The 14 Annoying Marketers To Avoid In Social Media

Social media is a scary place. There are so many things lurking to make marketing on social media difficult for a small business owner. It’s hard to decide which tools to use, which strategies will be the most effective, and which sites will offer you the biggest return for your investment. But the scariest thing of all has nothing to do with any of that. What makes social media so frightening are the marketers who live there. Because they can be, well, annoying.

Incredibly, incredibly annoying.

To help you navigate the waters a bit better, here are fourteen types of marketers to avoid. Trust me; you’ll recognize them when you see them.

1. The Social Media Guru Ninja Rockstar

annoying twitter typesThis guy is everywhere. His job description says he’s a Social Media Guru Ninja Rockstar, but not even he can tell you what that means. All you know is that he seems to spend his entire day updating his Facebook, ‘Liking’ brands we’ve all heard of and livetweeting how many cups of coffee he’s had today. Though he thinks he should be listed up there in the Twitter Hall Of Fame (aka the unemployment line) with @aplusk, he has a whopping 49 followers. While we’re all for quality over quantity, don’t declare yourself a Jedi when you’re still just a Padawan.

Avoid for his likelihood of giving you an STD – a Social(media) Transmitted Disease.

2. The Horrific Speller/Grammar Felon

He views the informal tone and friendliness of social media as an excuse to leave proper spelling and punctuation at the log in page. While we’ve all shortened a word or two on Twitter, his marketing messages seem to be missing letters, punctuation and even verbs for pure sport. Instead of creating engaging marketing content, he rattles on about what his company is doing ‘on the Internetz’, all ‘his lolz’ and his branding ‘nomz nomz nomz’. You have no idea what he’s saying or what his company does, and you get the distinct feeling that he doesn’t either.

Avoid for turning social media messages into undecipherable jigsaw puzzles.

3. The Loud Self-Promoter

This guy puts the “me” in social media. He views every interaction as a means to talk about himself and what he has going on. He only IMs you to brag about what he’s working on and if you try to have a real conversation with him, he’ll drop you the BizSugar link for his latest content piece and then go radio silent. If social media was, indeed, the cocktail party everyone says it is, he’d be the guy who follows you into the bathroom to tell you what he had for dinner, his summer vacation plans, and the book deal he just knows he’s about to get.

Avoid for his lack of social skills.

4. The Auto-DMer

Make the mistake of following him on Twitter and you’ll get an immediate auto-DM telling you how he can help you earn $1 billion dollars on the Internet by the end of the day. He knows that auto-DMing is bad practice. We all know. But he doesn’t care. Spamming is way easier than talking to people and he doesn’t have time for all those relationship things anyway. He has eBooks to hawk! His social media role model is @guykawasaki.

Avoid for the likelihood he may actually be a robot.

5. The Guy Who Follows 100,000 People

You want to follow this guy because, with 90,000 followers, it looks like he knows what he’s doing. But he doesn’t. He got those 90,000 followers by playing a numbers game and following 100,000. He’s not earning followers by creating value; he simply follows any-old-Joe and hopes they have low enough self esteem to follow him back. That’s his social media strategy – numbers.  He doesn’t even see what people are tweeting because it’s lost in a constantly moving stream. There’s no value, trust, or integrity in that.

Avoid for not being discerning. Who knows what this cat will bring in?

6. The Guy With Chris Brogan Syndrome

chris brogan syndromeAn off-shoot of The Guy Who Followers 100,000 People, this guy follows more people than he has pores in his body, not to inflate numbers, but to avoid being considered “mean”. He thinks practicing Puppy and Rainbow Social Media will earn him a following like @ChrisBrogan – only he doesn’t have the smarts or networking prowess of Chris. He’s just afraid to have critics. He never unfollows or denies a friend request, and he’d never dream of using a Twitter List and excluding anyone. His Twitter account is using him, not the other way around.

Avoid for lack of distinguishable back bone.

