Social Media Isn’t For Everyone

Last week I was having an interesting conversation with someone who’d been sent my way to talk about social media. She was trying to learn new ways of promoting her business and she wanted to do it via social media. When I asked her why she stated “my friend said I have to be on social media to actually get any business.”

The Social Butterfly
by Ric Nagualero

Strangely enough, this isn’t the first time I’ve had someone say this to me. I keep talking to people who I could potentially be making some money from asking me to help them spread the word through social media circles. Many of them know the names of the outlets, yet have no real idea why they should be on them, let alone how to use them.

Back to the conversation the other day. I asked this person what she was already on. She said she was on all of them, but hadn’t done anything with any of them other than create an account. She hadn’t filled out any of her business information on LinkedIn; she had never sent a single tweet; she had created a Facebook page but set it up as a private site, with no one linked to it yet; and she’d had her Blogspot blog turned into a website, yet all her posts weren’t hers, thereby linking everyone away from her site.

In other words, kind of a mess of sorts, I hate to say. Yet she wanted, needed, to be in social media. I asked her why again. She said because she wanted to have an outlet where she could advertise her services, or talk about seminars and webinars she was going to put in through her company. In essence, for advertising purposes; nothing wrong with that.

I asked her what kind of time she had to devote to any of it, and she said almost none. I asked her what kind of money she was willing to spend towards it and she said very little because she was just getting her business up off the ground. She said that’s why she wanted me to help her, but to offer her ideas that wouldn’t cost her a lot of money because she had to get it done.

Here’s the thing. Social media is obviously the wave of the future, but it’s still not for everyone. Or at the very least, all of it isn’t for everyone. It’s kind of like Mitchell Allen’s post You Suck At Marketing, when he talks about people who buy all these books and programs that purport to teach them how to market online, yet either don’t put anything into practice or don’t even take the time to read them. Just knowing some big time names won’t make you a dime; putting something into action will. And not everything you read from everyone; you have to try something first, then if it doesn’t work move on. Even then, you have to be willing to give things time to develop or not without changing them too much.

Two weeks ago I wrote a post on work/life balance. Well, there also has to be a work/work balance. No one gets anything without a little effort. If you don’t have the time to devote even 5 minutes a day to a social media pursuit, it’s not for you. If you don’t have 30 minutes a week to devote to writing posts for your own blog, it’s not for you. That is, unless you can pay someone to do it all for you, and even with that, you’re still going to have to contribute in some fashion.

If it’s not for you, don’t feel left out. The fact that you at least know about it puts you ahead of a lot of people. Your time may come; don’t push it too much for now if you’re not ready for it.

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25 thoughts on “Social Media Isn’t For Everyone”

  1. Agreed! Social media has done wonders for me, keeping me in front of customers as well as my fellow bloggers. But, I don’t hit it as hards as some others do. Not because I don’t think it is right for me, I enjoy being social, but I have a limit as to how much time I can spend on it.

    Chances are once this woman you speak of reaped the social media rewards she would make more time and spend more money on it.

    1. Thanks Susan, but a part of me thinks I’m not going to hear from her. I mean, if she processed any of what I told her during our call, she’ll realize that she’s not ready for it. And if she decides she wants to go that route, then I’ll enjoy my lunch. 😉

    2. yes – the benefits are great. you just have to do a hardwork if you want to be successful in it. sitting, doing nothing and waiting for results is ridiculous! want results – have to spend both time and money.

  2. You are right, Mitch!

    Social media is a great way to get the word out about your business but just like everything else, it’s not just as simple as making an account. Everything involves spending time, and social interaction is the same (it’s not called social for nothing) you have to interact with the people you want to sell.
    It’s true that many people know that if you want to get exposure you have to go social, but what they don’t know is that building your social status takes time, a lot of time.

    1. Exactly Alex. The act of blogging on its own shows us that it requires some kind of time as well as effort.

  3. Hi Mitch,

    Thanks for mentioning my post. It was more of a self-indictment, although some people undoubtedly saw themselves in the same place.

    That was some conversation you had! The odd thing is, I used to have the same types of conversations with potential website clients. Once I explained the purpose of a website to them, they were able to discard a lot of their preconceived or misinformed notions. I don’t know what she expected from you but self-limiting attitude of not spending money will forever keep her business from getting off the ground.

    As for the social media aspect, I’m slowly coming to the realization that I’ve been barking up the wrong trees. The gurus initially pointed out that we are not supposed to sell to our customers, launching a two year waste of time as we devoured Seth Godin and dreamed of our own viral purple cows.

    Nothing against Seth Godin, but he speaks to COMPANIES, meaning the average Internet Marketing blogger is not his target. That didn’t stop many of us from taking up standing-room only positions and taking copious notes.

    And missing the point.

    We are not Zappos. We needed to learn that social media is about behavior, metrics and message. Sound familiar? That’s because it was perfected by the practitioners in the Direct Marketing Associations years before the first personal computer ever beeped a logon prompt.

