7 Social Media Truths You Can Ignore and Still be Successful

social media how toThere are a lot of social media experts out there—including the ones who claim there’s no such thing as a “social media expert”—and they’re telling us how social media works, how it doesn’t work, and how we all must behave in the social media arena.

Much of this advice is framed as “universal truths” that every business must follow. Unfortunately, a lot of it is based on the expert’s personal experience.  And that may not be appropriate for you. Even the most well-intended advice is often off the mark when it comes to your business.

There’s nothing wrong with sage advice, but when guidelines become rules, they need to be scrutinized.

What follows are some of the oft-quoted “rules” that you need to question as you use social media for your own business.

Claim 1: Social Media Has Changed Everything

Balderdash. Yes, we’ve got shiny new tools, and consumers can give more public, vocal feedback on your products and services. However, leads still need to be generated, sales need to be closed and invoices need to be sent; no business survives otherwise.

Furthermore, networking didn’t start with LinkedIn. Before there was social networking there was real-world networking. And you know what? It came with drinks and hors d’oeuvres, so it wasn’t all that bad.

In fact, arguably the best book on social media marketing predates social media marketing: How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Go and (re)read that book; everything he talks about is still true today, it’s just that now it happens on Twitter.

Claim 2: You Can’t Sell in Social Media

This statement is the mantra of early adopters who remember “the good old days” of social media, before Facebook had ads and all the spammers realized how powerful and inexpensive the medium could be.

It’s well-documented that Dell has sold million of dollars of PCs and accessories through Twitter promotions. Local coffee shops use Twitter to take orders that are ready when you arrive or promote themselves using location-based apps like FourSquare or Gowalla. (In fact, if you’d like some advice on how to sell in FourSquare, check out Why Foursquare Drives Business.)

Now this doesn’t mean that you should go out and spam everyone you can reach through social media. In fact, that’s probably a quick way to lose followers and even get banned from popular networks. However, when you put the right message in front of the right person in the right social medium, sales happen.

Claim 3: You Have to Stay On Message

This is preached by many of the most successful social media experts out there. But you know who stays on message? Politicians and boring corporations. If you don’t count yourself in either group, then staying on message isn’t for you.

I’ve bonded with people over my love of Phineas & Ferb, photos I’ve uploaded to my personal Flickr account, and my fear of a zombie apocalypse.

In fact, my interest in zombies is so well-known that friends tweet me zombie news and I’ve even received several zombie-themed gifts at events. It seems strange, but the undead have helped build my network.

While that may not lead to direct sales—Google Analytics still doesn’t list “zombies” as a traffic source—it has helped me make new connections and opened up new opportunities that have led to business.

While zombies may not be your cup of tea, sharing your interests—whether it’s gardening, cooking or skydiving—will attract like-minded people to you and help build your network.

As Chris Garrett says in his post “How to Boost Your Personal Brand with Social Media”:

Using light humor, being kind, sharing about more than just your work—including your interests—allow people to connect with you on a human level as well as a business and technical level.

Claim 4: You Need to Have a Lot of Followers

When I asked my network about expert advice they disagreed with, the focus on developing a large following was the most often cited.

There are two types of experts who talk about social media as a numbers game. The first is the social media “guru” whose Twitter bio promises to teach you how to get hundreds of new followers a day, but is somehow stuck at 17 followers himself.

The second is the social media evangelist who is almost always on message and has a business model that requires a large number of customers to succeed. For her, a lot of it is about the numbers.

And in defense of this particular piece of advice, the bigger your network, the more people you can reach. All things being equal, that’s a good thing. If you ask a question and you have few followers, expect few answers. If you have hundreds or thousands of followers, expect a lot more responses.

There’s also the matter of “social proof”: without anything else to go on, we often “trust” someone with a lot of followers, or who gets a lot of comments on his blog or video. Twenty-five thousand followers can’t be wrong… right?

But beyond that, social media is not an arms race. It’s better to have 100 followers with whom you regularly engage than 10,000 who never pay attention to you.

