Seattle Community

Speaker/Marketing Consultant
Toronto, Ontario Canada
Very helpful
out of 10
129 votes

Why No Business Should Be Involved In Online Social Networking

Still think spending all that time updating your Facebook page and twittering is going to help your business? Have I got news for you!
Written Mar 01, 2010, read 69736 times since then.


Take a look at these four scenarios.

  1. A teenaged boy is sharing strategy secrets on a Playstation 3 Facebook group.
  2. A father is posting photos of his family’s day at the beach to Flickr.
  3. A mother is uploading a video of her daughter’s  recital to You Tube.
  4. An HR consultant is twittering about recent changes in employment law.

Which one of these people stands out as being unique from the others in the way they are using social networking?

If you answered number 4 you would be correct.

That’s because the first three people are using social networking web sites for the purpose of social interaction.  They are keeping in touch with friends, family and people of similar interests.  Their goals are nothing more than to belong, share, and socialize.

But the HR consultant is networking for a different set of reasons.  This person has chosen to use networking sites as a tool to position themselves as an expert – an invaluable source of reliable information.  Beyond Twitter, this person may also be on Facebook, Linked In, Plaxo and others.  This sharing of information would, in theory, impact on how they are viewed within their industry by current and potential clients.  Over the long term, these efforts could materialize into new business.  That is why they are there.

When business people use social networking sites, they often do not understand why.  And that is a big reason why so many of them see no positive return from it.  Although a positive return can mean different things to everybody, for most business people a positive return usually involves making a sale.

The problem is that for the last couple of years, experts have continuously preached that the success of a business is dependant on participating in online social networking.  They will try to convince you that you need a Facebook page, that you need to regularly update your Linked In profile, that you should post articles to a myriad of resource sites, and of course let the world know you are doing all this by Twittering at least 5 times a week.

What every expert has forgotten to share with you (or just don’t know to) is that this is not social networking.  There is in fact nothing social about it.  You are not trying to make friends, get in touch with old school chums, or keep tabs on the ex.  You are trying to grow your business.

So maybe it’s time to stop referring to all this as social networking and start seeing it for what it really is: social marketing.

Any form of communication you perform on behalf of your business is a form of marketing.  Regardless of whether it’s a business card or a Facebook page, your are building an image - a brand identity that will help you convey your values allowing people to better understand the advantages of doing business with you.

Think of social marketing as just another tool in your marketing toolbox.  In many ways it is no different than web sites, yellow page ads, trade shows or promotional items.  Each of these is important in their own way depending on your needs, industry, budget, and time.  One tool should not be favoured over another simply because it seems like the right thing to do.

It seems I come across a lonely blog at least once a week.  I can tell they’re lonely because the last entry was from 2008 or earlier.  The owner of the blog no longer posts and people no longer visit.

So many business owners jumped on the social marketing bandwagon because they felt compelled to.  Yet when they finally spent the time and money to create those blog sites, they had nothing to say, no information to share, and no time to maintain it.

Time is one of those things the experts rarely bring up.  But for anyone who runs their own business will tell you, finding time each day to write about who-knows-what can be impossible.

On the other hand, networking sites have contributed to making countless people famous and wealthy.  And it can be argued that many of whom possess no real skills in the first place outside of being able to successfully exploit their following.  I have to wonder where celebrity gossiper Perez Hilton and socialite Kim Kardashian would be without the internet. (Of note, Kim Kardashian charges $10,000 to mention a product in her tweets to her 2.7 million followers.)

So should you be jumping into the social marketing pool?  Only you can answer that.  But here’s some things to think about before getting wet.

  1. What are your goals?  Are you looking to increase sales or just to build a list of contacts?  Both can be important depending on the type of business you own.  A restaurant can use Twitter to let people know about specials available only for that evening.  Whereas an accountant might want to build a list through Linked In as a vehicle to let people know about changes to tax laws.

  2. Content is key.  Not actively participating in social marketing is like being a wallflower at a party.  If no one will know you’re there, what’s the point in even going?  Being an active participant means contributing relevant content.  Depending on the sites you choose to join, this can involve submitting articles, industry news, anything that your contacts, friends, or followers will deem useful or worthy of reading.  This means avoiding Twittering about what you had for lunch or posting photos of your trip to the beach (unless you’re a travel agent).

  3. Time commitment.  Like other types of marketing, frequency is important in reinforcing your message and getting people to remember you.  Just as you would not place an ad in a  magazine for just one issue, you must also contribute to your social marketing presence on a regular basis.  For many business owners, this can be anywhere from 15-60 minutes per day.  Are you ready for that?

