An Open Letter to Marketers Who Abuse Social Media for Selfish Gain

Okay, show of hands.

Who else is sick and tired of marketers who view social media as nothing more than a source of free traffic?

You know the type.

  • They have dozens of niche blogs, pumping out an endless stream of crap content they pay writers five dollars per post to produce
  • They DM us all kinds of lame affiliate offers on Twitter
  • They have a gang of buddies who help them push inappropriate content to the front pages of Digg, Delicious, and Reddit

No, they’re not going to destroy social media or anything as dramatic as that, but it’s still pretty ugly. These marketers have become like leeches, bleeding people of trust and contributing nothing in return. And it’s time for it to stop.

So, I decided to take a little time off from our usual marketing tips and write a good old-fashioned open letter (a.k.a. rant), telling them how it is. No, I don’t think it’s going to change the minds of any hardened spammers, but it might open the eyes of a few businesses who don’t know any better.

Let’s get started:

Dear Mr. Marketer:

The Social Web is not your "traffic honey hole."

Yes, we understand you’re just trying to run a business. Yes, we know social media is the biggest marketing opportunity in the history of mankind, and you’re just trying to get your piece of it. Yes, we are aware that social media marketing is endorsed by many top Internet marketers, and they’re making millions off it every day.

But we’d like you to stop, or at least change the way you’re doing it.

We’re not going to give you another self-righteous argument about how you can’t make money with social media. We’re not going to sermonize about the pitfalls of sleazy marketing. We’re not going to tell you you’re ruining opportunities for all of the other marketers out there who are trying to do things the right way.

You’ve probably heard enough of that, and it doesn’t matter anyway.

No, the honest truth is that it’s just a bad business strategy, and eventually you’re going to get burned. Sure, you can make a few quick bucks, but over the long term, trying to manipulate social media to get free traffic for your business just isn’t a sustainable strategy.

Here’s why:

1. Social Media Isn’t about Getting. It’s about Giving.

It’s tempting, I know.

Here you are, struggling to get anyone to pay attention to your product or service, and you hear that Facebook now has 500 million active users, twitter publishes over 2 billion tweets per month, and YouTube gets 2 billion views per day.

You think, "If I could only get a piece of that, my troubles would be over." You’d make a fortune, travel around the world, and enjoy the lifestyle of the New Rich.

So you design a marketing strategy around getting people to opt in to an e-mail campaign, friend you on Facebook, or follow you on Twitter. You dream about getting 5,000 Facebook friends, 10,000 twitter followers, 100,000 e-mail subscribers.

And when it doesn’t work, you wonder what you did wrong.

The answer: you’re trying to "get" with social media, and that’s not what it’s about. It’s about giving, about creating something stunningly awesome people can’t help talk about it, and then putting the tools in place to help them spread the word.

  • Instead of jotting down a few thoughts for another quickie blog post, take several days and put together the most comprehensive guide in your niche for an important subject, and then give it away for free
  • Instead of just talking about the theory of how to do something, prepare a video case study showing people in-depth examples of exactly how to do it
  • Instead of just tweeting a few links to blog posts, set aside several hours each week to help anyone who asks you questions on Twitter, and then go out of your way to help them

In short, do something remarkable. Give people an experience they’ll want to talk about.

2. Social Media Isn’t about Algorithms. It’s about People.

Far too many bright people waste their time trying to figure out Google, Digg, and Twitter algorithms so they can game the system.

Sure, it might work… for a little while. Eventually though, algorithms change, and then your entire business falls apart. So then you have to find another exploit, another way to get around what it was meant to do, so you can resume making money.

It’s not sustainable. Every year, the algorithms get better and better, and it gets harder and harder to game the system.

If you’re smart, you have to ask yourself, "Is it really worth trying?" Why not just use the system the way it was meant to be used?

The purpose of social media is to give people information they want. If you understand the people, then you automatically understand the algorithm:

  • Want to get to the front page of Digg? Watch it for a few weeks, get to know what the Digg community likes, and then submit something you know they’ll enjoy.
  • Want to go viral on twitter? Browse around popular blogs, look at the posts that get more than 1,000 retweets, and then write content with a similar style, covering a similar topic.
  • Want to release a popular product? Use social media to listen to what people want, and then create your product based on their ideas, not yours.

The data is all there, waiting for you to use. All you have to do is listen to people, and then use their feedback to guide your marketing.

