If you use social traffic channels and social networks like Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, it’s not uncommon to receive junky marketing message from strangers promoting acaiberry, dating offers, viagra, gaming and adult offers.
But what happens when friends send you these messages?
Granted, it won’t be as overt as a “Hi, I’m Natasha, I would like to chat with you
Talk to me now at: [Adult friend finder affiliate link]”
But still, some of the things that rankle my haunches include:
- Talking about how amazing you are or how great you are (Go talk to your bathroom mirror if you feel the need to share).
- Talking about how you’ve been in the industry for 10 years or 15 years (Unfortunately, it was more like you experienced the same day over and over again since day 1 and haven’t learnt a thing).
- Endlessly promoting some product and include affiliate links in your twitter messages (We’re pretty savvy marketers and seeing a redirect URL and a bunch of cookies being placed in our browser fires off a couple of warning bells).
- Talking down and treating your audience like kids, assuming they’re going to believe everything you say.
- Failing to provide any value to your followers/listeners/fans.
In my opinion, there’s nothing terrifically new about the web 2.0 or social traffic sites – the same rules apply, it’s all about building the relationship with the person you’re talking to.
Just because you can use the power of twitter to send marketing messages out to 2,000 followers doesn’t mean you should do so at every opportunity.
Likewise, following 4,000 people and having 500 follow you back does not make you a “social marketing expert” either. On the contrary, it tends to smack of desperation.
Technology is a double-edged sword. Tools like Qwitter let you see when someone who has just followed you, decides to quit 24 hours later when you don’t follow them back. This is like the pickup artist who heads into a bar and uses a string of one-liners, gets no love and leaves at the end of the night empty-handed.
If you want to be in the internet marketing game for the long term, it’s important to play the game with a long term focus and a long term plan in mind.
Some of the principles that have helped me include:
- Focus on the quality, not the quantity of relationship: It’s much better to have 1 staunch ally than 100 casual followers. So quit bragging about how you have 1,000, 10,000 or 100,000 fans. How many of them do you know, and what do you know about them? Being a mere “friend collector” is even more superficial online, compared to it’s offline equivalent.
- Being invited and being part of the in-group: Do you feel that you know the person well enough to call them a friend? I think trust has to be earned. Even though social networks are open and you can find my accounts using the search engine, that does not give you license to ping me as I’m working on a campaign to give me a hot new offer, or beg me to try out your new product or service. “Permission Marketing” by Seth Godin is a good book which addresses this topic, failing which a copy of “Miss Manners Guide to Good Social Etiquette” wouldn’t hurt either. You wouldn’t come up to a group in a party and butt in with an off-topic, irrelevant question, so why abuse the internet in a similar fashion?
- Build the relationship: Relationships progress – from strangers to casual contacts to friends to buddies. You can’t leapfrog from strangers to friends or buddies in one fell swoop, unless you have some serious moxie. Developing a sense of EQ or emotional quotient and taking time to build rapport with someone shows sincerity and does more to build the relationship than anything else. But if you’re hellbent on trying to get a sale out of the whole superficial exchange, then there’s not much anyone can do for you.
In a nutshell, being a “bad” social marketer has a lot to do with coming across as being rude and seeing someone as a customer, rather than a human being. If you aren’t able to pick up the lessons to step up to responsible marketing over web 2.0 or web 3.0, you won’t be able to get a passing grade anytime soon.