  4. Know your audience.  A hair salon creating a Facebook page sounds logical until you find out the average age of their clients is 55, most of whom do not even use the internet.  So are they trying to keep in contact with current clients or attract new ones?  (Refer back to #1)

  5. Coordinating with conventional marketing.  Social marketing should not be treated as a stand alone program.  To be effective it should be combined with traditional marketing.  For example, if you send out a flyer by mail, mention that people can get notice of additional promotions by following you on Twitter.  Or use Facebook to post photos of special industry events you were involved in.

  6. The return.  Even with conventional marketing, many business people are guilty of thinking they can expect a certain return for every dollar spent.  If they don’t see that return in a specific period of time, they deem the campaign a failure.  Social marketing can be even more abstract.  In many cases, your posts or submissions will not be focused on generating sales, but instead providing information.  As such, readers would be less likely to contact you looking to spend money.  However if you choose to create a social campaign focused on driving sales, you may find yourself ignored as many people get turned off of sales pitches made through social media sites.

Social marketing is less about what you can get and more about what you can give.  More information, more posts, more contacts, more referrals – all of these can lead to an increase in business over time. Like a farmer planting seeds, if you plant enough of them, invest the effort, and be patient, eventually you will bear the fruits of success.

Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon

Marc Gordon is a professional speaker and marketing consultant based in Toronto. Learn more about Marc at or follow him on Twitter at

Learn more about the author, Marc Gordon.

Comment on this article

  • Engagement Manager 
Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom 
Rich Baker
    Posted by Rich Baker, Birmingham, West Midlands United Kingdom | Mar 01, 2010

    good post Marc that highlights what social media for business development is all about - in essence it's relationship marketing and WOM.

  • Brand Consultant 
Phoenix, Arizona 
Ken Peters
    Posted by Ken Peters, Phoenix, Arizona | Mar 01, 2010


    Nice post. You said it all with this line, "Social marketing is less about what you can get and more about what you can give."

    The social media space allows you to hoist your flag and show off your expertise without having to say "I'm an expert." If you have the right stuff, and are willing to offer some of it for free via social media, you'll build a reputation and win business.

  • Small Business Coach - Consultant 
Ocala, Florida 
Tommy Jaye
    Posted by Tommy Jaye, Ocala, Florida | Mar 01, 2010

    Hey Marc, great post.

    As you have so wisely pointed out, social networking/marketing is the newest and most popular kid on the block and there is quite a buzz about it. Why not, it's effective if used wisely, it can be quite cost effective and it's possible to generate positive ROI's on any given campaign.

    However, it is only one strategy within what should be a group of strategies within a comprehensive marketing plan for each and every business.

    As a small business consultant, I continously preach to clients and others who will listen, that the development and implementation of a strategic marketing plan is far more important than wasting time and money on the development of an over-rated and under utilized business plan (BP).

    Alternatively, a simple, but laser focused business model is much more useful and beneficial than the run-of-the-mill BP. But that's a rant for another day.

    Despite what the experts say, a BP is primarily a sales document developed to secure funding.

    On the other hand, a marketing plan is a document designed to secure customers, provide them with the benefits they desire and to communicate to them just how much they are valued.

    The heart of any business is it's marketing plan and that is where small business owners should invest their time, money and creativity.

    Like the BP, social networking has a particular purpose and it is just one of many tools that every small business should be utilizing to communicate with its target market and the customers who populate it.

    Lastly, any small business that depends totally on social networking/marketing as its primary strategy to grow and sustain its business will not have a business for long.

    Successful and profitable business cannot be created or maintained through a short-sighted one dimensional market strategy. If you want proof of that, simply ask your customers and competitors.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 01, 2010

    Hey guys, thanks for the insightful replies. Glad you like the article. It's nice to get positive feedback from fellow marketers.

  • Business Owner 
La Crescenta Montrose, California 
Kathy Fey
    Posted by Kathy Fey, La Crescenta Montrose, California | Mar 01, 2010

    Great article! I am just getting started with promoting by business using Social Media sites. this article really heps me get things in perspective.

  • Holistic Business Coach 
Portland, Oregon 
Taylor Ellwood
    Posted by Taylor Ellwood, Portland, Oregon | Mar 02, 2010

    A Realistic and insight article about social media marketing. Thanks for sharing.