7. The Social Media RSS Feed

Why use social media to build relationships and be human when you can use it as Yet Another RSS Feed? This person has it set up so their Twitter, LinkedIn, and Facebook accounts are all automatically updated with new blog content – and only new blog content. There are no personal updates to balance out the constant stream of spam you’re being hit with because he’s not actually there. He set the account to cruise control while he sits on a beach somewhere. Or, more accurately, on a couch. In his mother’s basement. In yesterday’s sweats. There’s zero interaction, face or pulse here; just automated garbage.

Avoid for not actually existing.

8. The Guy Who Makes You Friend His Clients

You love this guy. He’s constantly spamming you (and everyone else on his contact list) with never-ending pushes to like/friend/fan/vote for his client’s content. It doesn’t matter if you like it, if it’s relevant or if it even deserves the push, it’s the only card he has in his pocket so he uses it. He uses it so often that you’ve taken to defriending him and swearing it’s a social media glitch. I mean, we all know how unreliable those social networks can be, right? Sure. Let’s go with that.

Avoid for totally missing the point in social media.

9. Celebrities & Musicians

Yes, they’re marketers. And why are you following them? @taylorswift13 is not going to answer your tweets. She may, however, seek a restraining order if you don’t stop messaging her about signing your arm.

Avoid for being totally out of your league.

10. The Habitual Retweeter

This guy was once told that retweeting valuable content was a good way to be useful and to get on the radar of Important Social Media Influencers. Unfortunately, that’s all he does – retweet the smart words of @tamar, @jonathanfields and @AmberCadabra. He doesn’t share anything about himself, what he’s passionate about, or give you any other information to help you learn about him. As a result, he tends to blend in with all the other also-rans tweeting the same content pieces and you fear you wouldn’t recognize him if you tripped over him.

Avoid for not bringing anything new to the table.

11. The Clinger

He scares you a bit by sending a Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, Naymz, and a LinkedIn request simultaneously even though he’s never had a conversation with you. He may read your blog or even follow you on Twitter and, to him, that makes you Best Friends Forever And Ever. Unfortunately, you like to actually know people before you social media marry them. His excitement to add you on every social network Knowem currently tracks freaks you out just a bit. While connecting is nice, giving someone room to breathe and decide if you’re relevant to them is better.

Avoid for fear he secretly has a stash of your hair. And that he eats it.

12. The Social Media Complainer

Oh my word, what did this guy do before the advent of Twitter? He logs into his Facebook account each morning to complain about how slow his commute was; he tweets about how he was charged 50 cents for an extra container of sour cream; and he’s completely unimpressed with the world, his job and everyone around him. Worse yet, he feels the need to tell you about it all day long. I mean, what good is being eternally disappointed if you have no one to share it with?

Avoid for putting a rain cloud in your day.

13. Mr. No Social Skills

He’s the marketing intern for A Major Brand and absolutely hates his job, his boss and dealing with people in general. To deal with his distaste for mankind, he spends his days in social media being rude, ignoring questions, and often, calling customers’ liars.  While his lack of social skills can sometimes be fun to watch (who doesn’t like watching a fire burn?), he’s out there creating the kind of public relations nightmare only Tiger Woods could dream up. Spend too much time watching him and it may start to rub off.

Avoid for blatant anger issues.

14. The Guy With No Opinion

This marketer attempts to make friends by having absolutely no independent thought. You like roller skating? He does too! You thought Avatar was the greatest movie of all-time? He does too! Of course, he’s never actually seen Avatar but that doesn’t matter. He hopes that if you focus on how much you have in common, you won’t realize that his business has no POD or core values. Or that his ‘authentic’ social media strategy is based on smoke and mirrors and being whoever you want him to be.

Avoid for probably being really popular in high school.

Those are the fourteen most annoying social media personalities I’ve come across in my travels. Which marketers make your own skin crawl? I know you have some.