3. Social Media Isn’t about Numbers. It’s about Relationships.

RSS subscribers, Twitter followers, Facebook friends — when you’re just getting started, it’s easy to be obsessed with how many you have. You check every day, you brainstorm ways to get more, and you’re envious of people with a higher number.

But you shouldn’t be. Sure, numbers are important, but the real measure of influence with social media is the strength of your relationships.

You can build a following of 10,000 or more people on twitter, just by following everyone related to your subject, and waiting for a percentage of them to follow you back. The problem is, very few of them will remember who you are or actively watch your tweets, so it’s really like you have no one following you at all.

On the other hand, if you actively tweet great links and help people one on one, you may only have an audience of a few thousand, but all of them will know who you are, and all of them will be interested in what you have to say. If you have a new post, they’ll want to read it, and if you release a product, they’ll want to check it out. You’ll drive dramatically more traffic and sales.

And here’s the thing: relationships can’t be automated.

You can use different websites and software to artificially inflate your numbers, giving you lots of subscribers, followers, friends, or whatever, but there’s not a tool to build relationships for you. If you want to have influence online, then you actually have to take the time to talk with people, getting to know them and proving every day that you’re someone worth listening to.

You need to:

  • Take the time to answer people’s comments on your blog. They’ll be grateful, and it’ll make them more likely to come back.
  • Don’t just tweet about your products and services. Give your opinion on industry trends, tell stories from your business, and let people get to know you. They’re tired of buying from faceless brands.
  • Actively listen to your most vocal customers. Follow them on twitter, subscribe to their blogs, comment on their posts, and do your best to keep up a dialog with them. It’ll pay off in positive press, and it’ll also help you build a better product.

Will any of it pay off in more traffic, followers, and subscribers?

Not immediately, no. Stick with it long enough though, and let people see that you’re serious, and it certainly can. You’ll get more retweets, links, comments, bookmarks — everything you could ask for to increase your traffic.

They won’t be doing it because you offered them a gift certificate or some other incentive. They’ll be doing it because they know you, like you, and want you to succeed.

And you know what?

You can’t buy that type of marketing.

Isn’t Doing All of This A Lot of Work?

Sure, but when is effective marketing not a lot of work?

One of the greatest myths about social media is that it’s an "Easy Button" for building a business. All you have to do is start a blog, create a Twitter account, or publish a few videos to YouTube, and you’ll have millions of people beating a path to your door.

But it’s not true. Yes, social media is revolutionary, both in technology and concept, but at its core it’s really about one thing: creating genuine connections with people.

You have to set aside the time to find out what people really want. You have to work at building relationships with both your customers and leaders in your industry. You have to create genuinely awesome experiences for people to talk about, as well as put the tools in place for them to help you spread the word.

Do that, and you’ll have all of the free traffic you can handle.

Don’t, and you’ll be just another annoyance, ignored today and banned tomorrow.

Who do you want to be?

It’s entirely up to you.

Sincerely,

Jon Morrow

About the Author: Jon Morrow is the Editor of KISSmetrics and the Associate Editor of Copyblogger. Get more from him on twitter.

  1. Thank you for saying what I am sure a lot of us were feeling.

    I think a lot of these marketing practices would end if the perpetrators just stopped and asked themselves, “Why?”

    “Why am I doing what I am doing? Does any of this spamming actually produce results or am I just doing what I think I am supposed to be doing?”

  2. Chris Garrett Aug 24, 2010 at 8:09 am

    This

    “numbers are important, but the real measure of influence with social media is the strength of your relationships.”

    So many people say to me “why do you bother with social media, it’s lame – I tried and didn’t get any traffic” – even people considered leaders in the IM industry. It is because they do not heed advice like yours – they put traffic, numbers and $$$ before PEOPLE.

    Social Media = Soylent Green.

    It’s people.

    • Shauna Forkenbrock Aug 24, 2010 at 9:49 am

      Great articulation of so much the big guy doesn’t understand. Gonna keep this handy.

      Best commentary:
      social media = soylent green
      it’s people.

      brilliant!

    • Valeria Maltoni Aug 27, 2010 at 7:21 am

      As it is in life ;) Good conversation.

  3. There has to be something there for all of these “social media experts” to continue doing what they’re doing, right?

    Your point (and Chris Garrett’s callout) are dead on the money, and yet we still see hundreds and thousands of people flocking to the “spam” business model, despite seeing no real return.