  • Logo Apparel & Promotional Products  
Portland, Oregon 
Gary Powell
    Posted by Gary Powell, Portland, Oregon | Mar 02, 2010

    This may be the most honest and realistic article that I've read recently regarding social media marketing.

  • owner & director of 
Hal Kirkop Malta 
Marjo Parascandalo
    Posted by Marjo Parascandalo, Hal Kirkop Malta | Mar 02, 2010

    To the point and very helpful.

  • Sales and Marketing Coaching 
Arden, North Carolina 
Marian Hobson
    Posted by Marian Hobson, Arden, North Carolina | Mar 02, 2010

    I am SO much in agreement!

    I have to many clients who waste precious time with social networking and don't even to bother marketing!

    It has it's merits but a "budgeted" amount of time should be put on it. If the REAL budget allows, hiring a SM service is also wise.

  • MultiMedia Producer 
Woodinville, Washington 
Amber Joy
    Posted by Amber Joy, Woodinville, Washington | Mar 03, 2010

    Very helpful. Informative and well presented. With all the buzz these days about social networking and staying connected, its great to have a clear and thorough perspective on the matter. Thanks for posting.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 03, 2010

    Thanks for all the great feedback! I felt an article like this really needed to be written. Feel free to pass this link to others you feel could benefit from this. Or you can send a link to

  • Employment Associate 
Renton, Washington 
Sergey Dunayev
    Posted by Sergey Dunayev, Renton, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Thanks for the article, Marc. Right to the point, and very useful comments!

  • Cinematographer, Film, Digital, 3D 
Seattle, Washington 
Steven Bradford
    Posted by Steven Bradford, Seattle, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    You seem to think that a blog is merely a tv show that goes out to the ether, never to be viewed again.

  • Creative Director, Owner of Hadley Media Group 
Midland, Michigan 
Trisha Hadley
    Posted by Trisha Hadley, Midland, Michigan | Mar 04, 2010

    Two words Marc — THANK YOU!! I was so glad to see your article at the top of my Biznik email, instead of the regular "Top 1000 Ways for Successful Social Networking". Your article tells the real truth that these social outlets require time, relevancy, and dedication.

  • Freelance Marketing 
Richmond, Virginia 
Jessica Bankston
    Posted by Jessica Bankston, Richmond, Virginia | Mar 04, 2010

    I was very skeptical about your headline (great strategy to get me to READ the article) but it turned out to be great and very useful. Thanks. I wouldn't completely take the word 'networking' out of social networking or marketing though, taking you point further, 'networking' is really just an element of marketing, and should/could be done so through web 2.0 as just one aspect of your social marketing plan :) I have never associated the word 'networking' with anything non-work related, if I stop to think about it. What the first 3 of 4 people in your example are doing are simply socializing.

    Curious about your statement that most 55 and olders don't use a computer. Where does that information come from? Recent reports continually state stronger statistics that the 55-65 age group is the fastest growing demographic on Facebook, and for certain industries (think active adult communities) internet marketing is a critical and proven marketing element. Not saying your statement is incorrect, just a bit confusing for me.

    But, great article, and I will pass it on and use many of your points when consulting with clients.

  • The Spacialist - Professional Organizer 
NY, New York 
Erica Ecker
    Posted by Erica Ecker, NY, New York | Mar 04, 2010

    I loved this article Marc! I re-read the title three times because I thought I had misread it at first. Such a refreshing take on Social Networking! Just what I needed this morning! Thank you - Erica

  • portrait , wedding, commercial Photographer 
Oak Harbor, Washington 
John Pendleton
    Posted by John Pendleton, Oak Harbor, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Great article. I'm new to social marketing. It present a new way of thinking.

  • Marketing coach for freelancers & consultants 
Bolingbrook/Chicago, Illinois 
Diana Schneidman
    Posted by Diana Schneidman, Bolingbrook/Chicago, Illinois | Mar 04, 2010

    I've never seen the term "social marketing" before. At least I don't think I have.

    You're right--it's generally labeled as "social networking," which is a totally inadequate label when describing an activity that is intended for business marketing.

    I'd like to see words such as "online" and "business" added to the name so that it ceases to be a jargon-y concept reserved for online marketers in the know and becomes more accessible to businesses of all types, including one-person operations and bricks-and-mortar.

  • Independent Marketing & Promotional Consultant 
Wasaga Beach, Ontario Canada 
Bill Frieday
    Posted by Bill Frieday, Wasaga Beach, Ontario Canada | Mar 04, 2010 excellent article. I have been "social marketing" for a couple of years and just now it is starting to pay off with some really nice sales.

