Skip to content now.

How to Turn Me On Not Off

Feb 28, 2010 / Social Media / Trackback

It used to be, my online social media pres­ence almost all but excluded con­tacts in my IRL true phys­i­cal geo­graphic loca­tion. It wasn’t on pur­pose and I wasn’t hid­ing, I just didn’t find many local peo­ple online that I had much in com­mon with pro­fes­sion­ally. Sure, some of my high school class­mates found me and I belonged to some local LinkedIn groups.

Then, last year I tran­si­tioned to a new job with a sig­nif­i­cantly more vis­i­ble pres­ence in the com­mu­nity. One of the things I do on the job is man­age social media for the orga­ni­za­tion and sev­eral of its projects on Face­book and Twit­ter. Since Face­book hasn’t both­ered to allow for the sep­a­ra­tion of church and state (your per­sonal account is tied to fan pages you cre­ate) one of the side effects of my becom­ing more vir­tu­ally “local” is that I have accepted many local busi­nesses as friends or become their fan. I could ignore them but let’s be hon­est, I’m an open net­worker and really unless you are inor­di­nately weird I’m very open minded and accept your vir­tual friendship.

This blog feeds into Net­worked Blogs on Face­book, and the RSS Feed goes to LinkedIn and most every social media account I have and I will tweet the post too. I’m out­wardly hop­ing it will be read and taken for what it is worth by some of my fol­low­ers who have busi­nesses and have taken mar­ket­ing into their own hands. This is a sin­cere effort on my part to tell them and many oth­ers who are doing their own social media mar­ket­ing that they’re screw­ing it up, they don’t know what they’re doing and they’re doing more bad than good…

They’re turn­ing me off

I have read many pub­lic flog­gings of com­pa­nies — out­right smack downs. But, that’s not my style. So here are two san­i­tized exam­ples of local com­pa­nies turn­ing me off com­pletely and what they could do to try to turn me on. I could con­tact them pri­vately and offer con­sult­ing ser­vices but I’m also a real­ist… it is highly unlikely they would go for it because they think they are doing it right.. Con­sider this pro bono.

Pro­file #1 — Ther­apy Prac­tice (I don’t know what else to call it)

The Face­book Fan Page posts 3rd party arti­cles on why xxx is the key to health. It does not appear to engage mem­bers because there are no com­ments on the wall — at all and there is no steady growth (even slow) of the fan base. The admin­is­tra­tor sends mes­sages to fans about spe­cials, dis­counts and how our health could be opti­mized, and sends me @ tweets stat­ing Hi, Im Dr. XXX local xxx I see u have disc prob­lems. I can Help Call me 000‑0000.

Wait, what did you say????????

Uhhhh.. You have x-ray eyes doc? You don’t know any­thing about my body and you’re are spew­ing “facts” about me that I don’t appre­ci­ate at all. This is a huge no no… you pub­licly stated I have disc prob­lems and you don’t know me from Adam. Yet, a prospec­tive employer could see that and think it is true. Maybe an insur­ance com­pany I am try­ing to buy a pol­icy from is check­ing me out. Maybe I wouldn’t want the PUBLIC to know I have this sup­posed disc prob­lem. Are you think­ing about how you are poten­tially impact­ing me? You would think some­one who must be famil­iar with HIPAA would never think of doing this.. The worst thing is you have not only done this to me you have done it to all of your 23 fol­low­ers in your 227 spammy tweets. Maybe that’s why you have only 23 followers.

My advice for this busi­ness is:

  • Make your Face­book activ­ity inter­ac­tive. Stop pump­ing out bla­tant ads and be social.
  • How about com­ment­ing on some­thing I post or vis­it­ing my blog and let­ting me know what you think? Let me know you actu­ally pay atten­tion to me and are not just look­ing to bill my health care insurance.
  • Ask fans if they have ques­tions and post the answers on the fan page.
  • Try post­ing trivia or his­tory of the dis­ci­pline. Be a per­son, put up some pics of your vaca­tion or some­thing a lit­tle off topic that shows you are a per­son with a per­son­al­ity, have a lit­tle fun!
  • Remem­ber it’s got to be rec­i­p­ro­cal. I was nice enough to become your fan so don’t say some­thing stu­pid like “I see you have xxxx prob­lems”. I don’t think you are psy­chic and it does not make me want to let you touch me.
  • Do not use Twit­ter to tweet the same thing to all 27 fol­low­ers think­ing you’re being swift by per­son­al­iz­ing using my name. I’m smarter than that. I just pulled up your tweets and see you are an assem­bly line tweeter. There are many suc­cess­ful health care providers who post help­ful advice and tips, ask and answer ques­tions and engage their fol­low­ers with great dia­log. They “get” social media and know that engage­ment through soft sell­ing is the best sales tool. They make friends with their fol­low­ers and become the name on the tips of their tongues when it comes to their profession.

Pro­file #2 — Ser­vice Provider

One of the own­ers of this busi­ness mans the social media and is per­va­sively vis­i­ble on Face­book, Twit­ter and LinkedIn.. prob­a­bly other places too. Apart from gen­er­at­ing sin fin vari­eties of never to miss deals you will surely die with­out, this per­son posts com­ments and tweets about argu­ments and prob­lems with the spouse, dis­dain for another job and painfully com­plains about just about every­thing to the point I don’t want to look. Other times there are bliss­ful mes­sages of love and contentment..

