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An Open Letter to a Facebook SPAMer

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Nobu Hata

Nobu Hata

By Nobu Hata

It’s amazing how far one SPAMer or MLMer can get just by friending a couple people on Facebook.  We Facebook users glance at friend invites blindly accepting those with one or two commonalities, notably a common friend.

There was someone on my friends list who I will call “Kevin.”

Dear Kevin,

We’re “friends” right? – And for that I commend you.  It was an annoyance once realized, I hid your posts, ignored your request for me to join your group.  I chose to keep you around to study your use of social media mostly to be sure that it was the wrong way to do it.  That’s what “friends” are for, right?

But you hit up my wife on FB Kevin, asking how she was affiliated with “Minnesota Real Estate” just because she had become a fan of a real estate page of my peers.  Then I found you had managed to befriend an actual friend of mine by scooping him up from my personal fan page.  (He has no idea who you are, thought you were a friend of mine!)  I fear that you’re doing that to EVERYONE on these pages and that isn’t acceptable to me, nor any of the folks running these pages.

You see, the term “friend” is loosely used nowadays with the widespread use of social media, but just because we have a couple common “friends” doesn’t mean they’re any “friend” of yours.  What you did, trolling real estate fan pages and reaching out for some semblance of commonality with fellow “fans” in an effort to convert them to leads for your real estate scheme, is akin to SPAM.  And using other practitioners’ legitimate, organically grown fan pages and pilfering their fans as a vehicle for your prospecting without permission is just plain wrong.

So in an effort to steer you back on track, I’ve got some pointers:

Keep in mind that you’re not allowed to sell any thing or services on personal pages, check out Facebook’s policy on personal pages for yourself.  Start yourself a fan page to legitimately sell your real estate pyramid scheme.  Drive people there through Twitter.

As you’re trolling Facebook looking for – ahem – prospects, please feel free to use other incorrectly used personal pages as a tool.  You know which pages I mean: those with the posed-mug-shot as an avatar with the term “Real Estate guru” being used in every other sentence.  Those guys will, most likely, have the same social media business practice as you do – ta da! – commonality.

Once you find a page to pilfer, do the decent thing and ask the page’s owner for permission to do so.  Permission-based sales extends to other sales people too you know.  How novel.  Take my fan page for instance: If asked, I would’ve told you to take a long walk off a short pier before I’d ever let you or anyone solicit any of my fans, clients, or in this case family.  Most practitioners would agree.  You were able to wrangle an actual real-life friend of mine thinking you and I were real-life friends, that’ll end today.

As you find a prospect, take 5 minutes to read their wall.  Believe me, those willing to accept your sales approach will say so in the information provided there.  Take another 5 minutes to take it in, listening, as it were.  That’s what you do in social media.  If what they “say” doesn’t jive with your approach, don’t friend that person.

Really, I would ask that you drastically rethink what you’re doing.  I don’t want you and I to get involved in any potentially sticky representation issues.  Plus practices like this are the reason why many see social media and sales is akin to SPAM and sales, so please stop ruining this for those of us trying to do the former, ok?  I would ask you over for a beer to chat about this, but I don’t think we’re that close.  Right?


Nobu Hata is a sales associate for Edina Realty in Minneapolis,  and a founding member of the Minneapolis YPN group, the YoPros.  Visit his Web site at www.nobuhata.com.

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