    Another Gold Medal for Canada. Eh?

  • Sex Expert, Pleasure Coach 
San Jose, California 
Chrystal Bougon
    Posted by Chrystal Bougon, San Jose, California | Mar 04, 2010

    I agree, it's all about GIVING with social "marketing" like you said. The same is true with in person networking/marketing.

    And, now that Google indexes everything you do on your FB Fan Page, it does function much like a blog and it can drive quality traffic to your business website which hopefully converts into a sale.

    Thanks for a great article, Marc.

  • Principal/Creative Director 
Bellingham, Washington 
Ericka Bakkom
    Posted by Ericka Bakkom, Bellingham, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Kuddos Marc! The title really got my attention. Lots of juicy information ... love the Social Marketing Spin! Very relevant and well done! I can't comment on any one particular thing because it is all good. Thanks again!

  • Owner/President 
Chicago, Illinois 
Brad Miller
    Posted by Brad Miller, Chicago, Illinois | Mar 04, 2010

    The biggest reason I'm on Flicker, LinkedIn, Wordpress, Twitter, and Facebook, is for the search engines! I may been to be speaking to the online community, but really, I care mostly about Google and Yahoo!

    Being an expert...whatever. I don't care if the only visitor to my blog is a Googlebot. As long as the Googlebot visits me.

    I'm getting results and making sales, so I feel I'm using social networking, social marketing, or whatever you want to call it correctly.

    My problem is that I get caught up in the conversations and loose focus. I do enjoy the non-business part too.

  • A Spring Cleaning 
Seattle, Washington 
David Losh
    Posted by David Losh, Seattle, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Last night I was looking at a site that does marketing for Real Estate agents. One name link went to a page with nothing but social networking links.

    The web site for marketing was encouraging agents to hire them to consult on social networking, kind of like what goes on a lot at Biznik.

    In my opinion social networking is a waste of time for the majority of people. They have little or no over all strategy.

    So this is a great article that many of the Biznik consumers should pay attention to.


  • owner, online memorial art gallery 
Asheville, North Carolina 
Adrienne Crowther
    Posted by Adrienne Crowther, Asheville, North Carolina | Mar 04, 2010

    This really is a great article. What I find interesting about social marketing is took me a while to really understand the objective, the how-to's, etc. I think it's mostly an age issue. As a babyboomer, I must admit that it wasn't natural method for me, as compared to, say, my children who are in their 20's. But, like many other things, the more I did it, the more I got the hang of it. It's an interesting, albeit abstract concept.

  • Cheetah Mastermind Facilitator 
Washington D.C., D.C. 
Charlene  Draine
    Posted by Charlene Draine, Washington D.C., D.C. | Mar 04, 2010

    Whew! I agree with Ericka, in that your headline grabbed me. So, I will name the writings I post on networks as 'social marketing' when information sharing is all about the business service I provide.

    I'll be sure to focus business types of posts on networks that support business interactions, like LinkedIn, a professional networking site. Even their "groups" are useful in targeting my audience who will likely understand and can post helpful replies to my 'helpful' business information or idea.

    I'll be sure to purely socialize / mingle well on networks designed for that purpose, like Facebook - unless there is a business on Facebook "talking shop" and inviting me to chat up my business ideas, too.

    I think the networking site and the topic posted should direct the conversations. Marc, I enjoyed your Biznik article. It is posted on an appropriate network for learning. Would it have been just as successful on LinkedIn or Facebook? I think so, if it were posted within a group established to receive it well.

    We are always marketing! Like saying the right thing at the right time to the right people, I must target my posts to the right network.

  • VP, Relocation & Business Development 
Alexandria, Virginia 
Jean Sackin
    Posted by Jean Sackin, Alexandria, Virginia | Mar 04, 2010

    Super article! Social marketing vs. social networking is more than a mere matter of semantics. You nailed this one, Marc.

  • Instigator, Connector, Evangelist 
Seattle, Washington 
Joe McCarthy
    Posted by Joe McCarthy, Seattle, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    This article is a welcome antidote to all the hyperbole I've been reading over the past few days about the Small Business Index Highlights recently reported by the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business.

    I've seen lots of quotes talking about "doubling" of social media usage - from 12% to 24% - by small businesses in the last year, and references to 75% of companies having a page on a social network, 57% being on LinkedIn, and 45% expecting social media to become a profitable investment in the next year.