Some people spend each day following as many new people as they can, then unfollowing those who don’t follow them back in 24 hours to free up space for more new followers. What kind of return on investment are they getting for that behavior? When your followers are following 20,000 people, how much attention is being lavished on you?

Likewise, if you’re following tens of thousands of people, how many can you truly engage with? The rule of diminishing returns is at work here.

Claim 5: You Need to Have a Lot of Comments on Your Blog

Nothing gives you a warm feeling like posting a blog that garners a lot of comments. It’s nice to know that your work is having an impact.

That being said, comments aren’t clients. They may make you feel good, but they don’t impact your bottom line. In fact, focusing on comments can be detrimental to your business. I know of businesses that quit blogging because they weren’t getting many comments on their blog. They stopped creating new blog posts that would have increased their online visibility and generated more online leads.

If comments are your business goal, then blog about politics, religion or American Idol. If growing your business is your goal, then focus on whether your blog appears in the search engines and delivers warm leads to your website.

Claim 6: You Can’t Measure Social Media ROI

Of course you can. There are “soft” numbers, like how many people viewed your last YouTube video, how many people subscribe to your podcast, and how influential your blog is according to Technorati. It’s also easy to know how many Facebook friends you have, how many people follow you on Twitter, and how often your most recent blog post has been “dugg.” (Keeping in mind that not all friends or followers have the same importance and social media is not an arms race.)

There are also “hard” numbers, like the traffic social media and blogs send to your website, and how much of that traffic converts into business. If your contact form asks “How did you hear about us?” you may be seeing more people respond with “I follow you on Twitter” or “Your video came up in a Google search I did.”


As you can see from the graphic above, most of the non-search traffic to our site came from blogs (our own and those of other companies) and social media sites where our company and employees are active.

Claim 7: You Have to Be on Facebook (or Twitter, or Have a Blog…)

There’s only one reason to use a specific social platform for business: your audience is there.

There’s no platform that’s right for every company. If you’re using social media to grow a business, you need to focus on the sites and applications that are already being used by your target audience.

You should still reserve your “handle” on as many social media sites as you can, for two important reasons:

  1. It protects your brand and keeps someone else from using “your” handle.
  2. What seems like an unimportant platform now may grow into a popular place where your audience hangs out.

The important thing to remember is that there’s no one rule that’s right for every company. While much of the advice you hear might be solid, it may not be appropriate for your business. Just because it worked for someone else doesn’t mean it will work for you.

Except for this one rule…

One Rule Worth Following

Provide value. That’s it. In social media it’s all too easy to unfollow, unfriend or unsubscribe from someone who’s not providing value. Every tweet, status update, blog post, video, or check-in should provide value to your audience.

Value means different things to different people. Your value may be in creating thought leadership blog posts. It might be in always posting links to great resources. Or it might be creating irreverent, sarcastic or even off-color commentary on what’s going on in your audience’s lives. The key is to just keep providing that value to your audience.

Now it’s your turn. What social media advice have you heard that you feel is completely off base, or has been the key to your success? Please add your thoughts in the comment box below…

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About the Author, Rich Brooks

Rich is president of flyte new media, podcasts at The Marketing Agents, and founded The Agents of Change conference. He helps small businesses succeed through search, social & mobile marketing. Other posts by »




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  • http://startups.com/ juliacassidy

    From my own experience I can tell that I totally agree with the content of the post. Some things can be totally ignored or approached differently but that is not something people like to advise because if failure happens then it’s like we can blame whatever we have ignored, and that is not always the case.
    As usual great post, worth reading.

  • http://www.marsdorian.com/ Mars Dorian

    Mmm, good and refreshing post, Rich

    it just shows that there are no rules in the online world – everything is possible.
    I’d go even a step further: you don’t even have to provide value all the time. A sincere question, a funny remark, a nice compliment – it all can go a long long way.

  • http://www.newsusa.com Hoang

    Wow, very cool post. I am new in this social media thing but reading this really help me out alot.

