Much like last week, this is a topic that has gotten a LOT of attention over the past several years. Sadly, people are still getting it wrong. The biggest mistake people still make is forgetting the key word in social media… SOCIAL! Then there is the other end of the spectrum, those people who are overly social, and come across as phony.
Actually, both people are making the same mistake. They both lack significant connection. Their approach is the only difference. One is blatant, posting links in every group they can find, their wall is filled with nothing but promotional links, and sometimes they even post links to the wall of their friends (a good way to lose friends fast). The other acts like they want to be your friend, but the connection is so superficial it hardly warrants the name “friend”. They usually chat you up for a while, then hit you with a pitch. If you don’t bite, they are on to the next person. No time to waste on anyone who cannot directly benefit them. I get that to a certain degree. You can’t spend hours a day talking with people who are not moving forward, but if you want to make real connections, make them. Then, if anything comes of it from a business sense, great. If not, at least you’ve actually made a friend, not just added a number to your social stats.
There are so many areas of social media we could cover it’s insane. Not just a book, but many volumes could be written (and have been) on the subject. For this discussion, I want to focus on the use of Facebook groups. I have been a member of many groups and started several of my own. I have seen some that were highly productive, and others that were a complete waste of server space. Some are filled with useful information while others are nothing but a pit of SPAM.
As an example, let’s look at two of the groups I created a few years ago. The first was an amazing group. The concept was simple, add a link to your latest blog post on the group wall, then other members would share it to their twitter, digg, Facebook and other accounts. You do the same for other members and pretty soon everyone was getting a lot of great social backlinking to their posts. And to sweeten the pot, several members and I managed to set up a system to automate the sharing process. That automation was gaining over 100 backlinks for every item that was posted to the group.
As you would expect, there were people who came along in hopes of taking advantage of this system. They would come into the group, not bother reading the group rules, and throw their spammy links all over the wall. At that point, I had to make a decision. Either I could simply boot these people out, or I could try to redirect them, and in doing so maintain contact with them. Knowing that most people who use such spamming tactics either quit or get wise to it, I wanted to keep in touch with these folks, so I started another group. This group existed for the sole purpose of allowing people to post whatever nonsense they liked to the wall, with a few obvious exceptions (illegal or adult material). Now, I had a way to keep track of these folks and perhaps speak with them again in the future when they figured out that stuff doesn’t work.
Fast forward about 4 years to present day and let’s take a new look at these two groups. The syndication group had some issues. Mainly, once I wasn’t carrying the load by sharing almost every post that came through there, things slowed to a crawl. Then, a couple of sites shutting down destroyed the automation I had in place. A few people still share to this group once in a while, but for the most part, it has dried up almost completely.
Now, for the spammer group. As of this writing, the group currently has 23,576 members and gets close to 100 posts to the group every hour. Between 30-50 new people request to join the group daily. The activity level is astounding, and the main reason I wanted to do this post. So much energy is being wasted, on a daily basis, that I felt this situation seriously needed to be addressed.
Of the more than 23,000 members in this group, at least half are not active at all. The number is likely a lot higher, but let’s say half for argument sake. Of those who are active, almost all follow the same pattern. They show up in the group, usually copy/paste the boilerplate message they have posted to 100 other groups, and they leave. Either that or they have an app that posts to the group for them automating the process. Do you see where I’m going with this? It’s a one way street. Nobody sees any of these promotions because they are all too busy promoting their own things to even bother looking. Oh, and I can’t stomach looking at it either. The most scammy, spammy “Get rich quick” posts are the most prevalent among the group posts.
These SPAM posts are getting nowhere. And Facebook is filled with similar groups who let you post your affiliate links without adding any value to the conversation. Actually, there is no conversation being had there, just people spamming thin air since nobody is actually reading the posts. Although, at least a few people read some of the posts because I’ve had people report posts that violate the terms of the group, primarily adult material. This is appreciative since there is no way I could police the group on my own with the volume of posts going through there.
OK, so we’ve touched on one thing NOT to do on Facebook. I don’t pretend to have all the answers when it comes to marketing on social media. I do know of a few things that absolutely do not work though. Spamming links to multiple Facebook groups, or on other peoples’ walls, will NEVER work. There are still people promoting this madness to this day too. I’ve recently seen another new tool to automate group posting for the purpose of spreading affiliate links. It doesn’t’ look like this trend will end anytime soon. That’s okay though. While these people are spinning their wheels you and I can go make real connections.