    However, for anyone who as actually read the report (beyond the misleading, or easily misinterpreted, executive summary), it becomes apparent that only 19% of small businesses in the sample of 500 are using social media (24% are using email marketing, which is where I think the "doubling" headline comes from, but I'm not sure). All the other percentages are percentages of that 19%, e.g., only 14% - not 75% - of small businesses have a page on a social networking site.

    My only critique of your article is that the monetary investment need not be significant - one can establish a significant presence on Twitter, Facebook and Wordpress (or other platforms in the blogosphere) for free. The real cost, as you so effectively point out, is the significant time investment required for effective engagement ... an investment often overlooked by social marketers because their own time spent on social media and social networks represents a direct investment in their own business.

    Finally, it's worth noting that while 45% of those who currently use social networks anticipate it will become profitable within the next year, it is important to note that only 22% currently find it profitable (and 19% find it unprofitable). Given that many of the sites are free, I suspect the "costs" represent social marketing consulting fees. This suggests to me that social marketers need to do a better job of not just helping get clients on social networks, but help use social networking [more] effectively.

    Thank you for bringing some much-needed sobriety and critical thinking about the true costs and potential benefits to getting involved in online social networking. Small business owners would be well served to consider these costs - and the benefits that are reasonable to expect - before jumping on the bandwagon.

  • Internet Marketing Diva 
Boston, Massachusetts 
Andrea Cinnamond
    Posted by Andrea Cinnamond, Boston, Massachusetts | Mar 04, 2010

    Thank you for your article. I totally agree that social media or social marketing is only one part of your marketing and as I read in David Losh's comments, one needs to have a strategy in place before starting out in social media. Strategy is a key component that is often forgotten in the race to build your social media presence.

    It may be that you need to have two Twitter accounts, one for person and one for your business and a Facebook fan page to promote your business and leave your personal stuff separate.

  • Alcohol and/or Food, Life Coach Support Women 
Portland, Oregon 
Teresa Rodden
    Posted by Teresa Rodden, Portland, Oregon | Mar 04, 2010

    What a great article. Very well put!

  • Public Relations Director 
Kansas City, Missouri 
Laura Woodworth
    Posted by Laura Woodworth, Kansas City, Missouri | Mar 04, 2010

    Love what you have to say, Marc. Helps bring it all into focus! We've found our social media marketing efforts to be beneficial in the area of developing better connection with the public, plus giving them a chance to voice how we are affecting their lives for the good.

    Our social media aspect is just a small part of the pie for us in public relations and marketing and we're enjoying the added benefit of getting to now people on a more face-to-face basis.

  • Partner 
Kansas City, Missouri 
josh davis
    Posted by josh davis, Kansas City, Missouri | Mar 04, 2010

    Great Article

  • Internet Marketing Diva 
Boston, Massachusetts 
Andrea Cinnamond
    Posted by Andrea Cinnamond, Boston, Massachusetts | Mar 04, 2010

    I totally agree that social media or social marketing is just one part of building your online presence. As David Losh mentioned, strategy is often forgotten when embarking into building your presence into social media. Having a strategy, timetable, and plan are key to branding yourself effectively through the various social media outlets.

  • CEO 
Frederick, Maryland 
Joe Cibula
    Posted by Joe Cibula, Frederick, Maryland | Mar 04, 2010

    Great article, Marc! Everyone should read this.

  • Experienced Realtor & Internet Marketing Consultant for Malerdez 
Monmouth Junction, New Jersey 
Audeliz Angie Perez
    Posted by Audeliz Angie Perez, Monmouth Junction, New Jersey | Mar 04, 2010

    Love IT! So many people buy into the sales pitch of social networking benefits, but they do not truly understand what to do when on social networking sites. I would even say that many fumble their way out of potential business.

    Having generated leads and closed deals from my internet presence and social networking activities, I've made a lot of mistakes and learned by doing, which is often the best teacher.

    But, then again, when I come across an article like this, I sliently laugh to myself and say: "wow, this could have helped me when I first started."

    In any case, you hit the nail right on the head! Number 1-6 is almost gospel and all I have to say AMEN! Every small business owner should read this, print it out and post it right beside their pc, which is what I am doing right now.

    Thanks Marc for sharing!

  • Graphic Designer, Web Designer, SEO 
Golden, Colorado 
Barbara Rogers
    Posted by Barbara Rogers, Golden, Colorado | Mar 04, 2010

    This was a great article and I actually loved the title. It was a "thank-god" someone has written this moment!

