With the boom in online social media such as Facebook and Twitter comes the boom in businesses offering to boost companies presence on the internet, aka social media marketing.
But do they? Or are they having the opposite effect and actually turning us off?
I had this debate at 8am on Sunday morning (how sad is my life?) when I saw one of these companies clogging up my timeline with tweets containing lists of Twitter names of companies. They had set a “challenge” for their 17,000 followers to follow ten other people everyday.
I asked why? This, to me, just seems pointless. And it seems I am not alone.
These companies claim that by increasing a company’s followers they are increasing business.
Not true said an awful lot of people. Yes, they were getting more followers, but they had not generated anymore business.
This to me is a marketing fail. What is the point of this if you are not gaining customers? And if it means you are losing a potential audience isnt it actually dangerous?
To me, the whole point of social media is to interact. To learn about companies by them being recommended to me either because I say “Right I need a French polisher” and I am given the name of somebody or because I get chatting to somebody and remember them.
And it seems I am not alone. After writing my blog on Friday about Follow Friday I was inundated with people saying “thank God you have written this, I have been thinking it for ages” / “hate Fridays on Twitter because of this”.
I was bombarded by people on Sunday night saying similar things about various companies doing “Team followback” type stuff. It was relentless and my mentions column was filled with “ahhh T, please blog about this, it is driving me mad”.
Timelines rammed with these companies endlessly listing other people in meaningless Tweets. These companies ReTweeting these Tweets. It was relentless. From 6pm to 10pm Twitter is like the Bronx. Other than my mentions column Twitter is now a no go area on a Sunday night.
There were endless companies with their own # . And not only that, its just boring. Boring to read and so people don’t pay attention to them. They flick past at best. At worst walk away from Twitter completely for the night.
Let me give you two examples.
I had a great conversation with a lovely lady on Sunday who said that she had been one of the people taking part in one of these “follower increaser” exercises. She has a business yet from her Twitter name you wouldn’t necessarily know that. This lady had followed me last week and I have to say I didn’t take much notice (sorry lovely lady) . Her name meant nothing in relation to her business so I didn’t automatically follow her back. Until we started chatting and I thought “I like you”, looked at her profile, clicked on her Facebook profile link and learnt more about her. I now know what her company does and have made that mental note to use her when I need the product she produces. Or when I see somebody else wanting that product. Could I have done that simply by being told to follow her? No.
And that lady freely admits that actually she is now rethinking this strategy.
You will all know of my love and admiration for Kate at Gower Cottage Brownies. Kate is a shining example of how to do your own social media marketing. She interacts, her personality comes through. You feel you know Kate even if you haven’t met her. Kate has a six figure turnover and whilst she does attend foodie events, a large portion of that revenue comes from Twitter customers. You want to recommend her to people because you know her. And I do that regularly. Recently I have bought from Kate just to take to other people, to help promote her in reality as well as on Twitter.
I have been introduced to hoardes of companies on Twitter by recommendation from others, including Kate. And I recommend them on to others. I do all my shopping online and a lot of that money is spent via companies I have met through Twitter.
I don’t think I have ever done that for a company that has taken part in something engineered by a specific marketing company. And from the Direct Messages, emails and Tweets I am not unique. These companies are annoying the pants off an awful lot of people. An awful lot. All of whom are potential customers.
Marketing is not my thing. I don’t profess to being an expert, it is not my industry. However, I do know what makes me buy things. And this does not.
And more importantly it is having the opposite effect and I think that is a shame for these businesses who are being shot in the proverbial foot.
I buy from people not rabbits / ladders / dogs.
What do you think?
Image of social media courtesy of Shutterstock