  • http://dinodogan.com/ Dino Dogan

    Cool post..thnx Rich,

    I especially concur with Claim 1: Social Media Has Changed Everything. Social Media has changed nothing. Just a new hammer, same old nail :-)

    Claim 3: You Have to Stay On Message is also on the money. We are people with many different feathers in our fedoras. Show off your feathers people.

    Claim 4: You Need to Have a Lot of Followers. It certainly helps but trust is paramount. I recently blogged about this (shameless promotion :-) and I’ll leave a link only cuz its super relevant. http://dogandogs.com/social-media-is-not-just-connections-its-also

    Claim 5: You Need to Have a Lot of Comments on Your Blog. I will only say that comments are to bloggers as crack is to Bobby Brown :-p

    Thnx again for reminding everyone that the “rules’ are biased and we need to shun them often.

  • http://www.spiral16.com Eric Melin

    Rich- Great advice here, especially the bit about staying on message all the time. There’s nothing wrong with mixing a little personality in with the value that you’re providing to your audience. It also helps them remember you. To some people, I’m the Spiral16 guy, to others the movie critic, and to others the air guitarist! It helps people keep you straight when they’re following 1000s of people.

    cheers,
    Eric Melin
    @SceneStealrEric @Spiral16

  • http://beesocietal.blogspot.com/ Prasant Naidu

    I have read couple of posts today on social media this really stands out. the way each every point is explained in simple terms is really amazing. my small exp says that its good to have few followers with whom i am interacting rather than having thousands. simply an awesome article, time to read once more :)

    keep rocking,
    PN

  • http://ExtremelyAverage.com Brian Meeks

    This was a really good post. I think my favorite point was quality over quantity when it comes to followers. I often look at the Follower to Listed ratio. If I see someone has followed me, with a ration of greater than 20:1, then there is a good chance I will block them, as they are just gaming the system for follwers and I know they will be engaging.

  • http://webylife.com/ Nikunj

    really nice post.

  • Tom

    Good post. I note that all the “rules” you mention are written as absolutes. We humans love absolutes. It’s easier to think in black and white, and harder to think in shades of grey. But as you point out there are no absolutes in social media, which explains why these “rules” don’t always apply (if at all).

  • http://www.dicrearte.com Natalia RS

    I agree with the content of the post. I totally agree the best book on social media marketing is “How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. Its my favorite book, if anyone wants to get followers, this is the better key

  • http://twitter.com/drtodd2010 L Todd Thomas

    I think this is a super post also because it reminds us not to confuse activity with progress. I have spent hours setting up profiles, tags, buttons, editing YouTube videos only to discover that somewhere underneath it, I’m using the activity to procrastinate from doing the real work. In that way it’s no different than the old days of spending hours at work on Windows solitaire. In reality, about three platforms or approaches is all my group is able to effectively manage anyway and they have been productive.

  • Suzanne

    I would say that a sincere question, a funny remark or a nice compliment do provide value. The question may show that you value their opinion or give them the opportunity to think, comment or be heard – value. Funny remarks that give me a smile provide value in lightening my day and perhaps are just what I need in that moment and a nice compliment? I like your profile picture and your name is most interesting! Thanks for sharing!

  • Jim

    How do zombie posts provide value?

  • http://marketing-strategy-management.com Ken

    Rich – The old adage that says rules are made to broken seemingly applies. Too often they squelch creativity and innovation; and preserve narrow-minded thinking. It’s fortunate there are people willing to speak out against them. Thanks. Ken

  • http://virtuousgiant.com Nathan Hangen

    Entertainment is value.

  • http://virtuousgiant.com Nathan Hangen

    I still think having quality with quantity is the best way to go.

  • BWRick

    Great post Rich!

    How do zombie posts provide value? If I may let me answer that question Jim. When Rich shares his Zombie phobia via Twitter, his blog, facebook etc, he is letting his customers and potential customers know they are dealing with a real human being, not an automaton. He gives them a peek into his personal life, his sense of humor and his personal interests. That is valuable to any customer or vendor.

