Are You a Lazy Social Media Marketer?

Success with social media doesn’t happen overnight.

Yet far too often we see business owners try to circumvent the process by sending out mass communications through social tools that amount to little more than spam.

I had this happen to me this weekend. I received a mass email through Facebook from someone I don’t know personally. Since I opened it first on my phone, I saw that there was a whole list of other people it was sent to (nothing makes you feel all warm and fuzzy like bulk email). Here’s how the message started:

To All My Friends and Family,

Very rarely do I take the time to ensure that everyone I know is aware of what I have been up to, but this is just one of those unique moments that deserves the few moments to read what I have taken the time to write. (From Jennifer: Notice the “I” that’s used 4 times in the opening sentence alone. This isn’t about me. It’s about you.)

Before you come to conclusions, let me make sure you know this isn’t a chain email nor am I trying to sell you anything. I just want you to know what I know and then you can do with it what you will.

The message goes on from here. But here’s the thing: starting this email this way makes it obviously untrue, and invalidates everything else the person is trying to say.

  1. It IS a chain email (or at least a bulk email.) It was sent to a lot of people. Not just me.
  2. I guess we are loosely “friends” since we’re connected on Facebook. But I wouldn’t classify myself as “friends and family” since we’ve never actually had a conversation.
  3. You actually ARE trying to sell something. You wouldn’t be sharing your business otherwise. Telling us you’re not is patently untrue, and immediately invites skepticism for what follows.

Messages like this are not effective, and are more likely to alienate than build the relationships needed to have success with social media marketing messages. If you want to use social media tools, you MUST invest the time necessary to build relationships. This means dealing with family and friends as individuals, not a mass target.

If you want to use mass tools, pay for them. This includes Facebook ads, list building/autoresponder messages, etc. Social networks are for building relationships with individuals.

What should this person be doing?

  1. Read the individual messages from her Facebook contacts, to see who might be sharing information that indicates they are a good prospect.
  2. Reach out to those individuals one by one, providing a customized message about your business based on your relationship with them, and your knowledge of what’s going on in their lives.

Sounds like too much work? Then maybe you’re not ready to make the investment that social networking requires, and should focus on advertising instead.

You see, an investment is required to market your business. It can be a cash investment for advertising. Or it can be a time investment for social media marketing. But nothing is free. You have to choose.

Being lazy by mass-spamming your social networking contacts is more likely to alienate contacts than help your business.

Don’t be a lazy social media marketer.

Your thoughts? Share them in the comments.

image credit: Piez

4 Responses to Are You a Lazy Social Media Marketer?
  1. Melody
    February 21, 2011 | 2:31 pm

    I was going to say, yes I am a lazy social media marketer but I would never, ever do this! It’s unfortunate and sad that these folks don’t understand how ineffective this tactic is. Common sense is uncommon in social media when it comes to desperate people.
    Melody recently posted..Buy One Product- Get One Candle Special

  2. Debbie
    February 21, 2011 | 10:34 am

    She should make a group and ask her “friends” if they want to join so she can update them. I have gotten a few of these as well as friend requests. I check the person first, if they only want to advertise their business, then they get a cancel.

    • Jennifer Fong
      February 21, 2011 | 10:40 am

      Personally, I think she’d be better off with a business page. Then she can write posts that focus on benefits/value to members of her Page. Groups can be tough when they’re customer-facing, now that Facebook has changed them. People are automatically opted-in, even if they have no interest in the Group.

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