42 Responses to “The 14 Annoying Marketers To Avoid In Social Media”


  1. Nick Mattern says:

    Whatever Lisa, I’ll keep messaging Taylor until she marries me, just you wait, it’ll happen…

  2. Lisa Barone says:

    You keep that dream alive, Nick. When you need bail money, send me a tweet. I’ll see how much I can raise for you. ;)

  3. Shawn says:

    Ha! Lisa, I think I know every one of these guys. Ouch! And some hit a bit too close to home. Thank God, we don’t have any of them on BizSugar!

  4. Lisa Barone says:

    Shawn: Definitely. I love the community on BizSugar. High signal, very little noise. :)

  5. Jake LaCaze says:

    Awesome post, I’m trying to think if you left anyone out.

  6. 1 through 14 each fail to show original opinion and thought. #14 just steals half from everyone else.

    Fun list.

  7. Lisa Barone says:

    Anthony: Okay, any you’d care to throw into the pile? Give it!

  8. chris goulet says:

    Likes This, RT, Blanket friend request from all my accounts to everyone in the comments here. I like top 14 lists too! I hate how top 10 list are never good enough. Funni stuffs r cool.

    comment source twitterfeed

  9. I meant those kind of personalities fail in their original thought, not the list entries. I’m sorry I wasn’t clear.

    I wasn’t bashing the list. I was trying to say that a big problem with each of these people, the underlying cause of their annoyance, is that they aren’t saying anything worth hearing.

    The list is cool. Sorry for my misplaced brevity.

  10. Tom Jelneck says:

    I loved this, I found you on Twitter and can especially relate to the “Clinger” or Social Stalker. I hate it when I get random requests in my Facebook account from complete strangers because they saw my name on Twitter, etc.

  11. Lisa Barone says:

    Anthony: Ah, gotcha. :) I agree with you. I think people just don’t know what to do or how to be on social media so they copy everyone else around them…which sort of ruins the whole thing in the process.

    Tom: Ha, social stalker! The random requests are definitely odd, and they’re even MORE odd when you got the request for every social media network you belong to all at the same time. Thanks for the comment. :)

  12. I’m glad I checked back to read the rest of the comments.

    Most people have trouble thinking of original things to say in anything they do. Talent is a little rare, but everyone has some. Unfortunately, these people waste our time mimicking or regurgitating others’ talents.

  13. Well, I must admit to a few of these things hitting a little close to home. Hopefully I learn and don’t keep repeating past transgressions. :-) LOL

    Also, I disagree about Guy Kawasaki. I actually think Guy does a lot right with Twitter. There are far worse role models…. What do you all think?

  14. Lisa Barone says:

    Anita: There are def WORSE role models, but I’m not sure that’s enough of an endorsement. ;) I think where a lot of people take issue with Guy is how heavily his accounts are automated, which, IMO, takes the “social” out of them. He’s said in the past he uses Twitter “as a weapon” and that’s the vibe I definitely get from him on social media. It leaves a bad taste in my mouth.

    I’d love to hear how others perceive Guy’s twittering, though!

  15. Guy Kawasaki has more of an aggregator style. He filters the headlines. If a particular audience finds that aggregation valuable, great. He can automate away, and his followers won’t care. But no, if you’re looking for an actual conversation, he’s not going to be your type.

  16. Matt says:

    Lisa,

    I have to agree a great list, while at the same time admitting some of these definitely hit close too home. I follow Guy, and while you can tell it is more of an automated process then most he does post interesting links. The only problem I have with this list is if you eliminate doing all this things, it doesn’t seem to leave room for too much else, or maybe I am just missing something.

  17. i like the “social media guru” with 63 tweets who clearly doesn’t have the slightest clue of what social media is all about. and then there’s the person who doesn’t reply to anything even though she clearly is NOT a celebrity. the two often come in the same package. oh, and then there’s the guy/gal with so much precious knowledge that all they want from you is to ask them questions so that they can let the world know what great experts they are.

    all of this is why despite 3 years on twitter i still don’t follow 1,984,128 people. i look at each and every one of the people who follow me to decide whether they are a good match. fortunately, the rest tend to fall off quickly.

