A Rant About Social Media Marketing By A Social Media Marketer

I recently started a conversation on two of my “local” LinkedIn groups about what type of networking people are actually doing. (The metropolitan area group has over 1,200 group members, the state area group has over 3,600 members.) I had no hidden agenda, wasn’t trying to push my services on anyone or tout an upcoming seminar. I posed some questions to those in the group (and then made an attempt to answer them myself to get the conversation rolling. Here is what I asked:

What type of networking are you actually doing? Are you a member of a business group (Chamber, BNI, etc.) and do you actually attend functions, and if so, how often? Do you tend to only talk to people you already know at these functions or do you introduce yourself, etc.? Do you only network online? What do you expect to get out of your networking efforts?

In the two weeks since I posted, I have gotten no response in the smaller group and responses from five members of the larger group. I’ve been pleased with that response considering what LinkedIn has turned into of late. Which leads me to my rant…

One of the responding posts ended with “See what can happen when you ask for a discussion?” That got me to thinking – probably a little too much because I ended up thinking about what social networking is supposed to be versus what it has become. Here is a bit of one of my replies after the “see what can happen” reply:

Yes, I do see what happens when I ask for a discussion…I got a discussion, which is what I was looking for. … I have gotten SO SICK of seeing all the “spam” and marketing crap on the groups here on LinkedIn that I wanted an ACTUAL discussion.

LinkedIn was supposed to be a “professional” social network to share ideas and make connections, but it’s gotten so clogged up with people using it like an RSS feed for their blog posts, Twitter updates, & Facebook posts that it’s anything BUT professional. I was VERY glad to see Twitter/LinkedIn cut ties, but you can still “cross post” using tools like HootSuite & others. Groups used to be the place on LinkedIn where you could go to do some actual sharing of knowledge and ideas without getting hit by a barrage of sales posts, webinar notifications, and article postings, but the usefulness of the groups has long since gone. LinkedIn tried to create separate places for “promotions” and job postings, but the vast majority of users still post their job listings & upcoming classes for this that or the other right in the discussion area. So, I’m sure there are multitudes of others like me who no longer get the same enjoyment out of LinkedIn they used to.

Social networks are no longer for “networking”. As soon as one starts to get even slightly popular the marketers start coming out of the woodwork and trying to figure out how to “leverage” it to market to to their customers. (They have already started trying to take over Pinterest.) I realize this might sound strange from someone who DOES social media marketing. Honestly, I’m starting to re-think that side of my business because I’m getting so disgusted with how others are abusing it. Used properly, social media CAN help with your business marketing, but way too many people just jump on the bandwagon without understanding it and end up using it improperly, which just leaves most consumers completely frustrated with the constant stream of “fluff” information. It’s like going to a cocktail party and ending up in line at the bar with the annoying person who won’t shut up about their product or service and won’t let you get a word in edgewise to ask a question or say what line of business you are in. You might smile & nod, but you really don’t want to be there, you’d much rather be standing with the group of people over by the fireplace who are having an actual conversation about something they are all interested in.

Are you getting fed up with social media? I would love to hear your thoughts.

Speak Your Mind

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