Stop Marketing.

Start Engaging.

How to lose friends and tick off people on FaceBook

An open letter to all my friends in the social media consultant/guru game,

Please stop.

You’re steering people the wrong way.

You sell yourself as social media consultants, the ones that can show you the way and then fark it up.

I beg of you to stop.

Go back to teaching Internet marketing from the old days, I could at least ignore you then. I talk to you at conferences, share the stage but I can’t listen to you up there any longer spewing “tips” that hurt people and their relationships.

Here is what I and many, if not most of the world, request of you to stop immediately when teaching “Facebook Strategy”:

Photo by the awesome Racheal McCaig

1. Stop telling people to invite everyone in their contact list to every event, even if it’s local. If you invite me to your 1 hour workshop at the library in New Mexico, and I live in Toronto, it hurts my view of you and questions your geography skills

2. Stop teaching people to create fake events. You know what I’m talking about… it’s the “month long event” that you say people should create, and then they “message” all the “no’s and maybe’s” and “not yet responded” to continue to pump out their message. It makes me feel all unfriendy. (yes, that’s unfriendy)

3. You know that trick of tagging people in articles/pics/videos that they don’t appear in so they come and read it? Stop it. Getting me to think I’m mentioned somewhere just to find out I’m not and you’re just being a selfish bumhole, does not bode well for our future “friend” status on the book of faces.

4. Inviting me to a “loss weight” teleseminar event, where it lists people you’ve invited is like being on a roll call at fat camp. Really? Do I look fat in these jogging pants? I know a lot of people are overweight, but inviting someone to an event to lose that weight, especially when I’m perfectly happy living my life of denial, does not strengthen our relationship.

And while we’re here, can you start teaching your clients:

1. Inviting me to assassinate someone in the temple in Mafia Wars may give off the wrong vibe for your brand… I don’t know about you, but I like to be a sniper in the privacy of my own Xbox, not regular updates on my wall of whose neck I’ve cracked

2. Hundreds of Farmville updates on your wall doesn’t make me think you’ll focus on my needs if I become your client. Especially if you’re positioned as a “busy” person, and your status update says “I have no time!!!” And yet we can read how you just nursed a sickly cat on your farm in FarmVille, well, um, it’s just awkward.

3. Blingee generic mass-sent greeting animated cards make people go nuts. Before turning off and blocking the app, I had 43 posted on my wall. In 4 hours. Nothing says “I thought of you personally” like a mass sent lame greeting self-serving wall post. “Hey Scott, if you don’t like the app, you can just turn it off” Well, I didn’t ask you, but if you insist, that’s like me having to tell people to stop kicking me in the nuts. It should be opt-in, not opt-out.

If you’re going to be in the position of an expert, act like one.

Teach people that really, truly want to know how to do things in social media properly. Show them how to:

1. Connect with people on an authentic, not automated level.

2. Show them that with time and effort, you can meet the greatest people in the world on sites like Twitter, if they only would only invest their time, care and knowledge first.

3. That “success” is subjective, not a number of friends/followers. If by success you mean some of the most incredible relationships you’ve ever had, that once trust is established can also lead to a fruitful business, you can have it within social media.

4. Tell them to treat others like they would like to be treated. That sending repeat invites weekly to your event on Facebook would really really suck if they had 20 people doing it to them every week, and that promoting others is sometimes better than promoting yourself.

5. And warn them, that us, the self-appointed guards of social media are very protective, very persistent and aren’t goin anywhere.

There you have it my fellow social media teachers. I’m sure we’ll get along fine with just these small but meaningful changes.

Love you.

Sincerely,

The entire Internet

(As a special treat, I also made this into a song for you. With apologies to Heart)

UPDATE – Thanks to the awesome @SnipeyHead here is a post on how to get rid of most of this annoying schtuff by using FaceBook Lite