    There is an old saying and I think it came from Dale Carnegie who Rich cites in this post “people buy from people they like”.

    Was that the right answer Rich?

  • http://virtuousgiant.com Nathan Hangen

    Good stuff Rich. Glad to see you posting here. I’m on your newsletter and know a few of your clients. Small world, this social media stuff :)

  • http://www.readinghorizons.com/blog Erika

    Great post! It is comforting to know we don’t have to be doing everything all the time. I think quality over quantity is a good rule of thumb when it comes to social media.

  • http://twitter.com/donsimko Don S

    This is an excellent post! The more I read about social media, the more I see the most important “truths” come to light. I like the third point that staying on message isn’t necessarily as important as building relationships and mixing up the content . . . while always providing value. In other words, it’s okay to be yourself — especially for the consultant or small business owner.

  • http://www.myaspergers.net/ steveborgman

    It’s refreshing to see that I don’t have to be ‘on message’ 100% of the time. But of course, 80-90% of the time is good, so that people know what I’m about. That being said, once I have built an interactive reader base, I agree that it’s good to post some humorous clips here and there. As long as it adds value.

  • http://toddblog.net/ Todd

    I know that this comment violates your one rule, but I just have chime in and say how much I love Phineas and Ferb, too. And I don’t even have kids yet.

    Great post, by the way.

  • http://twtrcoach.com TwtrCoach

    Great article here Rich.

    I like your ‘think outside the box’ approach. Even if I use and enjoy Social Media a lot majority of my goals is not related to Social Media at all. Social Media is a extended tool that can help provide an excellent outcome.

    Have not read Dale Carnegie’s book yet, but read some similar books. Have to check it out.

    Cheers.. Are

  • http://twitter.com/prescotttourism Prescott Arizona

    I would amplify point 1, good practices you have picked up in the business world apply to social media. For example:
    1) Do not be dazzled by technology — think strategy before worrying about technology.
    2) Budgets will always be constrained — if you cannot demonstrate ROI, there is a problem
    3) Be cautious of anyone that is an “Expert” or “Guru” — real experts and gurus are few and far between

  • http://keepupwiththeweb.com Sherryl Perry

    I really appreciate your common sense take on some of the so-called “rules”. It can be disheartening to not have comments on your blog. But, if I follow some of your advice they’ll come. You make so much sense when you say you don’t have to actively participate in all the different social media platforms. Protect your brand and follow your target audience. Thanks for another excellent post.

  • Coffeemate49

    I’m not even sure what changing everything would look like – but social media has certainly changed a lot. The ability 24/7 to find out what friends have been doing and response without being buried in emails. The ability to check what existing users of a service or product are saying about it – without the comments having been ‘moderated’ by the provider. The ability to get news reported by the people there without the journalistic angle. Much easier tracking down of old friends.

    Then there are the things which might not be regarded as totally good things – but they’re certainly significant. Demographic advertising that’s cost effective for the SME. The blurring of personal and professional lives.

    P.S. Those who follow my tracks to Twitter will see that I have a large follower base, follow everyone who follows me and actively building the number still higher. The reason is that my account tweets what I hope is useful information and the more people who make us of it the better – it means the time / cost incurred putting the information together was worth it. What number is best all depends on your aim.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    Agreed; nobody wants to follow a bot, even a human bot. A collection of on-message tweets is like living your whole life in the office, and only Scott Adams or Mike Judge can make that interesting.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    Quality plus quantity is pretty sweet, but not easy to attain, especially right out of the gate. What people may want to avoid is that “keeping up w/@thejonses” race for followers. That can take your eye off the prize.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    Exactly; some of these might be considered “best practices,” but even that might be for a specific industry or business. It’s great to learn from others, but if they haven’t walked a mile in your shoes, the path may be different.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    Right, activity is not progress. However, your posts and videos may have helped other people, including prospects and customers, do their job better and establish your expertise in the process. That’s time spent better than solitaire!