    An old friend of mine works as a “Mr. Marketer” and has almost 90,000 people following on Twitter. When asked about how many of those followers click on links that my friend tweets, the response was: “less than 10.”

    It’s called “social” media. Not “megaphone” media.

  4. speaking of being annoying and intrusive, every time i copy a quote from this article and then paste it, it pastes your link as well to “read more”

    • Pablo (Otakupahp) Aug 24, 2010 at 10:04 am

      Awesome, you are rigth… however I am more surprised about how they do the clipborad injection.

      But anyway, the article is great

    • Unfortunately, there is an army of content thieves out there who have taken lessons from the same big marketers abusing social media in an “anything goes” world. They don’t believe in (or actively deny) intellectual property rights, and will not give credit where credit is due.

      That script is there to remind those who honestly don’t know (or have forgotten) about attribution by populating the content snippet with a link. For those who are deliberate thieves, nothing works, but perhaps some of them will get a conscience at some point and be willing to leave the link in place.

  5. The Social Web is not your “traffic honey hole.”

    I nominate this for a 2010 Webby Award. Best Sentence.

    • It’s funny how these folks have developed their own special brand of “marketing” that seems to always include Multi-Level Marketing, Network Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, SEO, and some version of “The Secret”. Whatever they’re doing it’s oft confusing to hear someone refer to their “Internet Marketing” business as someone who actually works in online, interactive and digital marketing. I recently paid $10 to attend a meet-up group (which seemed like it may be a good networking event) and then they tried to sell me a scrapbook because of this “Internet Marketing” misnomer. I’ve since boycotted anyone that refers to what they do in this way.

    • Yes, I second the nomination. Totally the best sentence!

  6. I’m amazed by how often people obsess over the # of followers or the # of fans on Facebook that they have. In my own efforts to grow our company blog, I went with the engagement approach. Instead of stressing about the followers or fans, I focused on building relationships with the ones that I already had.

    In the Tipping Point, which I’m sure many of you have read, Gladwell talks about the rule of 150. IF you haven’t the concept is simple. It takes 150 people to make an idea spread. I decided to see if I could take this approach to twitter. I created a private list of all the people that I’ve been engaging with on a daily basis so I could focus my efforts on deepening my relationships with them. As a result, I’ve seen my traffic jump significantly and received many more comments on my blog. The point I’m trying to make is that you should nurture the relationships you have and give value to them.

  7. Thanks for the rant/insight. It’s good for those abusive marketer types, if they can get it, but even better for newbies who are still figuring it out (before they go down the wrong path).

  8. Christine Livingston Aug 24, 2010 at 9:35 am

    This is awesome, Jon, and right in keeping with how I’m seeing things right now. I haven’t read The Tipping Point that Srinivas is talking about in his comment, but I’m currently applying the same kind of principles. I’m going through the people I follow on Twitter, and if all I see is one way traffic, I’m unfollowing.

    I’m doing the same with folks/companies who appear to use proper relationship etiquette upfront, but then continuously spam me subsequently, or want to rip me off for link building etc.

    I think trust is such an important aspect of the blogosphere and those communities that work on that basis need to protect it. What I think you’ve done here is articulate some brilliant boundaries.

  9. What’s even more curious to me is when you actually do try to engage one of those types, they very rarely respond. Just yesterday on Twitter I asked for recommendations in a segment that tends to see a lot of the “psuedospammers”.

    I even hashtagged my question with some popular tags they use.

    I only received one response. I guess the rest of them only have an agenda, and not a product.

    • Yep, asking him a question is one of the quickest ways to spot them. Real people will usually get back to you.

  10. Very well said. I have been resistant to social media because I am an IT nut that fears the security and privacy problems. I joined Twitter about two months ago for a specific reason and have found it to be great place to make connections and build relationships.

    But it is also full of crap and people just shoving themselves and their crap at me. They are easy to spot once you’ve been out here for just a short period of time.

    I read tweets before I follow but that isn’t always enough. If they spam me I report them and I block them. Period. If someone follows me and their tweets are spam, I report them and block them.

    It is called social media for a reason…to socialize. It is not a place for people to just be shouting on the street corners about their snake oil, greatest ebook, or the end of the world. If you aren’t out here for dialogue and engagement…leave.

    I think you have spoken for most of us. Unfortunately since those folk only shout and never listen, they may never hear your message. Let’s hope they do.

