New year, new ambitions. As the affiliate marketing industry continues to mature–implementation of laws and regulations are part of a painful growth process for any emerging industry–so should we. But this could be a broad goal–so a great place to start would be to kill the automator. It’s not doing you any favors. It’s winning you more enemies than potential business partners. It’s getting you unfollowed quickly on Twitter or defriended immediately on Facebook. So stop it.

In B2B communication, too many people have begun turning a deaf ear to the “social” part of social media. Social media in the B2B world isn’t meant to finalize the sale. It’s meant to grease the wheels. It’s meant to shorten the sales funnel to hasten the transaction–but it’s not meant to replace the transaction. So all you people who have set up automators to besiege your Twitter followers with impersonal sales pitches: Social media–you’re doing it wrong!

Social media isn’t a one-way conversation; you can’t talk at someone the same way you would through email blasts. Indiscriminately posting the same message across all your Facebook contacts’ walls with the name being changed is very effective…at getting your message ignored quickly.

Think of it more as after-hours mingling. Social media’s a cocktail party. You wouldn’t wander into a cocktail party and immediately spit out your sales pitch. At least one might hope you wouldn’t.

Rather, you’d share personal stories, discuss the news, talk about tech–you’d keep it casual and fun. Like a cocktail party, social media is all about finding the casual and fun. Unless you’re one of the very few influencers in the affiliate marketing world, sharing your current campaign on Facebook isn’t likely going to drive anything but a couple curiosity clicks to the landing page. Still, the chances of those converting remain slimmer.

Another thing to consider: Social media is called so for a reason. It’s social. It’s about engaging with people. Automated tweets and Facebook spam is not only rude but also antithetical to the very nature of those media.

More than that, opportunities that are closed due to overlooked/ignored emails get a new lease on life through Facebook and Twitter, where Likes and comments, tweets and DMs can increase the success rates of pursuing any lead.

So switch off your automator and get social.

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