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    Zombies are the social lubricant of online communities everywhere. #doubletap

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    Except the part where you call it a phobia. That’s just what the zombies want you to think! I’m a zombie realist.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    I think showing personality is an extremely powerful tool for the small business owner; it’s often our edge in competing with larger companies in our industry who have to get messages through legal, PR, marketing, brand managers and superiors.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    Right; if you’re not funny, don’t try and force it. Just be yourself and your best customers will find you.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    Hey, Todd, I know what we’re going to do today!

  • lynnelle

    Great entry, Rich, as usual. This one is extra special knowing you are sitting on an island in the Caribbean posting it.

    Love the analogies and agree with most. I do believe that, while business is business and the cash register still needs to ring, the way that business is done – the bell is rung IS different. Social media IS a drastic change in how the world communicates and depending on who, what and where – that change has happened, is happening, will happen at a different velocity. As you well know, everything IS different – just look at your own business and what you, personally are doing today versus only a year ago – and how you’re doing it.

    Spot on: Add value. To which I’d add, be flexible and open to the new because it doesn’t stop here.

    Enjoy the rest of your vacation, Rich. We’ll hold the fort down for you back in Maine.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    A large following is certainly NOT a sign of selling out! If you’re providing quality tweets, posts or videos that help other people achieve their goals than more power to you!

  • http://twitter.com/howdoimarketbiz Joann Whetstine

    Good content. I would like to add a note about #5 and blog comments. There is another reason to “want” blog comments and that is to improve SEO. Google likes to see keyword rich content that is updated with frequency and a blog is great for that. The more interaction you can get on your quality content, the more it will improve your natural search results. So, I certainly would stop blogging based on whether or not I received any comments, but, I would invite them and they are great for SEO.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    Joann, interesting point. Wouldn’t more outbound links–the defacto “payment” for leaving a comment–even if they’re no-follow links, drain that page rank? I don’t know, just posing the question. Any SEO experts want to weigh in on that one?

  • http://lgmassmedia.com/blog Briana

    Rich, I thought this was really interesting. In a world where everyone is telling you that you HAVE to have a blog, Twitter, and Facebook, I’m glad you’re recanting.

    For a long time I thought you need a lot of blog comments to have a good blog, but I’m seeing now that’s not the case. Sometimes there’s nothing more to add than “great post” so people just avoid commenting at all. Same with having a bunch of followers; as long as you have a few loyal ones, you’re set!

    Measuring social media ROI is becoming a lot easier with more companies providing tools to accomplish it.

    Thank you for saying what some people were afraid to say and for eliminating some social media urban legends.

  • http://skillsfinders.com Nat Berman

    Couldn’t agree more. Especially about the tons of commenting and followers. It’s not quantity, it’s quality. Yes it’s wonderful to have an engaging community of people but that can get built much quicker by having informative and interesting content that’s driven to the RIGHT individuals. It may take longer to reach these people but it pays off in the end.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    Lynnelle, I may be on vacation but the editorial calendar never rests!

  • http://thezenbull.com/blog Annie Infinite

    All this is completely on the mark and I have also posted on it myself, we need to realise that a lot of this is just opinion and assumption. However there is a certain etiquette that will increase your ablity to market your business with success. Cross the line and out you go…

    One thing I would like to comment on you are right on you don’t need lots of followers Quality over Quantity every time! and your success depends on adding value to their lives Add Value +++

  • http://twitter.com/drtodd2010 L Todd Thomas

    Absolutely, and that’s what we learned. When we really asked the question, “Where are the people who can most benefit from what we are doing?” we were able to step back from wasting time on 20 platforms and doing a much better job on three or four. Of course, I’m still attracted to shiny whizzy objects so this is an ongoing issue.

  • http://healthypi.blogspot.com/ Rachael Randal

    Being British and somewhat behind on realising the full benefits of social media, these tips are so very useful for me. Thank you. I have recently started my own business and blog and am particularly encouraged by your quashing of claims 4 and 5!