  11. Thanks for the rant. I try to entertain, answer questions and be kind and I have gotten great results.
    Do they not realize how bored you become when you meet someone and they talk about their job. Ok your a doctor who are you as a person.

    I’m glad you said it and I am retweeting this to all my followers.

    Thanks,

    Lanette
    Media077

    • of course unless the person your talking to works in the deep secret recesses of google, then I’ll be excited to hear all about their job.

  12. Deana Goldasich Aug 24, 2010 at 9:52 am

    This may just be the best blog post I’ve read all year. THANK you for calling out the noise-makers. They make it harder for legitimate marketers and business owners!

  13. Dennis McDonald Aug 24, 2010 at 9:56 am

    All systems get abused, and it’s getting worse as social media become more popular. I predict more walled gardens and controlled access networks because of the problems you raise.

  14. Not only is this rant useless, I think it’s a little wrong, too. When you talk about the “right way” to do social media — deep engagement, long view — you’re talking about how to make money next year. The people you’re talking to don’t care what’s going to make them money next year. They want to make money next week.

    By next year, there will be something new for them to move on to. They don’t care about social media, they care about money. And the most direct way to make the most money next week is to spam people as hard as you can.

    We can all wish this weren’t so as long and as hard as we want to. We can all wish that the money-grubbing sleazeballs would keep their hands off this thing that we happen to like. But if that’s where the money is, that’s where they’re going.

    When the current tactics stop working, the people playing the long game will say, “See? It doesn’t work.” But by then the spammers will have moved on to something else, where they’ll still be making more than most of us who are playing the long game.

    (Is this Monday? For some reason I suddenly feel like this is Monday.)

    • Genuinechris Johnson Sep 04, 2010 at 12:37 pm

      You *can* make money this week, next week or today on social media. I don’t know of any way to do it without work, but the steps are this:

      1.) Be good at something- anytihng.
      2.)go to search.twitter.com
      3.) search for “recommend + your keywords,” where recommend, suggest, know anyone, who can help are strings you use.
      4.) engage the twitterer.

      That’s it.

  15. I like that this is not just a rant, but also an attempt to turn the spammers around by pointing out their lousy business model. Good practical advice. I hope they listen!

  16. Mick Dickinson Aug 24, 2010 at 10:30 am

    Agree with the sentiment and emotion here. Relationships can’t be automated. But any reporting will almost certainly be automated (thankfully!)

  17. Daniel Williams Aug 24, 2010 at 10:58 am

    This article kind of hit home because at times I feel like I’m one of those you are describing in the article. I may or may not be, but I found this very informative and enlightening.

  18. Carin Galletta Aug 24, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    This is so right on the money. We were stunned this week when a potential client ask us to create phantom accounts. Brands just don’t understand how to have two way engaging conversations with real live humans that contribute to true advocacy. I wonder who exactly are they trying to fool?

    The ongoing social media education can be exhausting and frankly, it seems like we should be past the point where you would even need to write this letter.

    This letter almost seems like it could be the basis for a really cool socially-enabled app that is open for everyone to use and send to offenders.

    Thanks again for your thought provoking article.

  19. Eric D. Brown Aug 24, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Why does this rant have to relate just to social media…seems to me the same can be said of business in general, no?

    Businesses are finding that its no longer about extracting the most pennies from each customer…its about driving real relationships with the clients. Relationships are key.

  20. I believe that this rant is on the tip of the iceberg about what is really happening in business, and, of course; social media. The truth is, I believe that most people think that they only have one shot at the “15 minutes of fame” that has been spoken of for years.

    People are not confident in their abilities to create new and amazing content and relationships, for that matter. We allow ourselves to get judged by what we have in our bank account and the car we drive into the garage attached to the house that we can barely afford!

    We are living in a world of fear and the spammers are capitolizing on it and reinforcing the fear, by claiming advanced positioning on search engines.

    We need to fight back by digging deeper on Google and allowing our hearts’ and minds’ algorythm to determine what product or content we choose to consume. Being truly authentic will always win, and being excellent is always amazing, even if your excellence is shared with only one person.

    I appreciate this post, and I hope that this marks the beginning of a movement to do the Jerry Maguire all the time.

    I want people to be great, and know that it is our duty as citizens on this planet to remain great! Not just for 15 minutes while we are Google’s # 1, but forever!