  18. anonymous coward says:

    I would add that of the twitterati are nothing more than smores (social media whores per Guy K). And I must say I respect that Lisa dared to even mention any by name (however softly). Alyssa_Milano, aplusk, zappos (fine, I think Tony is a self-promoting loser who hasn’t said anything new. . .shoot me), scobelizer, tferriss, garyvee would all be selling me a ponzi scheme or a hoover vacuum. They are selling us all something. . .themselves. Eventually they cash that value in. . .selling a movie, a company or a book about how “did it all”. So bravo Lisa for at least opening the dialogue. No one else has the backbone. . .myself included.

  19. Bryan G says:

    Type #15 “To Cool for School” Web Rockstar- They may have been leading innovators for Web 2.0 but it’s really just made them lazy and a bit tiring. Recent, Tweets include the following:
    1. They may have 1 million followers but they lecture you that your measly 40 followers need to emphasis quality over quantity.
    2. They Tweet about how they no longer dev for IE6.
    3. Platitudes replace wisdom.
    4. They are flatly condescending.

    Okay better stop there before I become persona #12..;)

  20. Anshul Gupta says:

    I got the link of this post through the tweets of Guy!!!

  21. Ben Atkin says:

    I was about to call you out for ranting about a specific person, before I read that you complimented Chris Brogan! After noticing it, I read the full article. Well said! Funnily enough, I don’t really know who Chris Brogan is, but #5 describes me better than any other.

  22. Ben Atkin says:

    Oops. Make that #6. And I think another category exists: The Guy With No Filter. I’ve been that way (as is evident by me posting the last comment, I haven’t been checking my tweets for correctness before posting), but I know people who are a lot worse.

  23. Lisa, your list is absolutely reflective of my learning curve when first joining the world of tweets. You have nailed it! I hope you do a second list about all those delightful tweet friends who do such things as leave me tweet notes by the coffee pot such as @Artythings (to accommodate different time zones)and the friends who come by special for a chat like @Ithili and @wholzy , and the ones that comment regularly on my blog because they are interested in the same things like the-one-and-only @jshawback , and the ones who make me laugh when I thought I really needed a good cry such as @cookitaly . With time and care I now have the brightest and most fascinating pebbles to my tweet stream. If you are interested in creativity in a big way or women’s leadership, feel free to pluck a pebble or two for your own stream:)

  24. Eric says:

    Funny, but remember – Don’t Hate the Player – Hate the Game!

  25. Sarah Lee says:

    Great list Lisa! Think I’ve come across nearly every one of those you mention.
    I think the trouble with social media is that people forget that the clue to it is in the name – it’s supposed to be social! You wouldn’t go to a party and try to sell your business as an opening gambit to the first person you meet, so why do it online?
    The best social media interaction is natural and unforced.
    Glad to have found BizSugar – looks a good site!

  26. Emeline says:

    I do agree that it’s boring to read complaints and everyday life matters (or mispelt texts) but i guess these people use their blogs for more private use. But in that case, what’s the point inviting so many followers if there’s nothing professional written on their blogs ? Adding videos or valuable articles to others can be good, if it’s appearing relevant to them or to the business (tips) but i agree that one needs to add its own content to create interaction.

  27. louise says:

    I’m just trying to work out which one applies me. Think it could be number nine. Gulp.

  28. Sabine says:

    Love that list, and have come across the stalker-type several times. I just ignore such requests.
    Shame that GuyKawasaki is automating his account(s). He has some very interesting/funny links and I would love to give comments back, but as he most likely wont read them, it’s a bit pointless ?

  29. Katie says:

    Ha! Love this. We all know these guys, and hopefully they aren’t us.

