OK, so I’m not exactly what you would call an early adopter. After avoiding the inevitable for a couple of years, I finally signed up for a Facebook account some time in 2008 on the advice of some well-meaning friends (the old-school kind, not the Facebook kind) who suggested it would be good for my then-consulting and freelance business. As they say, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
Now, about five years later, I am happily ensconced in my career as managing editor of Corporate Meetings and Events magazine and have little need for my personal Facebook account. I seldom post anything, mainly due to lack of time, but I do check out the news feed from time to time to see what my admittedly small cadre of Facebook friends (mostly relatives and fellow Toastmasters) are up to.
Although I do not use Facebook much for business anymore, I understand the benefits of being active in all forms of social media when it comes to building a business and staying connected to your industry. In particular, I am now a Twitter fan and follow a number of experts within the meetings industry, many of whom are readers of our publication. By and large, I find Twitter and LinkedIn groups to be two of the best means of staying informed on what’s happening in the meetings industry. But Facebook has lost much of its allure for me and here’s why.
Marketers, especially those who just don’t get the right way to do it on Facebook, are ruining the party for me. As an example, I have a couple of “friends” who are active in the network marketing industry and are definitely passionate about their products and business opportunity. However, their incessant postings about their latest “challenge party” or product success story have motivated me to perform the digitial equivalent of shunning: delisting them from my news feed. Although I haven’t reached the point yet of outright “unfriending” them (seems a little harsh, not to mention grammatically troublesome), I am definitely tired of being subjected to the same old noise about what is so great about their business and products. So I simply decided to turn off the noise.
Now, I should say that these are perfectly nice people who probably do feel an authentic desire to improve the lives of others (or whatever their upline sponsor told them to say). But if they employed the same tactics at, say, a dinner party I was attending, here’s how I envision the conversation going:
Me: Hey, (insert name of Facebook Spammer, i.e. Fred, here) – how have you been?
Fred: Just great! And did you know I had a challenge party where 10 people signed up to lose weight on my company’s fantastic products? You need to try them too!
Me: Why, am I fat?
Fred: No, but, um, well, doesn’t everybody want to lose a few pounds?
Me: Probably, but what happened to eating good food like fruits vegetables and lean protein and working out? I think I’ll stick with that.
Fred: Oh, that’s OK too but my friend Barney lost 25 pounds in one month by drinking our delicious shakes. Don’t you want to know how you can get these products at a discount and make money too?
Me: Not really. Hey, look! Isn’t that guy over there about to put straws up his nose? Gotta go!
Let’s be clear, I am not suggesting that meeting planners are as annoying as this when it comes promoting their business or providing content on Facebook, Twitter or any other type of content marketing. What I am trying to point out is that unless your posts are creating value and providing some sort of useful, credible information that isn’t overtly promoting your own company or services, who are you annoying?
For some great tips and advice on how you can make the most of social media, check out our articles at http://corporatemeetingsnetwork.ca/category/event-operations/social-media-technology/. After all, the last thing you want to do is have your audience or potential clients go off searching for the guy inserting those digital straws up his nose.