Stop Social Media Hopping Now to Save Your Business Later

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Social Media: Paradise or prison?

Are you social media hopping? Have you been on Friendster 5 years ago, on MySpace 3 years ago, on Facebook for a year or more and already planning to move on to Diaspora? Have you left Digg and tried Propeller to end up on Mixx where more or less 10 people read your submissions? Did you try Pownce and Friendfeed just to end up on Twitter but already consider moving on to Foursquare?

I’ve been there, done that. Maybe not exactly as described above but in very similar ways. I truly believed in these social media sites. I developed my networks, submitted quality content, I was friendly to everybody who deserved it and I fought spammers, trolls and racists who mess up social networks.

No matter how much time and effort I invested I have been disappointed in the end.

Most social media sites end up nowhere.

Either the community moves on by itself because of the next big thing, the site dies by itself or gets sold to someone who more or less kills it. What’s very common as well is that you get evicted out of your community. Or the community gets so ugly that you prefer to leave or you fight back and then you get banned for fighting back.

I left Mixx because of racism. I left StumbleUpon because of content theft and I left Hacker News because of my disagreeable opinions. Each of the social media sites have silenced me in one way or other. Mixx banned me for two weeks after I talked back at a racist. I was flagged at StumbleUpon by trolls and content thieves alike.

On Hacker News I have been called “idiotic” because I dared to criticize banks on a page populated by die hard capitalists. Then I cited the TOS which says don’t say “idiotic” and my account was set to invisible. I was a very prolific “power user” on all these sites before that. That didn’t help though.

This post is not meant to complain or whine. Also I have already written about the Mixx and StumbleUpon fiascos in greater detail. My short intermezzo at Hacker News was not even worth a post. In most cases I was a suspected criminal from day one because I admitted to do SEO or rather I wrote about SEO.

I’m now on Twitter and Sphinn mainly plus on Google Buzz, LinkedIn and Facebook halfheartedly.

I could easily become a Google Buzz, LinkedIn or Facebook pro with the right amount of time and effort. By now I’m an social media skeptic though.

Most social media sites turn ugly sooner or later. Facebook and LinkedIn already are in a way. They sell your private data to others or your social network back to you. You have to be there but you always need to remember that both sites are already useful as channels leading back to your website and business. Social medai sites do not make sense as a long time investment or time, effort and money. Sooner or later, or rather sooner they all deteriorate and you have to build up your network from scratch elsewhere.

You need to take control back and network with people directly.

Cut out the middleman. You don’t need to friend your mother on Facebook to know what she’s up to. You can call her. It takes less time. You have to invest the time and effort into your won website and business.

there are many ways to do that. You can set up an email list of subscribers and broadcast newsletters to them. This is very SEO 1.0 but it works when you use the correct tools. Most people suggest Aweber. That’s not my style though. You can use CRM tools but there are dozens of them and they don’t seem to have standards. For instance you can’t use Salesforce plugins for other CRM tools and vice versa.

CRM is very SEO 2.0 but I have checked so many CRM tools by now and I don’t like and trust any one of them to invest my time and effort. Also most of them cost money on a regular basis so you’re depend like on social media sites but you have to pay as well and you’re still locked in more or less.

The answer is much simpler: Most people who are freelancing one man shows like I am should simply keep address books and add not only email addresses there but also the website and blog URLs, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn names/URLs and so on. Your open source Thunderbird email client offers an address book with an “other” tab. There you can add 4 custom fields and notes (see screen shot above).

That’s your best best bet for your personal social network. That’s the best CRM tool. It’s open source, simple to use, easy to backup and move. That’s better than social media hopping. It can save your business when once a again a social site turns ugly, bans you and tries to sell your content, relations or data back to you or to others. Think Ning, think Facebook, heck, even Geocities. All you effort goes down the drain.

Many people have often suggested that SEO 2.0 is just another word for social media marketing. Well it isn’t. SEO 2.0 is still there even without social media.

SEO 2.0 is not about social media. It’s about being social.

It’s about the relationships not the tools. The most important thing when it comes to SEO 2.0 tools is that they don’t interfere with your socializing like social media sites do.

So stop social media hopping and now to save your business later. From now on I will add you to my own personal open source social network on Thunderbird. I will add your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Sphinn user names and I will be happy. Maybe I will even notify you about being added to my own social site on my computer. I won’t send you newsletters and such. I’m here for the long term relationships not the quick buck.

In 10 years from now most of the hot social sites will be obsolete but I will have the best relationships around as I will follow you no matter where you go. I will always stay here though.