, not opt-out.
If you’re going to be in the position of an expert, act like one.
Teach people that really, truly want to know how to do things in social media properly. Show them how to:
1. Connect with people on an authentic, not automated level.
2. Show them that with time and effort, you can meet the greatest people in the world on sites like Twitter, if they only would only invest their time, care and knowledge first.
3. That “success” is subjective, not a number of friends/followers. If by success you mean some of the most incredible relationships you’ve ever had, that once trust is established can also lead to a fruitful business, you can have it within social media.
4. Tell them to treat others like they would like to be treated. That sending repeat invites weekly to your event on Facebook would really really suck if they had 20 people doing it to them every week, and that promoting others is sometimes better than promoting yourself.
5. And warn them, that us, the self-appointed guards of social media are very protective, very persistent and aren’t goin anywhere.
There you have it my fellow social media teachers. I’m sure we’ll get along fine with just these small but meaningful changes.
The entire Internet
(As a special treat, I also made this into a song for you. With apologies to Heart)
UPDATE – Thanks to the awesome @SnipeyHead here is a post on how to get rid of most of this annoying schtuff by using FaceBook Lite.
Scott Stratten is the President of Un-Marketing.com. He is an expert in Viral, Social, and Authentic Marketing which he calls Un-Marketing. It’s all about positioning yourself as a trusted expert in front of target market, so when they have the need, they choose you, That’s UN-Marketing.
Over 45,000 people follow his daily rantings on Twitter and was voted one of the top influencers on the site with over 20 million users . His recent Tweet-a-thon raised over $16,000 for child hunger, in less than 12 hours. His book “UnMarketing: Stop Marketing. Start Engaging” is due to hit the shelves in the Fall of 2010 from Wiley & Sons.
His clients’ viral marketing videos have been viewed over 60 million times and has generated massive profits and lists. One of the movies was chosen by the Chicago Bears as their biggest motivator towards their Super Bowl run a few years ago, while another made their client over $5 million in 7 days. He recently appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable.com, USA Today, CNN.com and Fast Company. That plus $5 gets him a coffee anywhere in the world.
Since he still has to pay for his own coffee, he earns his keep by speaking and consulting around the world on how businesses can engage better (or at all!) with their current and potential customer base using social media, viral marketing and just plain old engaging conversation. His team of Un-Jedi’s are responsible for such online hits as “The Dash Movie”, “The Time Movie” as well as the tongue-in-cheek “I’m Breaking Up With The Leafs” (although Scott wants you to know he really is no longer a Leafs fan).