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Social media reality check (again)

Social media is hot.

It’s also one of the hottest refuges for scammers and BS artists.

I recently made the mistake of doing some pro bono work for a good cause run by amateurs. (Long story and a mistake I will never repeat.)

Throughout the process, I’ve been told I have to meet with this social marketing expert and that one, the implication being they have something of value to bring to the party that’s more important than actually getting the job done. (These folks LOVE meetings. They don’t like work.)

Meanwhile, I patiently try to explain to these wing nuts that the only currency that means anything in Internet marketing is the size of your e-mail list (prospects and customers). Not how many “friends” you have, how many people “follow” you on Twitter, or how much chatter there is about you in the blogosphere.

Hey, I like Twitter and I know people who get some good things from Facebook, but I don’t know anyone who would trade a solid e-mail list to become king of Twitter or Facebook.

Conversely, I know plenty of social media masters who are one step away from living in a “van down by the river.” (Google it. If you don’t know the Saturday Night Live routine that phrase is from, you’re in for some serious laughter.)

Anyway, after listening the the millionth and one social media “genius” I took a look at some of my own social media stats. (My social media weapon of choice being video.)

Here are my numbers:

1. I’ve pushed one video over the 2,800,000 views mark
2. I’ve pushed two over the 1,200,000 views mark
3. I’ve pushed seventeen over the 100,000 view mark (sixteen singehandedly, one in partnership)

Total cash expenditure: zero dollars.

It was all accomplished by viral marketing, also know as “word of mouth” and all these hits were kicked off with mailing to an e-mail list. No Twitter. No Facebook.

I’m sure there are social media “gurus” who could turn these stats into speaking gigs at the latest social media conferences, television appearances, and books on how to “crush it.”


I’m very unimpressed by my own accomplishments.


I’m in SALES.

How many leads did I generate? How many sales did I close? How many people did I induce to come back and buy a second and third and fourth time?

Let’s get real folks.

Social media is gravy.

You better have a meal to put it on.

Focus on what matters.

  1. April 22nd, 2010 at 04:00 | #1

    That’s about the most honest evaluation of social media I have read. I have pushed videos over the 100,000 mark and put countless hours into Facebook and other must do social media.

    Like Ken my conclusion is “Where’s the Beef?”

    On the internet it is WAY too easy to mistake attention for money.

  2. Chuck Haynes
    April 22nd, 2010 at 04:05 | #2

    Right on. It is about time someone said it. Content, Content, Content not hype is what drives sales.

  3. Larry
    April 22nd, 2010 at 04:52 | #3

    Dear Ken,
    I too, am sick of hearing about the gold mine hidden in social media websites like FaceBook.

    I’m on several marketing email lists so I see guru after guru recommending all the new Social Media Courses designed to show me how to get rich.

    I’m not the sharpest tool in the shed but I totally dominate Youtube.com in my niche.

    My Facebook.com page was receiving so many “friend” requests, I had to deactivate my account to shut it down.
    Not to mention all the “friends” who I pissed-off because they felt “neglected” (I didn’t constantly interact with them by writing on their wall etc.)

    What a hassle.

    Here’s the truth about social media websites…



    One day I may experiment by testing some PPC ads on Facebook but in most cases, I feel it’s a waste of time and effort.

    Thanks for your point of view, Ken.

    Take care,

    Larry T.

  4. April 22nd, 2010 at 05:04 | #4

    Funny and well written. The only thing dilletants crush are beer cans in a van down by the river.

  5. April 22nd, 2010 at 06:39 | #5

    Hi Ken,

    I think your words are very wise.

    The only thing that really matters is providing excellent original content for people in your niche, and then selling them “stuff” that will also give them great value. Both of these things require lots and lots of hard work.


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