  21. Jamie Favreau Aug 24, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    I completely agree. I had a person approach me to work for them as a Red Wings correspondent even though they already have two and probably don’t need anymore. They really like me and stuff but they were forcing it down my throat like a bad egg. They have gotten better but he was telling me repeatedly to hit this button and spam your friends. I thought about it and I was like that is no way to treat your community.

    You have to give to get. It is the way of life and it is the best way to do business. I agree with everything you have to say.

  22. I couldn’t agree more. The company I work for are practically sexually moist at the thought of raking in money from spamming their 25% off crap onto social media channels. I’m dreading it.

  23. Agreed that so many are doing it the wrong way, trying for the quick traffic. But I get a little frustrated with the “all you have to do is this” and “sure, it’s hard” passages in articles and books I read. Not enough emphasis is put on how actually hard it is to do it right. I think a lot of marketers do get this, but just don’t have the time in their day and are not willing to be patient for so long, so they fall towards the “easy way”. Still, if you’re not going to do it the right way, best not do it at all. Like Jon says, it won’t work anyway. Time is precious, and any of it wasted is a great loss.

  24. Jon

    This is the most refreshing article that I’ve read in a while. I hate sifting through crap keyword searches.

    - Samir

  25. Gabriel Gheorghiu Aug 26, 2010 at 10:38 am

    This is an interesting post, but i don’t agree with the following statement: “Social Media Isn’t about Getting. It’s about Giving.”

    It is about both – don’t tell me that you’re writing blog posts, tweeting and posting things on Facebook just because someone might find them and enjoy!

    And when you use social media for business, even non-profit organizations expect to give and get something.

    In almost everything we do in our professional and personal lives, we give but we also expect to get something in return.

    It is not for me to decide either this is good or bad, but we should not deny that it’s a fact.

  26. Derek Overbey Aug 27, 2010 at 8:55 am

    Awesome post Jon. I try to teach this every day but others in the business get more ears when they tell them it’s easy to “get” people with social media. I’m glad you said what you did and I just shared with my audience. I hope they really listen.

  27. Timothy Sykes Aug 28, 2010 at 3:42 am

    Shhhhhh, we need these scumbags to exist, especially in the stock market…because they’re predictable…don’t entice smarter people to get in the game, we love sleazy marketers yeah!!!

    • Totally right Tim. Out of colleges more than ever we came desiring not to invent “social efficient products and services” but rather invent get rich quick schemes – forget about consequences. Not preaching the good old days – but the fabric of our existence. In my opinion 50% of the products and services on the market should not exist! They are pumped by false marketing and advertising who push people at length to acquire things they don’t need just to keep up with the Johnes. This is done through email spam, door to door sales, telemarketing which has now changed scope/name, tv, radio, and All other forms of advertising. What we really need and is useful to our lives get’s pushed towards the bottom or is clowded by all this STUFF pushed down our throats by these “ones who are doing the right things”. I am a rather optimist at nature – but I am sick and tired of this sharade, and feel that I am lonely in seeing this carcas move along and everybody smiling and participating – mesmerized by thoughts and false promisses. The results = higher anti depresants, divorces, murders – because people live false and unreal lives. Their products and services cannot replace a human touch, a real smile, a good word, better communication and understanding among ourselves, forgiveness, love and other REAL feelings which we really need – not more products and services which puts us in banks debt or tied to an unhappy job, and other unfortunate circumstances. There is hope – or else I seclude myself away or move out of the country seeking some real people and real thoughts and real feelings! Sadly the flower power movement has failed.

  28. As a startup, we have relied so heavily on social media and are finally starting to see the relationships really pay off for us. Our consumers are loyal and honest and although we dont have 100,000 Facebook fans, the ones we do are there for us day or night! Thank you so much for a real, candid approach, I will share around the sphere. Mindee Doney
    Little Busy Bodies, Inc (Boogie Wipes/Achooz)

  29. Bravo! A great rant filled with exactly what we marketers need to receive & apply. Thanks!
    -Rodney

  30. While I do applaud the initiative I have to sadly say “Wake up” from the matrix we are living! The entire country is in denial. Half the people out there are vampires sucking off the other half. Let me tell you a simple example which when multiplied by the whole IT IS NOT PRETTY. At this present moment Lens Crafters has a sale of 50% off their lenses. I shopped around the same lens they quoted me for $389 or 50% off and found the same price in many other places. I say – where is the 50% off?? It is nothing but a concocted ploy by some marketing “perhaps the ones quoted in this article as “the ones who are doing the things the right way”. The banks are sucking us dry, the healthcare is kept inefficient and pricey, the cars are build in a crappy way to sustain profits, the insurance industry is a whole huge scam (while a percentage is useful) with prices everywhere and no standards – The name of the game is “if you can then do it” and in the end if you get caught, you pay the penalties and still make a hefty profit!, etc, etc, etc.

