Open Letter to the Shameless Social Media Self-Promoter

Dear Shameless Social Media Self-Promoter,

Your Facebook friends, fans and followers are this close to taking their Likes back because you're out of control.

This may come as a surprise to you, but there are some folks who are on Facebook and Twitter to connect with others. We're pontificating, passing memes, engaging about family, life, political views, and the latest celebrity wretchedness to dominate the media spotlight.

For those of us who are selling our products or services on Facebook, we're not selling them all day every day, unlike you, who post your wares on others' timelines and status updates every time you log on.

Even on Throwback Thursdays -- that one day of the week when Facebook friends post and share pictures from their childhood and years gone past -- you, being the Shameless Social Media Self-Promoter that you are, is instead injecting yourself into others' conversations by selling, asking, begging, and posting links about your brand or brand-new whatever.

Who are you, Shameless Social Media Self-Promoter? Do you have a past? Where do you come from? Who are your folks? Or if I may be so candid, why would we want to invest in your dream? Did you know that if you tell us more about you, and not your product, and you may earn yourself a new customer or ten?

To be clear, your shameless self-promotion is at its best when it's a status update about your new job, new relationship or a new direction in life. The Facebook Like Gods just love sunny news, and you will be rewarded.

Your shameless self-promotion isn't going well when you invite us to Like a new fan page that you don't maintain. (Most folks have half-ass pages of their own that they don't maintain. Come on, son!)

Your shameless self-promotion is bad when you crowd-tag people in a photo of your new product. (As a side note, crowd-tagging photos as a publicity tool is just tacky.)

Your shameless self-promotion is worse when you call people out and instruct them to buy your new product or hire your services, and then lash out at them for not doing as they were told.

Here's a tip: If Facebook and Twitter are the only methods that you use to promote your new book, new mix tape, new whatever, just stop. You're doing it all wrong, and you're wearing us out. There are promoters who masterfully use social media to attract customers, and their secret is to be more social online, states Tracy Wright, author of The Ultimate Entrepreneur Marketing Formula. Wright encourages marketers to "post 75% content and 25% advertising."

I am not a publicist, but I do know a few, and they concur that bombarding your Facebook friends with product pitches just isn't the way to go.

"Public Relations is the strategic management of an issue, a brand, a person, a program, a product in an open environment. Public Relations is not on-off activities. It's not a party that you're throwing; it's not a Facebook post or a tweet," advises Jocelyn K. Allen, Director, Regional Grassroots and Diversity Communications at GM. "It's a sustained relationship that a company, a person or a brand has with its audience. Key word is relationship--it is reciprocal based on the mutual benefits and needs of the person sending the message and the person receiving the message."

Outside of social media, the absolute worst thing to do for your brand is throw a launch party that is poorly planned. A party is for family and friends and a corporate event is for clients and networking, and for that reason, your product launch event should never be planned on the fly.

"Developing the story, planning the execution, determining the right people to have in the room, the right audience, and conveying it in a meaningful, genuine way takes a lot of work, a lot of planning and a lot of creativity," says Laine Mungall of Weber Shandwick Public Relations. "People just don't understand the depth of what we do."

No, everyday people just don't understand the depth of what public relations professional do, until we've done everything all wrong and are forced to hire a crisis manager to clean things up.
And for some shameless social media self-promoters, it may be too late.