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Why Social Media will NEVER Work for You

January 7th, 2009

Posted by to Online Marketing
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Because social media doesn’t “work.”

You work IT. Or, you don’t. It’s a choice.

Every time I speak, inevitably someone will assert: “I have been on Facebook and Tweeter (Twitter) for a while but it hasn’t gotten me any business.”

And I have to think, “it” hasn’t gotten you business. What does “it” have to do with anything? “It” serves 150 million people (the number of users Facebook reached today), and you expect it to focus on you?

Frankly I am a little tired of people expecting social media to work. It doesn’t. You DO! You have the ability to connect with 150 million people on Facebook ALONE. What do you do with this ability?

Think of Facebook and Twitter and Linked-In as coffee shops. Just coffee shops teeming with people and no limitation on physical space. Oh ya, you have to bring your own coffee. No big deal. Everyday people come to this coffee shop to do their thing (write notes, relax, connect with others). They DON’T come there to listen to sales pitches, but they ARE opening to learning new things and making new friends.

If you came to this coffee shop everyday and left each day saying the coffe shop doesn’t get me business, what are you really saying?

So, perhaps a MUCH better question is: How do I WORK social media? And how do I work it correctly?

I am working on answering this, not as a blog post, but as a book. Keep your eyes open.

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  • Great point! You get out of the sites what you put into them.

  • Absolutely! Like everything in life, you get back what you put in. For some reason, though, a lot of folk seem to think the web’s a magic bullet…

    Great idea for a book – if you’re looking for collaborators, pls count me in!

  • I guarantee that I’ll be using this quote in the future. The coffee shop analogy is brilliant.

  • I love this article. Websites are like tools, if there are not used correctly, you won’t get the results you are lookimg for.

  • Hi Shama,

    I hear ya on this one. Many small business owners look for reasons why their businesses aren’t successful. Blaming your web site, Twitter, Facebook or something else in marketing is easier than facing the fact that you may be the reason your business is not successful.

  • This is so true! I spend several hours a day, off and on, bouncing between facebook and twitter. I’m doing this to build relationships and network, and this is what will bring me new business. But just like any relationship, it takes time and effort. Nobody I know of will keep putting time into a friendship, if the other person isn’t giving the same, and social media is much the same. It takes time and effort, but it is worth it in the end.

  • Amazing how many people don’t want to work. Relationships build over time. You need to be patient and give value to have anyone want to listen to you online. I try to give nuggets of learning or real experience so people can get to know me, my perspective and add in an action item or suggestion for them to take. Commit to being interested in people and you will become more interesting and magnetic. You’re connections will grow exponentially if you focus on them and not you.

  • Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are just tools. I think people forget that Social Media is just combination of being “social” and through new “media” channels. Most people discover that focusing on communication and relationship building instead of pushing product sales have more success and find more opportunities than they anticipated. Engage, interact and build trust. People have to stop barging into the coffee shop shouting their infomercial and handing out flyers. Some people will never understand.

  • To be honest I saw your picture on another site and just wanted to say your very pretty.
    As far as marketing and all that I’m make alot of money from affiliate sales and keep it real. I don’t buy alot of that guru stuff check their stats I say;)
    Anyway when you ready to invade San Antonio look me up :) I’m married don’t worry :)
    Excellent work on the main site and blog and I see them all eventually
    Peace[Stumbled
    PS I stopped idolizing Social media people especially ones that don’t even answer their emails. I have meet some well known people and guess what we’re all the same :)

  • Absolutely! Thanks for saying what so many of us are thinking.

    ShellyB
    TheRatRaceRebel

  • People don’t think the Web is a Magic Bullett, they just Want it to Be. This is the same thread that runs through all of Life. People want a Magic Pill to lose weight, they Know they need to change their lifestyle, but instead want the Pill. The Lottery comes to Mind. People buy business opportunity after business opportunity, hoping and praying a few clicks will bring them Millions. Great message here, much appreciated!

  • Great point. Manage your calendar or it will manage you. Control your temper or it will control you.

    I look forward to the book!

  • Great article. This is so true in so many ways. I think people get wrapped up in the social media hype and their main focus becomes monetizing something or gaining business, but I believe your focus should be on building relationships with people. Without this, there is no future business. We seem to be losing the fundamental business building blocks, which is sad. The same rules apply whether you’re on facebook and twitter or at a conference. You need to take the time to build those relationships first and show the other person you have something to offer and you’re not just looking for the next gig.

  • Shama–
    You’re so right. I’m going to send clients to this post to prove to them it’s not magic! You still have to work at it!

  • A very helpful kick in the butt. Thanks! :)

  • “…Oh ya, you have to bring your own coffee. No big deal.”

    Great analogy and to take it further the ‘cream & sugar’ for your coffee (or tea) is the value other social networkers bring to the table. That’s the value-add that effective social media mavens use to establish authority, build trust and create relationships; some of which will turn into opportunity and revenue.

  • Wonderful posting. Too many people believe that if they just start “playing” around in social networks, they will have a sudden increase in their business. No! We need to work it.

    I love your analogy of a BYO coffee shop!

    Let’s not waste our time in social networks, lets make our time there work for us.

    Donna

  • I agree with the other respondents – the analogy of the coffee shop works very well. It explains the social media scene in a way that businesses and non-profits may understand. In a way, their lack of understanding is similar to what many feel about a website – “we need a website NOW!” and then believe that’s that – no updates required. And also, with economic conditions being what they are, many are not interested in long-term solutions but quick and more tradtionally-measurable results.

  • What a facinating article. I’m looking for a marketing expert to help with a project, could you help?

  • Yes, it takes years to get people to be convinced that you are worthy of their attention. Not days…….

    You have to tweet all day long and blog/facebook all night long and more, and see if people are willing to part their dimes to buy your eBook….

    Nothing is easy, that especially goes to the social networking toil….

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