    Still much for me to learn - but thank you for the wisdom.

  • Seattle area Memorial/Funeral Officiant  
Seattle, Washington 
Diane Dyer
    Posted by Diane Dyer, Seattle, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Thank you, Marc. I am quite new to the whole concept...have a blog that is very unfocused at this time. However, I have instinctively used my FB strictly for "social" with only a select mention of my biz from time to time, but I plan to use Twitter strictly for biz. (no postings about what I ate for lunch!) Still learning about Linkd In...again thanks for the great article (one Canadian to another!)

  • Marketing Strategist, Author, "Minding Your Business" radio show host & Speaker 
Seattle, Washington 
Robbin Block, MBA
    Posted by Robbin Block, MBA, Seattle, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    As much as I don't like the misleading title of this article which is merely a play on semantics, I couldn't agree more on the content. My new book, "Social Persuasion: Making Sense of Social Media for Small Business" goes more in-depth on the strategic side of social media marketing.

  • Founder of PWA PN 
Coral Springs, Florida 
Carlos V Roman
    Posted by Carlos V Roman, Coral Springs, Florida | Mar 04, 2010

    Excellent Article. Can someone point me to a social marketing guide? or something like a social outreach document on how a business can create an outreach program using social marketing.

  • Blogger 
Marysville, Washington 
Kimberly Gauthier
    Posted by Kimberly Gauthier, Marysville, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    I use social networking because it's fun and to connect with other photographers. Of course, photography is a hobby more than a business and I work full time as an accountant, which I don't promote at all.

    I'm surprised more businesses aren't utilizing social networking/marketing to track how often their name is brought up. What a wonderful way to learn what people are saying about you. I wrote a blog about Comcast and was in an email exchange with their corporate office 2 hours later. I've posted about lots of companies only to have them contact me to help, give thanks, etc in less than 24 hours.

    People are holding tight onto their wallent, complaining about poor customer service, and I think the online social world is a great way to nip things in the bud.

    Great article!

  • SEO, Social Media and Community 
Seattle, Washington 
Garth O'Brien
    Posted by Garth O'Brien, Seattle, Washington | Mar 04, 2010


    Posting/contributing with regularity is key to social networking for businesses. However, if a business thinks they do not have fresh content to post or time to address that then they might as well close their doors.

    As a business you are the master of that domain; meaning you should be a subject matter expert for that service or good you are providing. You have tons of content relating to that service or good to post.

    Internet marketing and social networking are greatly linked to search engine optimization. SEO is critical if your business has a website. If you want to be found you better have a SEO plan and a good SEO plan includes social networking.

    Social networking is the best scalable approach to creating backlinks to your site which is about 40% of the SEO pie. Social networking also allows a business to reach their audience that prefers to engage via one or a handful of channels online. I have friends that love Twitter and hate Facebook and vice versa. As a business you must embrace all the top social networking platforms so you do not exclude a portion of your audience because you do not like Twitter.

    Businesses with websites, and especially those that drive leads from their websites MUST engage in social networking and it should be wrapped in their SEO plan.

  • Internet Marketing Diva 
Boston, Massachusetts 
Andrea Cinnamond
    Posted by Andrea Cinnamond, Boston, Massachusetts | Mar 04, 2010

    I am reading a great book right now called Inbound Marketing - Get Found using Google, Social Media and Blogs by Brian Halligan and Dharmesh Shah of Hubspot here in Boston (or Cambridge to be more specific). Easy to read and full of useful information. As Garth O'Brien mentioned above, posting, commenting and contributing with regularity and with lots of remarkable (to quote Inbound Marketing) content is key.

  • Web Designer/Developer 
Maplewood, Minnesota 
Bobbi Jo  Woods
    Posted by Bobbi Jo Woods, Maplewood, Minnesota | Mar 04, 2010

    Mark, this is a great article and the headline certainly grabbed my attention--because I am one of those people who is a product of being inundated for months with the message that if I'm not doing "social networking", my business is not going to succeed because this is the Internet marketing era we're in for awhile now.

    I like how you call it social "marketing" instead of "networking". That to me, makes much more sense. And while I tend to agree that ROI is a big one for most people, it's a result of social marketing that I don't always think about. In fact, I feel sort of like I've got blinders on lately and all I do is think, "How can I put this on Facebook or Twitter?" or some way to promote my blog or someone else's. I don't pick up the phone like I used to, and just call a person to chat with them about their website. I don't do much advertising in traditional media, have much to mail out and even my blog has taken a back burner spot in my marketing.

