There's a lot of buzz lately about “social media.”

People are saying effective participation in sites such as StumbleUpon, Facebook and can lead to increased traffic, more customers and a stronger online reputation for you.

But what if you don't want these things? Here are a few tips guaranteed to help you alienate potential customers, damage your online reputation and annoy community members at any site you join.

  • Join as many social bookmarking sites as you can find. StumbleUpon,, Digg, Mixx, Sphinn, Fetch, Propeller, etc. Once there, invite everyone you can find to “connect.” You probably won't know very many of these people and they probably won't know you. Don't let that hold you back. You're counting on the law of averages. If you invite enough people to connect, eventually at least some of them will connect back, even though they don't know you from Adam's housecat. And you'll need to have a big enough audience to make it worth your while when you start submitting content to these sites. Quantity is the important concept. The quality of these so-called “friendships” is really not a concern, because you're not going to be wasting time with all that “interaction” stuff anyway.

  • Save time and energy when you submit content! Submit the exact same pages, with the exact same description, to all the social bookmarking and social news sites. Cut-and-paste is your friend here. Your time is valuable, there are a ton of these sites, and (if you're doing it right) you're a member of pretty much all of them. There's no point wasting time figuring out what sort of content is appropriate for each site. If the other members at a particular site don't like some of your submissions, that's not your problem. The point is, in order to not like it, they must have seen it to start with. And that's the whole idea — to be seen.

  • Crucial: only submit your own stuff, never anyone else's. Consistency is important, and you don't want to confuse anyone. Besides, your content is more important than theirs, anyway.

  • Submit every blog post, every article, every product page you create. Don't concern yourself with quality — once more, quantity should be your watchword. After all, you never know which specific item will interest people, and you want to make sure they're exposed to as much of your content as possible. It's that “being seen” thing again.

  • Every time you submit new content to social bookmarking sites, IM or email every one you know and ask them to “vote up” your submission. Don't waste time trying to figure out whether the article or post would be of interest to them, or even if they're a member of the particular social bookmarking site you're asking about. Let them sort it out for themselves. They won't mind, even if you end up pitching them several times for the same submission. In fact, they'll probably be flattered you've thought of them. (At least, that's what you can tell yourself.) If anyone complains, they're probably just jealous of how prolific you are.

  • As with the social bookmarking sites above, join every social networking site you can find (Facebook, MySpace, Friendster, Naymz, etc.) and immediately start “friending” everyone you can. Do the same on Twitter. It's that law of averages thing again. Remember, the goal is simply to have as many “friends” as possible. Don't fret over how much time it might take to keep up with all these “friends.” You're not going to actually try to engage any of them in conversation. You simply want to make sure you have a looooong list of people to whom you can forward all your new product announcements, blog posts and other pearls of wisdom. If you automate your site updates properly, you may never need to log in to the networking site at all, except when you want to track down more victims “friends.”

  • Every time you write and post anything, also use Twitter to announce the update. Don't use Twitter for anything else (especially actual conversation) though. You don't want to dilute the impact of your new content announcements. Bonus hint: save time! There are “bots” or blog plugins you can install that will do this automatically for you, so you don't have to spend any time on it, or even log in to Twitter yourself, at all. Everybody knows Twitter is simply a waste of time anyway, so no point in using it in person and risking getting sucked in.

  • Use your “friend” lists on all those networking sites as secondary channels to incessantly pitch your content and beg for votes on the social bookmarking and social news sites. Because, of course, not everyone uses Twitter (yet), email can be unreliable and IM is inefficient (as you can only IM one person at a time — how lame is that?). This way, you can be sure your message will reach all your contacts, no matter what. People will appreciate your thoroughness.

Just follow these few simple steps, and you may never have to worry about the problems of overloading your server with excessive traffic from your social media marketing efforts or having “too many followers” on social networking sites.

May 20, 2008

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haha! what a terrific how NOT to in social media.

These tips are great!! We will be sure to use them when we want our traffic to slow down immensely! Ha - awesome article.

These are really great ideas - of what not to do! Thanks. I think I will pass it on to the entire marketing team of my company - who all joined social media sites including Facebook, Linkedin and Plaxo because we thought it was going to make a difference.

@Sidra - Social marketing can make a difference, if it's done "mindfully," with respect for the communities you're marketing to. (Which, if you think about it, is pretty much the same as any other marketing, really.) Good luck in your marketing efforts!

@jobs - just to make sure it's clear, these are tips of what to NOT do. :)

These are pretty interesting tips..I have to keep in mind not to follow these actions to avoid problem with my social sites.

Very interesting article. It's a bit of a shame you actually couldn't write it yourself and you had to steal content and take the praise.

How very very sad and cheap you are.

I have been reading about social media marketing now for the past 3 or 4 years in all the search marketing blogs and email newsletters.

I am the marketing director for a software company that sells software business to business. We have a long sales cycle two months to up to 21/2 years or more. All of our focus online is online lead generation.

And while we use linkedin, technorati, and that is all I have on our corporate web site. I do have widgets on our blog signatures where you can submit one of our posts or content if it is relevant, I am not out chasing the social media sites.

Quite frankly, it still has yet to prove itself to have any meaning impact on ROI and lead generation (and I doubt it ever will) -- The reason we do it is because its one part of our overall link building strategy.

But that is it.

Hey Diane, don't know how I missed this one, but this is a great post. I love the parody; you did a great job of poking fun while citing good examples and somehow still telling people how to do it the RIGHT way. Very funny.

Very cute blog post. Unfortunately, though, I suspect the real offenders who do all these things wouldn't get the irony if they were to read this blog post.

Great post. There are many people out there who certainly deserve to be heard online but mess it up by using old Web 1.0 promotion tactics. Much needs to be unlearned online so thanks for taking the time to share this with such humor.

@Email Marketing: in my experience, social networking is of relatively little use for link building and better for traffic building -- making it excellent for lead generation. :-)

I haven't found a practical use for these social networking sites in link building or increasing traffic. I think it's a bit useless except to the people who just like using it. I use it all the time out of habit but not out of necessity at all.

bookmarking is very good for seo and visitors point of view.

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