My advice for this busi­ness is:

  • Please note that I have heard from other locals that you appear unbal­anced because of the bipo­lar­ish Sybi­lesque incon­sis­tent per­sonal mes­sages you mix with busi­ness. Stop — It’s dis­turb­ing not only to me but oth­ers as well.
  • Do a Google search on your­self and then on your busi­ness. Pre­tend you don’t know your­self and read the search results. Look at the per­sonal and pro­fes­sional brands you have cre­ated. You have mixed the two so much they are vir­tu­ally indis­tin­guish­able. It doesn’t look so good, does it?
  • Think before you post.The worst is when your LinkedIn sta­tus mes­sages are utterly unpro­fes­sional in your expres­sions of anger at the world and feel­ings of being unloved. Ask your­self if you would pay an agency to post the things you post your­self .… or if you would fire them.
  • Do not trash your busi­ness part­ner and spouse as if a crim­i­nal and louse and then expect peo­ple to become a cus­tomer and trust their expen­sive per­sonal pos­ses­sions with you guys..
  • Remem­ber that the words per­sonal and per­son­able have much in common.
  • The ser­vice you pro­vide is a non-essential one as much as you like to pro­mote it to be as impor­tant as the air we breathe. Face it, most peo­ple can only afford DIY. You have a niche ser­vice and it should be mar­keted as such.
  • Iden­tify the pro­file of your cus­tomer and then post things that are inter­est­ing to that demo­graphic. Be engag­ing and tact­ful, witty and charm­ing. Show you have knowledge.
  • In lieu of the blog you don’t have, use Face­book notes to write author­i­ta­tive posts on your area of expertise.
  • Post tips, trivia and advice. It seems to me you would have a lot of sea­sonal advice and reminders to offer that peo­ple would really appreciate.

You can do a good job of social media mar­ket­ing if you use com­mon sense. Think of suc­cess­ful com­pa­nies and com­peti­tors you admire. Study how they use social medial. Don’t copy what they do but emu­late the types of mes­sages they deliver and the image they project. After all, they are suc­cess­ful because they are doing things right.

Just for the heck of it, I’m going to watch to see if these guys get the hint

What are some of the things about social media mar­ket­ing gone wrong that turn you off?

August Cohen
August Cohen

Karla,You've done such a great job of covering this topic I don't have much to add. I often think we are preaching to the choir though, folks who get it, do it right from the start. Others, businesses and individuals who engage in this type of behavior probably won't understand it, or will rationalize why they should keep doing what they want to do. I am going to bookmark this, I have a feeling it will be needed sooner rather than later. SA August@Resume_Writer


Karla-Nice post. I am very selective with both people and local business's I follow in Social media. If I see an abuse of spam, or annoying sales posts. I am not impressed and will unfollow. Companies need to be considerate to their audience and customers. To me it is just like if you receive excellent or poor service, one person will tell ten people,and so on... Because so many small companies may have not ventured into social media, I think they do not have an individual in charge of it. There needs to be a social media manager/coordinator in place at companies. Integrity and reputaion are at stake here. Thanks for starting a great conversation..

Karla Porter
Karla Porter

@ramartijr - Such a great analogy about too many drinks with a used car salesman.. it gets obnoxious and nauseous. Truly it takes finesse and the real understanding of how to appeal to your audience. Thanks for the fantastic comments I hope others will take to heart.


Well said Karla. It turns me off, and I know most people tuned out to people who blatantly sell in social media.. I feel like I am hosting a dinner party watching a guest act like a bad used car salesman with a few to many drinks. You shared some great advice encouraging other to emulate the people and companies they admire. I am enjoying reading case studies ( did I just say that?) of people who do it well. People who connect to others and build relationships. People who listen intently first and recognize when to share possible solutions. I have a "friend" on Facebook that comes from an email marketing background,. She constantly sends me and the rest of her friends, sales promotions of her latest classes. She doesn't know me, never comments on any of my posts or interacts with me. I keep her on my list as a reminder to me that I never want to be like that. Her behavior turns me off. I attempt to model the type of behavior that would be my best self. I am sure I make mistakes. I LOVE it when people tell me so. The people in my life and circle are important to me. I value their opinions whether I agree with them or not. Our socializing online is not different from our relationships and interactions in person.

Karla Porter
Karla Porter

@Resume_Writer SA August, Thanks for adding validation to my coverage of the topic and pledging to help me with this mission. You are of course right, some people won't see the the oasis in the desert. I have replied to a couple of spam tweets with the link today though and at least it made me feel good.

Karla Porter
Karla Porter

@Shennee_Rutt The thing here is that social media has afforded micro and solo entrepreneurs the opportunity to create and execute no-low cost, robust, highly effective marketing campaigns. They do not have the budget for a social media manager/coordinator - that's why they are doing it themselves. But when they turn people off they can cause irreparable damage. Thanks for chiming in!


Perhaps if we share actual case studies, we can inspire others..I do sense a paradigm shift. People are becoming more aware. They sence the power of social media and are trying to get into the conversation, but many apply outdated tools designed for push media. I love the way you provoked discussion by shining the light on what "turns you off" Id enjoy a follow up with what turns you ON! Thank you so much Karla!