Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Don't Be a Social Media Mercenary

I'm a fan of seasoned marketer and entrepreneur, Seth Godin. I like how he weaves an inspirational message in between the lines of his articles. Seth wrote an interesting article this week that focused on the dangers of "trading favors" when it comes to social media. This paragraph especially caught my eye:
The problem occurs when the trading of favors become mercenary, when alert individuals start manipulating the system for personal gain. Suddenly, every favor is suspect, measured and not at all generous. Suddenly all the likes and links and blurbs become nothing but currency, not the honest appraisals of people we can trust. It means that bystanders have trouble telling the difference between honest approval and the mere mutual shilling of traded favors. 
He brings up a great point. Social media brings out the "mercenary" in people. Do your followers REALLY like your blog? Are fans just "liking" your page because they want to win an iPad?

For small businesses or anyone who sells a product or service online, take Seth's words to heart. Before you retweet or like, think about your intention BEFORE you click the button. Social media has turned into a popularity contest..."how many likes do you have?" And do 500 likes on your Facebook page really mean anything at the end of the day?

Before you start begging people to like your Facebook page or follow your blog, think about Seth's message of trading favors. Social media is about helping other people, and sharing information without asking anything in return. My advice for 2012: don't be a "mercenary" on your social media networks. Don't go into social media thinking that people owe you a favor, because they don't. An aggressive "me-me" approach won't get you far with your marketing...or your online reputation.


  1. I love this post! I wish I had said it. Actually I have said similar in small bits - explained to begging writers that I don't tweet a book I haven't read or didn't like and that I do not LIKE pages just to increase their numbers. That usually shuts them up. I also don't re-tweet articles I haven't read. I do not like fan pages (for books) when I haven't read the book. It tells MY followers that I approve of this person and their work. I won't sacrifice my integrity. Some people are shameless about it, posting "like my page, and I'll like you back" on group pages. How distateful. I do have a lot of liked pages on my FB, but I support the cause or have read the book or have investigated and approve or am connected to that person or organization in some fashion. And I never ask anyone to follow me or subscribe to me just because I did it for them.

  2. I seek substance over quantity. Hopefully that strategy pays off...

  3. Thanks Karen (and thanks for posting on your blog).

    J.R., substance always pays off so keep on doing what you're doing. As long as you stay consistent with your social media, then you're on the right track.


Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

Content Writing & Marketing Tips ** Online Buzz Branding

** Digital & Social Media Strategies