Are you treating your "friends" like prospects?
I was reading my latest Wired magazine and found an article by Scott Brown, Facebook Friendonomics. He talks about the idea that friending has taken over the roll of the rolodex. He also laments the fact that he's never been un-friended, nor has he ever un-friended anyone because, well what kind of a jerk would actually do that? And, Scott says, "we've lost our right to lose touch."It's a great article, go read it. And then think about what it may mean to you personally.For the sake of a marketing-focused blog post, let's flip this to what I've noticed a lot of lately. Professionals are running around gathering connections on LinkedIn like they're status symbols. And some have begun marketing to them.Okay, I admit it, I get a bit envious when I see people out there with 500+ connections in comparison to my 90-something connections, but then I wonder if those friend mongers actually know all of their connections. [okay, a bit snarky, I apologize]What makes me suspect some of them don't really know each "friend" is the increase in emails from "friends" that have decided to blast messages to all of their connections. I've gotten several of these lately, but not once have they been "me" focused. These messages have pretty much been blasts of self-serving announcements about the senders' webinars, resumes, job searches, products and solutions, trade shows, the best-of-their-blog link lists or other things that are not of much interest to me. They all seem to be geared toward gaining more attention for themselves. Which leads me to wonder if all this friending is akin to putting yourself on new market-to-me lists. I mean, what's the protocol when you meet someone in person and they give you their business card? Depending on the context of that meeting, you'd file them away to call when something of mutual interest crops up, or to schedule a meeting if such intent were expressed. But, would you run back to the office and add them to your newsletter subscription list and drip marketing campaigns?Don't get me wrong, I like having friends. Lots of them. I'm just trying to figure out why some people think it's appropriate to blast messages to all of us-without regard to our individual interests-you know, like old marketing tactics used to call for. What happened to the respect that "friendship" implied? Scott Brown expressed an idea about having "friends" fade away over time if they've sat dormant for a while. I'm thinking that it might be appropriate to have a widget that allows you to warn connections that send stuff you're not interested in that you're losing that loving feeling as they watch themselves fade away from your connection list or you from theirs. That'd be something of a relevancy wake-up call, now wouldn't it. What I like about having connections is that when I need a resource for a project, or want to keep in touch about something relevant to both of us, or even ask for an introduction to someone they know that I'd like to meet, my online rolodex has a better chance of including up-to-date information than my older version or even my cell phone or PDA. Another thing I use my rolodex for is to ask for industry insights from my "friend's" perspective. By respecting their position and expertise, I've found I can learn a lot about different things. And, all that knowledge helps me create better-focused campaigns for my clients in those industries-sent to people who actually want to hear those messages.I've also met a lot of people that I might not have otherwise met, and am the richer for getting to know them. Plus, if I really like you, I'm probably already following your blog or your tweets.So, the next time you feel that urge to send out a blanket blast to all your "friends" from a social networking community, perhaps it would be wise to ask yourself if you're treating your "friends" like prospects? And then curb your enthusiasm.Link to original post