An Open Letter to Marketers Who Abuse Social Media for Selfish Gain

Okay, show of hands.

Who else is sick and tired of marketers who view social media as nothing more than a source of free traffic?

You know the type.

  • They have dozens of niche blogs, pumping out an endless stream of crap content they pay writers five dollars per post to produce
  • They DM us all kinds of lame affiliate offers on Twitter
  • They have a gang of buddies who help them push inappropriate content to the front pages of Digg, Delicious, and Reddit

No, they’re not going to destroy social media or anything as dramatic as that, but it’s still pretty ugly. These marketers have become like leeches, bleeding people of trust and contributing nothing in return. And it’s time for it to stop.

So, I decided to take a little time off from our usual marketing tips and write a good old-fashioned open letter (a.k.a. rant), telling them how it is. No, I don’t think it’s going to change the minds of any hardened spammers, but it might open the eyes of a few businesses who don’t know any better.

Let’s get started:

Dear Mr. Marketer:

The Social Web is not your “traffic honey hole.”

Yes, we understand you’re just trying to run a business. Yes, we know social media is the biggest marketing opportunity in the history of mankind, and you’re just trying to get your piece of it. Yes, we are aware that social media marketing is endorsed by many top Internet marketers, and they’re making millions off it every day.

But we’d like you to stop, or at least change the way you’re doing it.

We’re not going to give you another self-righteous argument about how you can’t make money with social media. We’re not going to sermonize about the pitfalls of sleazy marketing. We’re not going to tell you you’re ruining opportunities for all of the other marketers out there who are trying to do things the right way.

You’ve probably heard enough of that, and it doesn’t matter anyway.

No, the honest truth is that it’s just a bad business strategy, and eventually you’re going to get burned. Sure, you can make a few quick bucks, but over the long term, trying to manipulate social media to get free traffic for your business just isn’t a sustainable strategy.


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