    Everywhere you look there are scams after scams after scams – the bigger the company, corporation or the bank the bigger the scam – exception is that they are doing it legal with legislation helping them out (pharma and FDA calling everything diseases then only drugs are allowed to cure disease and knock vitamin C off the shelf if gives someone the impression that it might help with the cold which will pretty soon be called a disease. They’ve done it with Acid Reflux and since I’ve taken a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar each time I had an issue for the past 3 years I cured the problem. I now have very, very seldom any cases of acid reflux while a doctor had me sleep with the bed 10% inclined for one month (once) and wanted to constantly put me on the purple pill!! This is a small example.

    THE WHOLE ENCILADA is a scam. Money, money, money, money – and then you come with an article about what these people might do with social media. Please!!!! Slap my wrist but let me make a million and even if the algorithm changes afterwards and cannot make another 100 million afterwards – hey I made one! And that is enough for me! That is the attitude of EVERYONE – and if you don’t see it – then wake up! As such this article might be another piece of content helpful to sell or get people’s attention towards some other product or service while doing absolutely nothing to anyone and anybody as a whole! The problem is that others in this world are catching up economically – then you’ll see us being the number one! Olympics – we are nr2, education…, automobiles someplace, airplanes neck in neck with others, space still there but not for long, military – oh yeaaaa.. We are good there.

    Healthcare.. Which healthcare? – I need to fix my teeth for 10 years and could not afford it. and more and more. all of this lying and cheating and false marketing and advertising and taking advantage of others in the name of business – will once have to stop! America won the WWII and Cold War – and sharpened its ax and used it to the world but first on its own citizens – we are guinea pigs of all this nonsense world of PROFIT! aaaaaaahhhh

    • One phrase sums everything what America has become “the deliberate withholding of social efficiency” on the inside and on the world stage! We put the man on the moon in 1969. That’s 41 years ago people! what is wrong with the picture of our lives today? That our might is weighted in the stuff we purchase but don’t need? Our inefficient homes, and suburbs and energy uses in hummers and vaulted ceilings…? Do you realize that you pay maintaining expenses and electrical expenses and cleaning expenses and TAXES for rooms in your house you only need for when someone comes over? because we cannot transform our living realm in a dual way night/day to sustain our natural way of life therefore using half the space to live into? OK there is privacy – but what for – when someone is single or a couple? and more and more and more.. but that is another subject all together.. Social Media is just the next other way these already used tactics and methods will find their way into our lives….

  31. SenseiMattKlein Sep 05, 2010 at 1:18 am

    This is a superb post. I’m finding out that, yes social media marketing is hard work like you say Jon. But luckily it is enjoyable as you are engaging with people in their online communities. You must provide something of value, even if it is nothing other than your attention.

  32. Nice article! It’s nice to see that the concept of good old hard work isn’t lost. Providing value for the purpose of…providing value! What a concept!

  33. Well said and thank you for posting this!

    But you know, there has to be a shared responsibility for this type of behavior. This crass form of marketing is a learned process, taught by some who’ve made tons of money selling info products on how to do this.

    If those who teach this stuff would stop, we’d have less newbies trying to get an easy buck, and we’d all have a better environment to build trust and credibility.

  34. Probably said it a lot better than any of us could have. Thanks for putting it out there. Now lets see what kind of action it will illicit.

  35. Lori Randall Stradtman Sep 10, 2010 at 8:06 am

    I’m not normally a religious person, but PREACH IT!!! :D

    Thanks so much for blowing the whistle so eloquently on a sleazy practice that makes me more bashful about marketing than I need to be because I’m terrified of being grouped with their ilk.

    Desperation is the key theme for Spamalots, I think. People can smell it and it reeks.

    Great post!!

  36. very nice… it’s a fine line between love and hate when you mention marketing and social media in the same breath… love what you are saying and yes hate what some think might work and push out. Forget it if your intent is to get. Pretty awesome points mentioned here… give. thank you.

