The Downside Of Social Media And The 5 Ways To Avoid It

Mortgage and Lending with Lawrence Bland International

As you probably already know, social media has quickly become a gold mine for the individual marketer empowering us to connect with potentially over a billion people around the world which has also created some major issues for you and all that are using or plan to use social media to make money online. At the root of these issues are the ever growing number of major corporations that are using social media to advertise and market their products, services and marketing messages and is exposing the ‘dark side’ of social media.

More and more consumers believe that new blogs or videos posted online are real if they “look real” and therefore are expected to be used to communicate more authentically with them. As the social media industry continues to grow it has also become more and more lucrative for the major corporations to use as a “trust builder” targeting consumers emotions that are in many cases connected to their wallets.

Social media is quickly becoming a cover up for unfair marketing or advertising practices and out of this has emerged a ‘dark side’ which is often referred to as the Mr. Hyde Side of Social Media. Of course misleading ads and hyped up offers is nothing new to you, but the recent complaints about authenticity in social media marketing has created a potential pitfall for the everyday “Joe The Plumber” that simply wants to share their services and products.

Although this debate has been brewing for years now, it has recently led to a situation where most consumers are becoming confused and can’t seem to distinguish between “hype” and what is actually real. Learning that their built in radar honed over a lifetime of seeing (and ignoring) interruption marketing messages is now inadequate. Consumers are being mislead more and more these days and the seemingly authentic message has turned out to be nothing but more publicity stunts.

Consumers have lost confidence in their ability to determine what’s real and what’s not and as a result are losing their ability to connect with real value verses another publicity stunt. No wonder everyone’s guards are up. Consumers’ radars are peaked and they are on the lookout for anything that has even a hint of non authenticity.

For example consumers seem to be on the lookout for blogs and social media networking sites sponsored by major corporations and their savvy but sneaky marketing techniques. When you step back and take a bird’s eye view of all the commotion and risks, some everyday people and social media marketers might decide that is is safer and smarter to avoid doing anything with social media altogether. Needless to say.. this could be a major mistake!

Despite the misuse of social media for marketing purposes, there is still more than enough room for you and your message for a chance for one to communicate with an authentic dialogue with friends, prospects and of course customers. This could be your chance to level the playing field by connecting directly with each individual prospect and customer offering a not so new idea of being yourself and through this connection offering feedback, advice, tips, training and ultimate producs and services which has value in your market niche.

You have the power and advantage of putting a human voice as your media message while corporations will continue to be faceless and impersonal. In other words… social media is still the number one way to build a large audience and your income simultaneously and the benefits are well worth the effort. You’re now probably asking yourself “How in the world can I personally make an impact using social media when it’s already racing at a pace of 100 miles-a-minute and avoid fate of the major corporations such as Dell and Walmart others?”

How do you teach and share with your prospects and customers using personal media in a way that engages people rather than offering them some garbage offer that only adds to the challenge? Below are five lessons that may help in avoiding the dark side of personal media, and finding success within all the madness of the media:

1. Be as transparent as you can. (I can't be more clear here)

2. Don’t be afraid to “admit” you are marketing. (This goes back to honesty is the best policy)

3. Recognize the nay sayers, and assume they will attempt to discredit you. (There will always be "haters", don't let them bring you down to their level)

4. Make sure you have supporters that will fight for you.  (this will happen over time)

5. Watch, listen, participate and be responsive. (Don't just sit on the fence, participate)

Thanks for reading my Blog.

Lawrence Bland

Comments (8)

Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!


Looks like you're realtively new to AR.  Welcome.

If I may.  In order to get people to read more of my posts, I use a few formatting and writing techniques that invite readers into my posts.

For one, I use white-space.  Break up the monolithic block of text into bite-sized paragraphs.  Then I'll add a graphic or picutre or two, some charts, videos, etc.  Make the post appealing. 

I was interested in your title, good.

However, when I opened the post and was hit with the great wall of China, I must confess, I didn't read it through.  I skimmed it trying to pick out the main points.  