  • http://TribalSeduction.com CoachDeb

    oh you and your Zombies!
    Excellent point re: staying on point
    Luv #2 too! :+)

  • http://verybigblog.com jen

    OMG I think you channeled a post of mine a year ago… I wrote many of these exact things.
    http://verybigblog.com/2009/04/30/dont-be-a-twidiot/

  • http://omaralam.tv/ Omar Alam

    So true about the #’s game and about the types of “experts” and “gurus”. While I do offer services that are probably on a play sheet for an “expert” or “guru”, I don’t ever claim that there is one perfect method to follow to be successful with social media. Catches some folks by surprise, though the majority appreciate it and like hearing that what works for their business is unique and not just some cookie cutter $29.95 plan of rehashed bs material. And don’t forget the really ugly and generic e-books also.

    Though, it is likely that if you are interesting, put out interesting content or tweets, you will naturally attract more people and be talked about more often. Kind of sounds like being a good party guest or just someone who is good at simply socializing.

    Liked reading the post.

  • Mal Gordon

    Add value and communicate regularly is my mantra. Seems we’re pretty much on the same page.

  • http://www.toolboks.de seo tommy

    Ich versteh die ganze Aufregung betreffs Twitter, Facebook, etc. nicht. Wenn man heute so sieht, wie Leute mit Ihren Daten so umgehen … ich glaube, so richtig interessiert das keinen. Wer sich in Twitter und Facebook aufhält, der muss doch wissen, dass jeder alles lesen kann – alles andere macht auch keinen Spaß. Der Artikel ist super geschrieben.

  • http://twitter.com/RonaldChin Ronald P Chin

    As a new comer to social networking as a means of generating leads,I am very impressed with the information given and i am reminded of the saying,”People don’t care how much you know,until they know how much you care”. I really believe honesty and integrity in all you do(the value) will still deliver the best result. I am here to lean,apply and to share with all those who follow in earnest.

  • http://www.adnpost.com/ eagles11

    I appreciate your work and giving me a different view of my favorite blogging.

  • http://blog.ubervu.com Alexandra Cojocaru

    Really nice post! I really appreciate you shared your ideas and I hope you won’t mind I highlighted your insights in a blogpost (http://cot.ag/aGDE4x). Thought it was a good wake up call. :)

  • http://johnantonios.com John Antonios

    I really like this post – I strongly agree with the first claim “Social Media Has Changed Everything” – well the tools have changed but it’s the same game! However, I do think that Social Media has given a voice to the smaller players – i’d like to refer to it as leveling the playing field – so it might not have changed everything, but it has certainly made the game more interesting!

  • http://www.citycliq.com/ CityCliq

    Great post! I really agree with your use of “the rule of diminishing returns.”

    While it may look good to have 200,000 followers on Twitter, odds are that 190,000 of them are bots or auto-tweeters. Those kind of followers negate the whole purpose of social media.

    What good is a follower that will never even see, let alone respond, to your content?

  • http://twitter.com/joyofweddings Joy Basdeo

    I breath of fresh air. Thank you. SME continues to offer good value for the time one invests in reading posts, etc.

  • http://twitter.com/judecaserta Jude Russo Caserta

    I did the rapid follow bla bla bla thing first time out of the gate with Twitter. Blew up that acct. Now growing slowly and having a lot more fun! Great post!

  • http://www.PhysioDigest.com david fitzgerald

    Rich
    very well articulated article. Claim 7 resonated with me. I have spent 2 years investing in social media platforms and have come to the conclusion that my market doesn’t have a presence there. This doessn’t surprise me knowing the work environment and behaviour of my market but several marketing guru’s pensions are better off for the experience.

