Let's get down in the weeds for a second about social-media marketing.

I cannot tell you how many times a day I hear the words, "We need to be on Facebook. We should be posting more on Twitter. We should show people our culture on Instagram."

Nobody cares.

That's the cold, honest, brutal truth.

Nobody cares about your culture--unless you have the best, most unique, knowledgeable, entertaining, or something culture.

Nobody cares about the "5 Ways to Create an Effective Marketing Strategy" blog that you posted, for the first time in six months--unless those "5 Ways" are in some way different and very unique compared to everyone else's "5 Ways."

Nobody cares where you and your team went to eat for lunch--unless where you went to eat was somewhere super cool, and everyone on your team created food art, and each food art recipe can be found on your website, along with a step-by-step guide on how to create said incredible food art at home.

Unless you are doing something different, or informative, or valuable to the audience you are looking to reach, nobody cares. Except your mom. She will probably hit "Like."

It is astounding to me how many people think the simple act of having a Facebook page or a Twitter handle is, in any way, effective. That's like thinking your purchasing a name tag at a networking event is going to bring you leads. What are people going to do? Walk up to you, you there sitting in the chair in the back room not talking to anyone, and say, "Oh! I see your name is John! Can I purchase whatever it is you're selling, John?"

Please tell me you realize how ridiculous that sounds.

And yet this is the mentality the majority of people, brands, businesses, and so-called "thought leaders" have when it comes to using social media.

If your "strategy" is to post seven times a week, you're doing it wrong.

If your "strategy" is to "use photos instead of text," you're doing it wrong.

If your "strategy" is to "be on social media," you're doing it wrong.

That is not a strategy. That's you raising your hand and saying "Present!" in a classroom with nobody asking if you're even there in the first place.

I say this--and am saying it the way I am saying it--with a positive intention: Stop wasting your time on social media if you aren't going to do it right. Social-media marketing is no easier than hustling table to table at a product expo, or going door to door handing out flyers. You're dead wrong if you think social media is some sort of magic tool where you create a page, post three photos (with horrible lighting and no artistic flair whatsoever), and wabam!--you've gone viral. 

Maybe it's a generation gap. Maybe it's "shiny toy" syndrome--we constantly hear about the wild success stories, but never about the millions of people who fail. Maybe it's an overabundance of "social-media thought leaders" all regurgitating the same garbage. I don't know. But what is absolutely mind-boggling to me is how many people, businesses, brands, and all the rest think that social media is this magic wand. You wave it once or twice and then it's all good. No need to spend any real time mastering it. No reason to invest money or resources into doing it well. Just post a few pictures of team members at a BBQ and call it a day. People will see an active Facebook page and love it!

Sigh. No. They won't love it.

In fact, they'll hate it. And they won't tell you.

Because they won't even notice you.

Because they've already scrolled past and are too busy reading another Kardashian headline.

There is no difference between "social-media marketing" and "marketing." A good marketer knows that marketing is marketing. Hustle is hustle. You either understand your audience and you go where they are--and you speak their language--or you don't. Maybe they're on Instagram. Maybe they're on Reddit. Or maybe they frequent southern rodeos instead and that's where you need to be selling your handcrafted belt buckles.

Point is: The entire conversation about "whether to be on social media or not" has nothing--and I mean nothing--to do with social media in itself.

It has to do with where your audience is, and what they are looking for. What do they need help with? What are they searching Google trying to find?

Once you know what they're looking for--give it to them.  For free.

And then again.

And again.

And again.

Every single day for years and years until they become so loyal to you that no matter what paid upgrade you offer them, they'll take it. Not because you ran a great banner ad or you had some well-crafted sales copy. But because they know you provide them great value, every day. You've become part of their lives. You, and your brand, make them better.

That's how you build something of value.

Published on: Aug 17, 2016