    If we are going to study social media, we need to get at the basic question: what is its true purpose.

    Imagine a salesperson from the fifties being told NOT to sell to his customers. What ELSE was he going to do when he came to an appointment? duh!



    1. Great stuff, Mitch! You talk Seth Godin, locally it seems there’s a lot of folks crushing on Alan Weiss. These methods of selling can be confusing, while at the same time it has to be recognized that everything doesn’t work for everyone. For instance, it doesn’t help to tell everyone they have to make phone calls to every person and business to sell something because not every business or person is going to respond to that. Not all commercial should be comical or cute. One of my friends spent tons of money to advertise on a local newspaper site so that she could get 250 impressions in one month and not a single phone call; impressions mean nothing, and not every business will work well as far as advertisements go on a news site.

      All of us have to learn what our comfort level is. Sure, we might have to push ourselves here and there, but we also have to be ready to recognize that some things just aren’t for us. And those that are… they still take work.

  4. Your article is right on point, I was just working with the administrators of a medical practice and we discussed the ineffectiveness of their social media pages. I was explaining that social media pages need time and attention and that just having a page is not enough. I am going to forward them your article for emphasis.

    1. Thanks Karla. Social media has its place for sure, but for it to work properly there has to be a full symbiosis between the people who want to use it for their purposes and their ability to handle it all.

  5. Allan, that’s probably enough to help you do what you want to do. Kind of like blogging, it all takes a little bit of work and time, and some folks really aren’t ready for it all; kind of like when video games first came out.

  6. Everyone i know has a tiwtter and a facebook account, but that doesn’t mean that they would be good at promoting a business. Succeeding in the “social” environment takes a lot of hard work and patience, and of course quality content.

    1. True Mia. That plus just concentrating on it as a business model makes a lot of people forget to be “social”.

  7. Mitch – Great point you make here. It doesn’t matter what you know if you don’t put it into action. This woman said she didn’t really have any time to devote to it so how is she going to put into practice the advice you give here?

    Anyone can use social media effectively but not everyone is ready to get into it. Great article Mitch and thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    1. Thanks for your comment, John. It was like a seminar I put on this summer where a guy told me he didn’t even have 15 free minutes a week to devote to promoting his stuff via social media. Made me wonder why he came to the seminar in the first place.

  8. I work for a State Farm Agent and they’ve recently starting allowing the agents to have Facebook and Twitter pages for their individual agencies. They issued a warning not to even start one if we feel that it can’t be maintained correctly because having a neglected presence in those places is worse than not having one at all. I never really thought about that, but it does seem true.

    1. It’s definitely true, Jessica, and it sounds like they talked to a social media consultant before making their decision, which was a wise move on their part.

  9. Probably you remember my comment on Life/Balance article. Actually social media and social marketing have to be applied for every business, just for some businesses results can be really good, the others do not take a huge advantage. I believe that social media is very suitable for brand building and quick promo announcement.

    1. I think it is for a lot of folks, Carl, but still, it’s not for everyone, and the proof keeps coming up.

  10. I was not a very social person at the start of my business, Mitch. I just wrote ebooks and articles and posted them onto the blog section in my website. I did not venture that much into social media because I told myself that I am not the social type. (You are the only one who could get me as chatty as this 🙂 )But, later on, I realised that I was missing out much when it comes to marketing my site online. So, I did some Twittering, then Facebook, then LinkedIn and I also have Foursquare. Then I did blog and forum commenting. Now, I can say that social media has really helped me. Did I go out on a limb to make things work? Yes, I did. What I did not do though was open accounts with every social media network there is. I just chose I think is lucrative for my business, then developed a system so I can do them as well as all the others things I need to accomplish including taking breaks and spending time with my family.

    1. You did it the smart way, Wes, and see, now we’re also connected on Twitter; I hope I don’t drive you too crazy. lol I think, oddly enough, that some of this social media stuff has helped me to a degree be more social in the real world. I still have moments like last week, when I went to a networking event, didn’t know a single person, and bailed in under an hour. But overall I now at least usually know one person and that often ends up with me knowing 5 or more new people by the end of the evening. I’m not sure I’d have learned to be more comfortable in person without my online outlets.

      1. Glad to know that social media kind of cured you of being a bit anti-social, Mitch. What froze me up about it at first was the privacy issue, then later on decided to give it a try. I am glad I did.

      2. Wes, it was needed in my business life for sure. In my personal life, I still won’t talk to anyone I don’t know unless spoken to first. That seems to work best for me, as it allows me to observe people, something I actually like to do.

  11. You are right, don’t get yourself in things you don’t fully understand and master. I personally hate social media, I really do, I use it just when I really need it.

    1. Well Roshan, don’t “hate” social media! lol At least not all of it. For instance, I consider blogging social media, and I hope you don’t hate that. But for the rest, yes, using it when needed works just fine.

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