    Are there definitive ways to determine a market presence in a given social platform? The statistics on social membership sites is impressive for mass market approaches but I am looking for more specific searches. Stats like 85 % of thre population are on the web is a very different proposition from using blogs, twittering and social media engagment.
    I keep trying to convince myself there must be a role for social media in my online strategy but experience suggests otherwise.
    Refreshing to hear some honest analysis – a touch of the emperor’s clothes perhaps?
    Cheers

    David

  • http://ajitchauhanindia.blogspot.com ajit Chauhan

    Its really nice and helpful post.

    thanks

  • http://NancysBarBQ.tumblr.com Nancy Krohngold

    Super post. As a small business owner/operator of Nancy’s Bar-B-Q, which provides catering & delivery only (no storefront venue) in the Sarasota, FL area, I rely SOLELY on guerrilla marketing. I rely totally on press coverage, word-of-mouth, referrals and repeat business (over 90% of first-time customers are converted to repeat customers), and slavish devotion to my Nancy’s Bar-B-Q FaceBook fan page (and Twitter, but to a lesser extent) to drive my business. My business–and promoting it–is a labor of love in equal part of each. I work hard on ENGAGEMENT and VALUE in my posts — make it informative: where I’m going to be setting up street-side for a special event lunch, w/ a free dessert to anyone who mentions the post; or a BBQ or foodie-related link; or polling my fanbase on what new menu item they’d like. True, engagemnt and comments do not always translate into sales. That said, a high percentage of those peeps are ALREADY customers in my case, and I consider this part of my care and feeding of my brand disciples. I could go on, but no time now — must get to the Bar-B-Q oven. I LOVE Social Media Examiner! Thank you for your insights.

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    David, even if your industry isn’t heavily into social media (yet), you can still leverage blogging and online video as a way to increase your online visibility and establish your expertise. Even those who don’t tweet often Google, and well-written, keyword-rich post and videos can lead them to you.

    Also, if your one of the first in your industry to use these tools you may have a leg up when the rest of the industry jumps in.

    Good luck!

  • http://twitter.com/therichbrooks Rich Brooks

    Nancy, thanks for your post. You may also want to use location-based apps like Forsquare and Gowalla, as well as monitoring reviews and possibly engaging w/folks on Yelp and related sites. Good luck!

  • http://novasafo.wordpress.com/ Nova

    Love your blog post, and I’m a hundred percent in agreement! I hesitate on the notion that the online game isn’t essentially a numbers game. But I agree that the quality of the audience is much more important than the quantity.

    Here are my two cents on the subject of blogs and building an audience: Blog writers are naturally trying to attract a lot of eyeballs to their content, especially eyeballs that will build the kind of community that serves their particular online goals.

    But, I’m puzzled by the notion that the best performing blog content (or online text content in general) is in list form – top 5 this, worst 10 that, 12 easy steps, etc.

    Lists work if, like your blog post, they are compelling to begin with, and if there’s a good reason for them. Lists do offer an easy hook for a casual reader who happens by your content. They’re easy on the eye. But they’re not a cookie-cutter fix-all. I’ve encountered a lot of unnecessary and awkwardly written lists online.

    Bloggers should also be thinking about the more invested reader, who would be coming to them for specialized information or the type of unique content that sets someone apart as a must-follow person. There’s value in writing creatively.

  • http://twitter.com/JackieTEwing Jackie Thorpe Ewing

    Rich,
    I loved this post – very direct approach to using social media as just that – social media! So many folks have made the mistake of thinking social media is the solution to their problems, attack it with a lot of time and money, only to end up where they started – no plan.
    Effective customer communication is certainly facilitated by social media and each person has to find which one or two works best for their customers and themselves. I have fun working with clients to find out which mediums work best for them and I learn a lot myself in the process.
    Thanks for clarifying so much.

    Jackie

  • http://NaomiTrower.com Naomi Trower

    I really love not staying on business all of the time. I have met many great people sharing about my love for education and the various programs that I have my kids involved in like http://kumon.com and http://supercamp.com. It’s a great conversation starter and allows me to reach more people. I also love the fact that no comments doesn’t mean anything. My particular audience send me an email and say Call me Now and they turn into a new client. I’ll take that over a comment any day. :)

  • http://twitter.com/howdoimarketbiz Joann Whetstine

    I’ve never heard of no follow links draining page rank. They just don’t juice the SEO for the person who left the link. But, the blog with the changing content is yours and that’s what Google likes to see.