In social media, getting people to read your posts is half the battle.  The other is getting them to act on them. 


Nov 03, 2009 03:42 PM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

Hi Lawrence!  OH, so true!  I have to say that keeping my clients involved in my social media site has been wonderful--their fingers are on the pulse of the real estate market FAR more than they've ever been!

I'm with Mike--add some white space--and a couple of graphics or a photo or two to keep your readers' interest.  You write such wonderful posts--make them eye-appealing and you've got a winner every time!

Nov 03, 2009 03:56 PM
John Thomas
E3 Green HOMES - Boulder, CO
EcoBroker, MSEE, MBA

Good points Lawrence...I would add to keep any marketing message in context of the value perception of the reader. It will generally be much more welcome than a 'push' approach.

Nov 03, 2009 04:19 PM
Gerry Michaels
Glasswork Media Arts - Gettysburg, PA
GettysburgGerry Social Meida

Lawrence, good post, good post, i agree with what you saying, I also agree with Debe and Mike, put some white space in their to break the content up. Thanks

Nov 03, 2009 10:04 PM
Eileen Burns
Trans State Commercial RE Ft. Lauderdale/Miami/Palm Beach - Fort Lauderdale, FL
FL Probate Agent, Hotel & Land Specialist

Hi Lawrence

With millions of people on these sites daily, the ones who stay are looking for content.  One must be offering value.  When you build your followers, they will support you only if you continue to offer value.

I wouldn't spend too much time giving credence to the naysayers...there are so many out there, it would be a waste of your valuable time.  As far as your "supporters fighting for you", I personally find this language negative and would not be using it in any of my posts.  People want to follow cheerful, happy people, otherwise they wouldnt be on your site.  You can unfriend someone and remove them should they overstep boundaries.

We can't control the evolution of this movement.  We can, however, manage our own space within it.  We all have different types of marketing techniques.  When the mindset is right, you attract who you are looking to surround yourself with on a daily basis.  We all have choices.

Nov 03, 2009 11:32 PM
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!


Ok, I went back and read it through. 

Your 5 points at the bottom are good tips on how to approach SM. 

Now I have a couple of questions:

" . . . is often reffered to as the Mr. Hyde Side of Social Media." Have any references on this?

Secondly, what recent complaints about SM are you referring to?  Who's complaining?  Where are they complaining?  I know the FTC issued new guidelines on blogging that are draconian and that impact everyone with their new made up rules addressing "problems" that really aren't.

You talk about authenticity and being personal while the corporations remain impersonal.  Instead of making generic allegations, cite actual people, sources, examples.  That would help to be more engaging.

Nov 04, 2009 12:08 AM
Lawrence Bland
Lawrence Bland International - Beaumont, TX

Mike - Not too new at it, but thanks for the added advice, there are a few more white spaces. As far as the references to the Mr. Hyde Side" I would rather not post them in a public forum for obvious legal reasons. As far as the complaints go, you can google them. You can also google the the portion about authenticity in social marketing in relation to personal vs corporations.

Debbie - Thanks :-) White spaces added. :-)

John - Good point. Thanks for your input.

Gerry - I'm really getting it on those white spaces.. thanks.

Eileen - Thanks for your input. I totally agree, we ahve to continually offer value, value, and then some more value. Especially in the economy and market we all live in. It's not like it was 2, 3 or even as liitle as 5 years ago. Also, I guess the language of "supporters fighting for you" can be taken in more than one context. It's definitely intended in a positive sense. I am a "Cup is always at least half-full rather tha half empty" kind of person. My wife even says I can be a little too positive at times. I am continually amazed at the growth and development of how this movment continues to evolve. Again, thanks, I love your positive attitude. :-)

Nov 05, 2009 06:08 AM
Mick Michaud
Distinctly Texas Lifestyle Properties, LLC Office:682/498-3107 - Granbury, TX
Your Texas Lifestyle is Here!


If people are making public complaints and allegations, then citing them shouldn't be a legal issue.


THANKS for the reformatting.  It helps, alot!



Nov 05, 2009 11:42 AM