Social Media Networking is a Waste of Time

"clocks wasting time"Are you in the camp that believes social media marketing networking is a waste of time?  If you are, you’re not alone.  I regularly talk to people who don’t believe social media networking works and it is too time consuming to bother with.  Often-times they have tried ‘doing’ social media and have a blog on their website contains all the wrong content and hasn’t been updated for months.

I’d have to confess that not all that long ago, you’d have found me on the side of the fence that said social media marketing works only for businesses who sell to consumers and even then I didn’t think it was all that effective. I’ve come full circle and am on a daily mission to improve the ways in which I use my social networks to create relationships and share valuable information.

I could cold call all day long trying to get leads and never get anywhere.  In today’s world, people are unlikely to do business with someone who calls them out of the blue and nine times out of ten, they aren’t going to answer a call from an unknown number, let alone return your phone call.  Unless you happen to be incredibly lucky and call someone on the very day, at the very moment they were thinking about how much they need to buy whatever it is you’re selling, it’s a dead end.

I’m not saying that phone calls and personal contact is bad, but a “warm call” is better than a cold call and a contact you’ve met through an engagement on LinkedIn, GooglePlus, Twitter, or Facebook is likely to be more receptive to what you have to say than someone who’s never heard of you.

Writing this post is making me grin.  After falling off of the editorial calendar wagon, I’m finally back on task and as you read it, I’m on my way to sunny Altoona, PA to finish teaching a on-site SEO training session.  One of the many topics we’re going to cover are the benefits of social media marketing in conjunction with search engine optimization.

One of the statistics I like to start with is the size of the social media networks.

  • Facebook is still holding on to #1 with 693 million active users
  • Google + slid past Twitter into the # 2 position with 343 million users
  • Twitter is holding strong with 288 million Tweeps
  • LinkedIn reports over 200 million participants
  • The fastest growing population using social media are 45 – 54 years old (Twitter isn’t just for kids)

The numbers can vary depending on what resource you look at and how “active user” is defined, but the numbers are still staggering and they make it pretty hard to deny the potential for reaching more people exists.

So why do so many people still believe that social networking is a waste of time?

Well, it can be.  I know, I just spent the last few paragraphs starting to make a case for why engaging in social media marketing is a good thing.  However it can be a waste of time just as easily.

8 Ways to Make Social Media Networking Work:

  1. Participate in the right networks – research which ones your customers and prospects are using and join them.
  2. Have a blog and blog about the right stuff – you need content to promote your brand and your website.
  3. Engage with others in network – join groups and contribute to discussions in a sincere way.
  4. Be interesting – don’t just quote other people’s quotes, post links, or promote yourself. Provide a variety of information and let others know you’re a real person.
  5. Don’t over-automate – some automation can be good, but like anything else too much of something can be bad. It’s easy to tell when someone isn’t really engaged when they post the same update to every social network at exactly the same time.
  6. Optimize your content and your posts to help you with SEO.
  7. Post regularly – see if you can find the optimal time to post by testing and analyzing the results.
  8. Have fun – it can be a lot of fun to meet new people and you never know where it’s going to lead you!

I prefer to think participating it as social media networking rather than marketing because the word networking implies a two-way relationship and marketing can indicate more of a one-way “push” of information.  But whether you call it marketing or networking, put your best foot forward and don’t lose any more time.

Start with the research, pick the platforms that you think will work best for you, incorporate the best practices, and watch social media marketing transform from a waste of time to a valuable part of your inbound marketing strategy.

If I haven’t convinced you, maybe this video from Hubspot will.

What’s your favorite SMM tip?



    • Hmmm…I’m not sure why my reply didn’t get published when I posted it 16 days ago.

      Thanks as always for stopping by Gordon – love the comments and the advice!