  • http://www.spiritandbodyrevolution.com Andy Castro

    It seems to me people get principles mixed up with absolutes.
    When we follow proven principles, we usually get desired or undesired results.
    For instance, if we set goals and review them monthly, weekly or daily,
    we will likely reach a desired result. This is a proven principle.
    In this same example, if we were to say we must have the same goal as
    someone else, then that would be an absolute.
    We just need to be consistant in following a set of positive proven principles
    and I will reach my desired result.
    Thanks for the article.

  • http://www.WooldridgeEquineArt.com Pat Wooldridge

    I like your comment, Mars. Funny remarks, nice compliments, sincere questions, DO go a long way in adding smiles to people’s days. While this may not be ‘value in a monetary, or business, way, it is another sort of value. In these times when it appears that there often is precious little to smile about, doesn’t it give anyone a lift to see a light comment, a bit of kind humor, come across the screen! To me, this sort of value can mean more than money. Money cannot buy a light heart, but for those who choose to maintain one, it is a part of them; nothing can permanently take it away

  • http://flavors.me/davidahood David Hood

    I agree with most of what you’ve written, but you’re only talking from a marketing perspective it seems. Social media isn’t just used to build business or sell product as Twitter is not just used to share what you had for breakfast. Social media has changed A LOT. Particularly in the non-profit sector.
    The ability to share stories, engage and mobilise people through social media and mobile communications is something that never existed in the days of Dale Carnegie (though I do agree many of the principles are the same).
    Take a wider view…

  • http://www.stonesouphomeschool.com/ Stone Soup Robin

    I have been following your suggestions (before I even knew about your site!) and my “following” has grown to nearly 400 in two months. I haven’t even published my site yet! I have been trying to build a fan base so that when I do publish my site, somebody out there will actually notice! Thanks for all the good input!

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/2L44OPZSJH5ORGMZDS7WEPOPJY Nanny Argo

    Being British and somewhat behind on realising the full benefits of social media, these tips are so very useful for me. Thank you. I have recently started my own business and blog and am particularly encouraged by your quashing of claims 4 and 5! http://www.zoho4.com

  • http://www.nomorecoldcalling.com/ Joanne

    This is terrific. I especially relate to Claim #1. Yes, always challenge traditional thinking–especially in sales. We need to break a lot of rules. Social media is a great tool for sales people. We find out who people are, who they know, and we conduct research during our business-development process. Then we have to pick up the phone and talk to people.

    There is nothing like a personal connection. Selling is personal. People do business with people, not technology. Period. To succeed in sales, we must have interactive conversations with our sales prospects. That’s how they move from a sales prospect to a valued customer.

  • http://www.codyaswann.com/ Cody Swann

    Great post, Rich. One thing, though. The ‘soft’ measures you talk about really aren’t ROI. They’re just metrics unless the ‘return’ you’re looking for is more page hits, but that isn’t the goal. It’s a means to a goal

  • Apritchard

    Great info Rich – thanks so much for the guidance in this “wide world” of social media!

  • http://www.wickedinnovations.com/ Trisha

    Exactly we can ignore social media and we can be successful without it, but the advantage is you can gather more information through social media.

  • http://www.redmillcommunications.com Technology Marketing

    Great post – there neds to be as little perspective on the value of social media and the work involved in doing it well.

    It’s just another tool and it can’t be used in isolation from a proper marketing strategy. it’s very effective for some businesses for sure, but meaningless for others.

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  • http://socialmediadiyworkshop.com/ Charlene (@SocialMediaDIY)

    Great article, Rich. It’s always good to see someone busting the social media myths. Keep up the great work!

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  • http://crowdbooster.com/ Ricky Yean

    Rich! Great great post. I loved that you said staying on topic is for politicians and boring corporations. Thanks!

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