  37. I don’t write a social media blog but I was very tempted to start one recently just for ranting purposes. I loathe the Twitter followers who follow you for 3 days and then unfollow you. I subscribe to Qwitter so can see this immediately. It’s not just the get rich quick people because I don’t ever follow them, it’s people who I actually think might be worth following and I supported their cause/blog/site/business UNTIL they so callously unfollowed me to bump up their follower ratio. It’s all about relationships and trust and they broke mine. I wonder who advises these Twitter users (one was the CEO of a charity that I support). Thanks for letting me rant on your rant!

  38. Excellent article and needs all to be said and often!
    Thanks!

  39. Excellent article Jon, its worth reading and thinking and analyzing what so ever everybody is doing now a days on social media is that the right way. completely agree with the points you mention in the article.. its a kind of eye opener especially for those who just take social Media as a way to get solely traffic..

  40. Great great article! A must read for anyone looking get & give value online :)

  41. Steven A. Lowe Oct 24, 2010 at 5:34 pm

    Spot on, Jon!

    People who are boring on Twitter get tuned out. The quickest way to be boring is to post nothing useful, instead just be a stream of me! me! me! and buy! buy! buy!

    The funniest examples of these are the get-1000s-of-twitter-followers scammers. I’ve received a ton of DMs claiming things like ‘proven system to get thousands of followers overnight!’ – from accounts that have NO followers, or less than ten followers. Epic. Fail.

    “Annoying” doesn’t begin to cover these (alleged) people; “clueless” is too generous. “Pollution” is too passive. “Parasites” is closer to the mark. [I think of them as "no-see-ums".]

    “How Not to be a Twitter Parasite” would be an appropriate follow-up…though I doubt the guilty parties would read it!

  42. Nice post! Gratifying, too, as I’ve just recently started thinking about actual marketing for my blog. I’m glad to see that my priorities are in-line with your description of success vs. abuse. If people buy things I eventually advertise, I want it to be because it’s useful and relevant. I definitely don’t want huge clutter and flashing ads. Have already decided to avoid one of the options that some of my fellow bloggers have implemented for these reasons. I am honestly glad it’s working for them (I assume it is, since many are doing it), but it feels a bit shallow to me. *shrug* I’ll learn more as time goes on.

    Thanks for the post! :)

  43. I cannot stress how everything you mean in this blog is utterly on the spot. Marketers are simply too lazy to do their job properly nowadays, let alone ethical.

    I’m curious though. What do you guys think about the Old Spice campaign? I honestly thought that they really nailed it to the bone. What they gave to the consumers are almost entirely masked in the name of pure entertainment, or at least that’s what I felt. It’s brilliant.

    Oh and, thanks for the post. It’s a good one!

    • I think the old spice campaign, like everyone else probably thought, was brilliant. The other smart move they made was calling it quits before it would have automatically fade out.

  44. great article – thanks. you know, what really struck me about this is that all of these points wholly apply to seo, too. you want to show up in search engines? get people to link to you – real people – and make them want to by having good content! there’s no secret – it’s just applying the same principles of good business to a new medium. anyway, thanks!

    • Exactly! It really is as simple as that. It’s too bad that people would rather spin around in circles and then later discover that if they just played it right from the get go, they would achieve better and stronger results. Sometimes it’s necessary for people to make their mistakes.

  45. This is an excellent post, mainly because it is so relevant to the real issues faced by marketers attempting to launch and manage successful content marketing programs. I personally have found that executive buy-in is extremely important if not THE most important element, because once you secure that, the resources organizational become more available to carry-out the rest. Without it, you can only hope to limp along.

    • Yeah I know what you mean. If they had a bit more control over their focus, it would be much easier to product stronger results.

  46. This is great, Jon. You’re right, a lot of people have been popping up in social media spamming links for homes, products and other annoying stuff.

    I go to social media for conversations, to read and learn something new.

    Don’t be the spammy, soulless marketer. Be a person who cares about relationships.

  47. Wow, incredible blog layout! How long have you been blogging for? you make blogging look easy. The overall look of your website is magnificent, let alone the content!. Thanks For Your article about An Open Letter to Marketers Who Abuse Social Media for Selfish Gain .

  48. Bridget Willard Apr 16, 2012 at 3:57 pm

    I can’t believe I’ve never read this before. I tweeted it and linked to it in one of my blog posts.

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