Social Media Marketing

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


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  • I love you T! Say it as it is, say what we’re all thinking, in order to do well in business (both in reality & on Twitter) is by being someone people would want to deal with/buy from. The Team Follow type thing smacks of desperation and insincerity…it’s all about letting people know who you are and then they find out what you do. Companies which assist each other on Twitter, which we do on a daily basis, are all about the interaction…sorry I could rant on this forever. Good Job T #TeamFollowT 😉

  • What a brilliant article, companies take note 🙂

    I usually avoid those followers increasing exercises and I hate all the followfriday stuff on Twitter, though up until now I have taken part in that so as not to offend anybody. But some of the folk I followed very recently appear to do this type of thing almost every day, clogging up not just my timeline but also my mentions column. It makes Twitter much less fun and I’m very close to unfollowing again. To me this is not what social media is all about, in fact, I find it distinctly unsocial. As are the people who try to make you feel guilty when you don’t follow back. Amusingly, I have been added to somebody’s public blacklist because of that, how sad is that! I don’t think even your Sunday morning debate can beat that 🙂 I am with you all the way!

    Kind regards,
    Sonja aka shadedfaces on Twitter and FB

  • Hello Mummy Barrow,
    You are absolutely right. These follow ladders, follow rabbits and piggy backs ets etc are a nightmare and very time consuming as well as blocking twitter feeds. I have got dragged into the Twitter March #PDchallenge by default and thought I would give it a go to find new tweeps to interact with. Someone included me in a list and before you know it, you’ve joined in and now I see my name has been linked in with several other people and is being used in a negative way. Only people on the #PDchallenge list should be contacted and not random business who don’t want to join in. It can be a good way of making new business contacts , but only if you can be selective with who you want to interact with.

    Janne Ford

  • I’ve been listed in several other people’s #PDchallenge tweets too, even though I have nothing to do with it. It all seems crazy – it’s just a way of increasing followers for the sake of getting bigger numbers, and nothing to do with interacting with existing and potential customers. Lots of little businesses shouting out to other little businesses, instead of shouting out to the people who might actually USE their proiducts and services.
    I’ve been considering placing an advert with a business that I met on Twitter, but seeing dozens and dozens of tweets from them every day about these challenges, ladders, rabbits and buses and almost no tweets actually engaging with people and trying to make them interested in what they do is putting me off. I have afeeling they are channeling their energies in the wrong direction.
    I’ve just realised what it reminds me of. When I was a kid, all those who belonged to a gang would link arms and skip around the playground singing “Who wants to be in our gang?”. If you wanted to join in, you linked arms with the person at the end of the line. But what did the gang ever do? Just went out the next playtime and did the same thing all over again. Nothing more ever came of it.

  • My timeline is getting more interesting now I’m following less people. Every time I see a tweet that looks dull from a name I don’t recognise, I look at their timeline. If its just full of business tweets, FFs etc. I Unfollow. I’ll always flick through their type of tweet so why bother having them on my timeline? The only FFs I take notice of are people who I engage with regularly on twitter. If they like them, then it’s likely I will.
    I have had some business through a hash tag promotion. I met a tweep through it and she’s a repeat customer. However we do chat on twitter so it’s not just a random thing. We were just brought together by the promotion.

  • This is totally true, it does my head in when you have all those tweets clogging up the timeline and blocking the genuinely interesting tweets from being seen. You’ve put it perfectly and I hope companies take note from this post!x