People on social media: same as that guy from Nigeria?

It has now become an old joke in the internet community about the guy from Nigeria offering big money to unsuspecting internet users. In Lagos and other cities in Nigeria they call this 419 and are not referring to an area code in Ohio. This is the section in your law that refers to this type of scam.

The saddest part is that there are still some people who open this email, believe it and send their bank account numbers to these crooks in the hope that the money will reach them because they are a good person who can be trusted.

Most of us have realized that you don’t even want to respond to these ads as they only create havoc. You are better off ignoring and exercising your God-given right, sanctioned by Thomas Jefferson, to use that wonderful delete key on your keyboard.

However, I am seeing similar behavior on social networking sites. Only this time, instead of asking for your bank account number, they want to take your precious time, maybe some money, and a lot of effort that you have to put into building your own business relationships.

I recently spoke with a friend about a mutual connection we had here in the city. I’ll call this connection Arnold (not his real name). It seems Arnold is regularly trying to connect on social media with everyone he knows, befriend them (boy have we desecrated that word!) and link up with them on all the social media sites. My friend commented that she had the same experience with Arnold as the pushy salesman who tries to impose himself on everyone. Arnold has developed a reputation for taking advantage of social media (both online and offline) and simply promoting his stuff to others.

Arnold! We have work to do and we really don’t care about you if you don’t show you care about us!

See, Arnold never takes the time to find out what the other person is up to. He is not interested in showing concern for them. He is only interested in selling his things. This is what others have said and his reputation continues to suffer. I’m sure you’ve put on a few Arnolds along your own journey.

The principles of relationship marketing require that you begin a relationship by genuinely caring and paying attention to the needs of others. When someone is only interested in getting thousands and thousands of followers or friends through anonymous people, that is not a high-level relationship. It’s a way to start a relationship and it’s perfectly legitimate like reading a blog or watching the YouTube channel of someone you admire. You start a relationship at that level and then build from there.

The key is to focus on how you can help and provide value. I’m sure the Arnolds of the world have good products. Hey, I admire your tenacity too. They just need to do it the right way. That means getting to know someone as a person before you insist they come over to your house and see all you’re doing with your stuff.


Focus on the needs of others and how you can help them. Build quality business relationships by being authentic and genuinely concerned about others. Then, when we see complementary needs and can help each other, we will be happy and delighted to do business with true friends (in the time-honored sense of that word).

Find something specifically where you can help them build their business. That is one of the best ways to cultivate and nurture a genuine relationship. This is the key to lasting value-for-value relationships.

Successful relationship marketing is a process. You can’t rush. It takes time, money, and effort to cultivate the best relationships. Just like in farming, you plant the seeds, nurture the crops, and help them grow. You can’t rush. Become more of a relationship farmer and you will enjoy a bountiful harvest.

Doing this will help the Arnolds of the world avoid the reputation of being the social media version of that Nigerian guy with the $35M (guess you have to capitalize on him for effect, huh?).

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