    I have also found that if I cannot find a business on Facebook or Twitter, I'm almost reluctant to bother deal ing with them as a customer or even as a prospective client. Is that sad, or what?

    I guess I keep thinking of all those stories you hear about Twitter and Facebook helping boost people's careers and businesses! Plus with the economy the way it is (I know, there IS an echo in here!), people are relying more on free and low cost marketing tactics more than ever.

    Anyway, I really liked this piece and think that I can really start applying some of these thoughts & strategies myself, and start thinking of it all as "sociial marketing"!

  • Founder, Assn of Home Professionals 
NH Seacoast, New Hampshire 
Tina Gleisner
    Posted by Tina Gleisner, NH Seacoast, New Hampshire | Mar 04, 2010

    Interesting dialog. It's interesting that people want to change the "networking" in SN. I recently wrote about SN and used analogies between SN and networking at a chamber event.

    I think the value in SNetworking is you're able to reach a much broader audience than you can locally, and if you chose ... in more narrow, focused niches which is maybe the part of SN we're not doing right yet?

    Probably Online networking better describes what we're doing when using FB, Twitter, etc to build our businesses ... but I don't think we can afford to drop the S, as "Social xxx" is where all the buzz is today.

  • President 
Chicago, Illinois 
Desiree Vargas
    Posted by Desiree Vargas, Chicago, Illinois | Mar 04, 2010

    Sorry, Marc, I have to disagree with this article a bit. At GiveForward, we're all about hugging our users and part of that means knowing when it's their birthday, friending them on Facebook, and inviting them to fun things we're doing.

    Facebook accounts for more than 40% of our traffic on our site and about the same percentage of our donations. It is also crucial to our word of mouth exposure.

    Twitter keeps us connected and in tune with others in our industry.

    The relationship on all of these sites is not push/pull but listen/share/collaborate.

    Social networking just like regular networking is an important part of any online business.

    ~Desiree President,

  • Owner, White Owl Arts 
Marysville, Washington 
Diane Wilson-simon
    Posted by Diane Wilson-simon, Marysville, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Well said. Also agree with Brad Miller's comment.

  • Web Designer/Developer 
Maplewood, Minnesota 
Bobbi Jo  Woods
    Posted by Bobbi Jo Woods, Maplewood, Minnesota | Mar 04, 2010

    Sorry I spelled your name wrong! Marc. Thanks

  • Internet Marketing, Social Media 
Highland Park, Illinois 
Noah Weiner
    Posted by Noah Weiner, Highland Park, Illinois | Mar 04, 2010

    Marc, Plenty of good stuff here. Your distinction between social networking and social marketing is well put - similar to what I've often called Communitising (

    While I would never discount the underestimation most people attribute to participating in social media, I'm not sure your minimum time requirement is spot on. Up to an hour a day might be needed for blogging, but far less is required to simply keep tabs on your brand or to devote a bit of quality "listening time.".

    Good stuff over all. Thanks for sharing.

  • Image and Wardrobe Consultant 
Burlingame, California 
Orene Kearn
    Posted by Orene Kearn, Burlingame, California | Mar 04, 2010

    You did a great job of putting social networking in perspective with all marketing. Great article.

  • Virtually Savvy - Social Media Marketing Manager 
Edmonds, Washington 
Katie Kay
    Posted by Katie Kay, Edmonds, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    I was a little put off by the title, but then I read the whole article, and I must thank you Marc! I am a virtual assistant that specializes in helping businesses set-up and maintain their sites and posting for them on their social networking/marketing sites. My clients just don't have the time to do it themselves but you absolutely have to have a presence on these sites if you are in business these days. AND, I recently read an article that we are in the very early stages of this boom, new sites pop up everyday, and this is not a fad, it is here to stay. Thanks again!

  • Senior Move Specialist 
Yakima, Washington 
Naomi Whitmore
    Posted by Naomi Whitmore, Yakima, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    I agree that social media use (social marketing, social networking, whatever you call it) is certainly not a magic bullet. It is an exceptional tool to build trust, but you still have to be there, put in the hours, and "have the chops". When I'm using social media for my business, I absolutely am trying to make friends, build trust, learn about others and how I can help them.

    My own experience is that the line between personal and business is becoming more and more blurred. It probably depends on your industry, your personality, your target market, your community, and other factors, but the old adage that "people like to do business with people they know and trust" still holds true. Social media is a huge part of that because for many, it's the #1 place we go to share and learn information, whether for our personal lives or for business. (Including the 55+ age group, which as another commenter pointed out, is the fastest growing demographic on Facebook.)

