the AMWAY of Facebook

I’m going to stop using the phrase “Don’t drink the Kool-Aid” (Flavor-Aid, actually) and I’m replacing it with “Don’t post about Zija on your Wall”.

Maybe it’s just the prism that I view Facebook through, but apparently the folks up higher on the Zija pyramid tell their underlings to use Facebook as the primary marketing tool to expand the cult.

These days, everytime I open Facebook it’s like that time someone tried to proposition me in a hotel (!)

If you want to use Facebook to sell / promote something, use a page. It’s OK to use your profile to point your friends to the page (a few times). Let those who are interested opt-in.

someone tried to proposition me in a hotel lobby

Last week, I was in Chicago speaking to a group. The hotel had an afternoon social time that I stopped at one afternoon to grab a snack. While I was sitting there, a young guy came in and started talking to me. He said he was from the area and had an appointment with someone staying at the hotel.

He was unusually chatty and a little cheesy in our conversation. But he was a young guy and I figured he was awkwardly trying to “network”. He said he had his own business and wanted to know what I did. I explained I was there to speak to the group. He said he might have a need for sales/business speaker in his new business. I gave him a card, said goodbye, and went to my room to crash.

A few days later, I get a call from the guy. He wants to know if I’m keeping my options open for “business opportunities”. And he goes into a pitch about his “system”.

It then dawns on me that the dude cruises business hotel lobbies to pick up leads. He has now taken the title of “most pathetic schemer” from the guy who tried to do the same thing to me in an aisle at Staples a few years ago.

I broke into his pitch and tried to politely tell him I wasn’t interested. He responded testily – “Does that mean you don’t want to keep your options open?”

I told him my options are pretty much closed. And I hung up.

But I wish I had stayed on the phone a bit longer and told him some simple truths:

  • The reason that my “options” are closed is that I’ve already been through that stage of life without getting sucked in. I’m now (much?) older and wiser. When I was in college and immediately afterwards, I wasted several hours going to “job interviews” that turned out to be MLM schemes like Primerica or worse.
    (Advice to the marketing kids — never respond to a job listing that refers to “sports marketing” or sports-minded marketing”)
  • If you’re hanging out in office supply stores or hotel lobbies trying to bottomfeed, you really need to reexamine your sales strategy. (and reexamine your life)
  • If you have to trick people into a meeting, you’re probably selling crap.

I’ve said it before. Sure, stuff like this works in the short term. But for long term success (in sales, marketing, or whatever), you HAVE to have honest conversations and relationships with your targets.

At least the Egyptian ones were useful

So here’s the deal…I have posted my speaking demo/commercial both on Google Video and on You Tube thinking that the viral nature of the beast might result in a speaking gig somehere….or at the very least, a visit to my website.

Imagine my delight and thoughts of how the viral system works when I get a call yesterday morning…
“Saw your video on YouTube and I thought we might be able to work together”

We spoke for about 15 minutes…He seemed impressed with my credentials…He said his organization needed help with “marketing”. I asked for information about his business so I could send him a speaking proposal. He said he would send me an email with the info and a link to his website.

I get the email today.

Pyramid Scheme.

Apparently, my future lies in the world of “speaking” to people to get them to “market” the health-giving juice of this tropical plant.

Now, there are scams all over the internet. There always has been. We should all be able to retire on the Nigerian money by now.

Here’s the lesson for marketers and anyone involved in trying to make an honest buck on the internet:: As we head into this new OPEN world of “web2.0”, beware.

The innovators and early adopters who had compuserve email accounts in the early 90’s thought that email was world-changing. And it was. However, by the time the majority of people had email accounts, spam had taken hold. It made it less useful and has almost ruined the original vision.

The spammers and schemers followed us into email and they’re now following us into blogs, wikis, viral video, etc….faster than they did into email. By the time the majority of people catch up to web2.0, will the original vision we’re talking about today be distorted by the crap? Will it be as useful as we’re building it to be?