More Phone Book, Less Facebook

TelephoneYesterday, I did something that would be nearly unthinkable for someone who is involved in the profession of marketing – I removed all of my Facebook friends, with the exception of five people.

Those five people are my wife, daughter, my wife’s parents, wife’s brother, and sister-in-law – -only so I may tag them in photos, that they may share with their friends.

I took time today to call some of the people I “unfriended,” to let them know that we are still friends in real life.

More calls will follow this week.

It was my strong belief in social engagement, which caused me to “unfriend” so many people.

Social media is a powerful tool for branding – for personal branding, as well as for increasing business brand awareness.

In fact, I help several businesses (small, medium, and very large)with their social media communications – I refuse to use the word “campaign” in regard to social media.

If done well, social media serves as a platform of engagement. Engagement never ends, while a campaign does have a “shelf life.”

Unfortunately, I do not see as many businesses engaging as properly as they should. Instead, I see many instances where Facebook is used as a virtual “bulletin board,” lacking any sort of luster, and capturing little interest.

So if that is the case, why would I “unfriend” my friends?

Here is part of my personal Facebook experience, in a nutshell:
– Most of my friends I knew well, but some not well at all. Those whom I know, I can call.
– I am able to see some of my friends when I step outside my door. I can visit with them anytime.
– Each month I come in contact with some of my friends. If we need more time, we can grab coffee.
– Some of my friends live in other states, or countries. We can call each other, or visit via Skype.
– Then of course, there are the friends that sent me Facebook emails, asking me to call them. Really??

The last experience mentioned happened to me yesterday, and served as the “last straw.”

In other words, we may contact each other anytime we choose. Friendship is much more than a digital experience.

So what am I giving up, by scaling back my Facebook contacts?
– The chance to see tons of political content – some of which is beyond absurd.
– The ability to see the same joke, shared without any sort of comment whatsoever.
– Comments from some people (not my friends), who find very few positives, in ANY situation.
– And of course, there are the braggarts.

I will miss seeing the family photos, however. I suppose that means I will need to visit others more.

As a marketing consultant, I am fully aware that social media is only part of a solid integrated approach to selling.

Yes, I did say selling. The number one job of marketing is to increase sales, not just exposure.

Just as social media is important, each action the member of an organization takes is also part of the marketing effort.

So how does this apply to our personal lives?

Very simply, many of us have forgotten how to apply a solid integrated approach in dealing with our true friends.

We post, and read. Take a photo, and post. See a photo, and “like” it.

The importance of true dialog often seems lost.

If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why a handwritten thank you note, or phone call seems to be so extraordinary these days.

I intend to remain very engaged with the people I have yet to call close friends, across the various social media platforms. You can easily find me on LinkedIn, Twitter, Google +, and of course on this blog.

As I become closer with others, they either make it to my email address book, Skype account, or my mobile phone.

I’ve always believed in treating those persons in my life that are special, as if they truly are special.

If everyone is truly the same, nobody is truly special.

That is why I will be placing a heavier emphasis on the phone book, with a lesser emphasis on my personal Facebook account – yes, if you are reading this post from a link on the FlexMarketing Solutions Facebook page, there truly is some irony.

I plan to make a much more concerted effort to live a little less “on the cloud,” and a lot more “in the flesh.”

After all is said and done, it is the personal interactions that truly have meaning – in business, as well as in our personal lives.

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