  30. Antonia says:

    Loved this article. It was really funny albeit sadly true. I’ve got an auto DM for new followers but does that make me an Auto DMer? Hmm…

    Here’s another one to add to the list: The Blind Retweeter who retweets links that others are retweeting or tweeting without even reading them. I hate clicking on links that are pages with useless content – something that no half decent marketer would think about retweeting.

  31. Kevin says:

    Lisa,

    I enjoyed the list. As far as Guy is concerned, I don’t have a problem with his auto-posting whatevers. I would rather find something useful or interesting from his automated posts (like your piece on BizSugar) than hear ANYTHING from Ashton Kutcher or any other celeb who is on Twitter.

  32. Annoying Retweeter says:

    BTW-Check out your favorite website traffic analyzer and alltop.com. As annoying as automating, etc. may be, apparently it works. 10% of alltop’s traffic comes from twitter. 800K uniques in Mar, doubled from Mar 2009. (Compete.com is the one I used).

  33. You could try to send a tweet message to @GuysReplies and see what happens.

  34. Tracy says:

    I know ALL of these people. In fact, we were just discussing them after our South Florida Interactive Board Meeting last night. I think we could put a local name next to every category on this list. Thanks for sharing. Hopefully this public service will save others from the same fate

  35. Samson Media says:

    Good list. I especially found your Guy Kawasaki comment interesting. We followed each other about 3 months ago and all I got was a blizzard of automated tweets. He even had a barrage of “what I’m eating for lunch now” -type tweets and I was like, “where’s the value in that?” So I chided him for his empty remarks and to his credit, he actually responded by saying, in essence, “if you don’t like my tweets, don’t follow me?” I took that advice to heart and my twitter stream is better for it, I think.

  36. Great list. I wonder how many people don’t see some of themselves in at least a few of these behaviors. My ears pricked up at the RSS item. I don’t mind people who use their Twitter accounts as an RSS feed; in fact I follow a number of accounts for that very reason. My Twitter is my best source of information, both for professional reasons and just to keep up with what’s going on in this crazy ol’ world.

  37. Sheer Zed says:

    Thank you, great article Lisa and yep, I’m in there. As a musician I do my utmost best to not annoy, piss off or spam people. I’m not famous, a celebrity or for that matter making big (or small) bucks like Amanda Palmer on Twitter selling ‘Friday Night Freaks’ t-shirts. I run my own digital label and work with a small handful of folks who are my friends. As the great actor James Stewart once said; “Be careful how you treat folks on the way up, cause sure as hell you’ll meet them on the way down.” It’s good never treat your audience as customers, but always as partners.

  38. Lisa,

    Very funny article! But like the social media thing some of the points were confusing to me. But only some, I have already run into a lot of your examples.

  39. JP says:

    This is hilarious and well thought out. Admittedly I’m guilty of falling into a couple of bad habits from this list every now and then but what a great reminder of that – you reference the ‘human’ side of things a couple of times and very apt. I reckon just about every tweeter out there must have a few habits from this list!

  40. Mary says:

    I’m not a marketer or a blogger, but I do have an interest in marketing as a result of my MBA coursework. I am also new to Twitter. I follow people out of curiosity, or because they’ve said things I found clever. Tweeting is a recreational activity for me, and, I suspect, for a lot of other folks. Some tolerance might come in handy. Peace!

  41. Bo Nicklos says:

    Louisville KY Luxury Real Estate Our opinions could possibly have modified, but not the reality Now i’m appropriate.

  42. Martin says:

    Awesome article, we all know those people in social media. It’s amazing how far actually paying attention to people gets you as opposed to automating everything to always have a constant stream of “fresh” content.

    This made me laugh – While we’re all for quality over quantity, don’t declare yourself a Jedi when you’re still just a Padawan.

    Avoid for his likelihood of giving you an STD – a Social(media) Transmitted Disease.

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