Social media is quickly becoming the plague of the internet. Let me explain; social media in concept was designed as a tool or a platform to bring people together. It was originally created as a place for classmates to interact online, but it quickly outgrew that realm and gained popularity among the masses. Almost overnight it became the platform for networking with existing friends as well and a place to make new friends. That is exactly what it was designed for, and that is exactly the reason I became active on sites like Twitter and Facebook.
Another word for this kind of interaction is networking. We are all familiar with that dirty little word. As an artist, I have used Facebook and twitter this way for years. I have made numerous friends all over the world, and I have actually built some serious relationships as a result. These relationships have given me the opportunity to show my work in galleries and museum’s worldwide. This kind of networking and relationship building is perfectly suited for Facebook and twitter.
Now here is the bad part; as a result of the massive popularity of these sites, they have subsequently become inundated with people trying to “sell you stuff”. This is the biggest turn-off in the world, as far as I’m concerned. I know I speak for hundreds of thousands if not millions when I say I don’t want to be “pitched” on your product or service when I’m on Facebook or twitter. Lets understand something, there is a very fine line between networking, and selling (a sales pitch). Unfortunately way too many people have trouble discerning that fine line and abuse their social networks by posting and tweeting all kinds of nonsense in the hopes of generating business or revenue. The simple matter is, all that does is annoy people. One of the biggest offenders are the SEO people. There are literally hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people tweeting a sales pitch in one form or another in an attempt to sell you on their SEO expertise, reputation defense, reputation repair, website building, back-link sales, hosting services etc. The list goes on and on to include just about every product imaginable.
As a former award-winning real estate agent I was also guilty of this. I know quite a few Realtors who are constantly tweeting about homes for sa,e, open house calls or market statistics. I actually challenged one of these people (a former top producing agent in New York) to show me one single property he has actually sold as a result of social media. He had no answer for me. A quick look at the profile of these people will reveal that for the most part, they are following and being followed by other real estate agents! That tells the whole story. The actual clients that they are seeking are not even reading their tweets. Its nothing but a bunch of sales people pitching to each other. Don’t make the same mistake. Taking real estate agents as a prime example, I have found that they are stroking each others egos with all these tweets and wall posts. Thisnis nothing more then mental masturbation. This was the reason that I never followed other real estate agents on social media, even when I was myself a full-time agent. In fact, looking at any of my social media profiles you would have a hard time even seeing mention that I sell real estate. I recognize that my social media friends don’t care about, nor do they want to hear about my work. I don’t mean to atack Realtors here! I use the real estate agent example only because I worked in the field myself and have first hand knowledge of it. The same thing applies to consultants, SEO people, advertising reps, and on and on. Sadly big business has gotten on the bandwagon too. Why anyone on earth would want to follow Pfizer or Dow Chemical on a social media network is beyond me. Perhaps it’s the free advertising thats attracting big business.
So in summary, use social media to interact with your friends and make new friends (networking). But do not use social media to pitch your wares, sell your products, or promote your services. Doing so only creates more white noise, and quite frankly, its irritating. There are much more effective ways to target an audience, Facebook and twitter are not one of them.