    I'm a 30 year old selling organizing services primarily to professionals aged 30-50 in a small, progressive community. Being on Facebook makes sense for me, because my target market is totally there. It might make less sense for someone selling something else. But I'm not just there as a business, I'm there as myself, and the line between those two personas isn't very distinct. And I see the trend going toward more blurring and overlapping, not away from it, as social media becomes more a part of all of our lives and the way we find and share information.

    I think about it this way too: if my customers are searching for me online, and they look for me on Facebook or Twitter, can I afford to NOT be there? If someone googles my name, what results are going to come up? Just my business stuff, or my personal stuff too? My personal online presence tells people something about me as well, and may influence their decision to do business with me. There's that line blurring again. An example: I was invited to speak about social media at a local networking brunch because a member of the group saw a note I wrote about Twitter, on my personal Facebook account (follow that? :). A few days after the meeting, I got an email from someone who had attended and wanted to hire me as an organizer. In this case the blurred line between business/personal paid off.

  • Photographer 
North Canton, Ohio 
Lee Spencer
    Posted by Lee Spencer, North Canton, Ohio | Mar 04, 2010

    Awesome Title and even better article. Thanks for sharing!

  • SOHO Tech Consultant & Trainer 
Vancouver, Washington 
Brandie Kajino
    Posted by Brandie Kajino, Vancouver, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    This is a great article. It's true that so many businesses start using social media with no plan. The song lyrics, "... lonely..." come to mind. I also like the term "social marketing", it is really more applicable.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

  • Graphic Designer 
Seattle, Washington 
Elena Johnson
    Posted by Elena Johnson, Seattle, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Thanks for posting this Marc. I'd been contemplating creating aa FB page for my business. After reading this I think I'll reconsider!

  • Graphic Designer 
Seattle, Washington 
Elena Johnson
    Posted by Elena Johnson, Seattle, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Thanks for posting this Marc. I'd been contemplating creating a FB page for my business. After reading this I think I'll reconsider!

  • Life Balance Coach and Speaker 
San Francisco, California 
Kirsten Mahoney
    Posted by Kirsten Mahoney, San Francisco, California | Mar 04, 2010

    Great article. I love the social "marketing" reframe. You are quite right.

  • Social Media Strategist/Website Designer 
Wenatchee, Washington 
Russ Alman
    Posted by Russ Alman, Wenatchee, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    @Elena: I think you may be missing the point. Social Networking/Marketing can be an amazingly effective tool -- if you do it right.

    The key, as Marc mentions, is to go into it with a strategy and a plan, just like any other type of marketing. Then you have to be willing to commit the resources to keep your social media stream maintained, active, and engaged with your prospects and customers. Whether that is your own personal, time, your marketing team's time, or outsource for help keeping it maintained, it requires commitment to make it work for your business.

  • Real Estate and Mortgage Pre Approval 
santa rosa, California 
Craig Bassignani
    Posted by Craig Bassignani, santa rosa, California | Mar 04, 2010

    Many perceive this as their last gasp attempt at some kind of web presence.

    Time vs Participation is one of the biggest obstacles

  • owner, small business marketing, online marketing 
Calgary, Alberta Canada 
John Kilbride
    Posted by John Kilbride, Calgary, Alberta Canada | Mar 04, 2010

    Hi Marc, I enjoyed the article - right in the wheelhouse of what we're constantly communicating to our clients although our message carries a twist.

    The twist that you (and your readers) may find of interest from my experiences is that yes, we have been talking about a balance between the notions of social media and social marketing, but be cautious of a common pitfall social businesses (particularly new social businesses) succumb too, which is focusing too much on the concept of "social marketing," can all too often turn your efforts into straight "push marketing" or "outbound marketing" -- which is simply old school marketing/advertising, but on a 2.0 platform.

    That's not good.

    The key is to still, as you said, identify your objectives and then deliver quality content based on those objectives. The WWW will take care of the rest. This will help you stay away from obtrusive push-marketing that so many of us loath, and leverage social media/social marketing as an "inbound marketing" strategy.

    Thanks Marc.

  • Real Estate and Mortgage Pre Approval 
santa rosa, California 
Craig Bassignani
    Posted by Craig Bassignani, santa rosa, California | Mar 04, 2010

    The old adage of "sell gold pans to the miners instead of panning yourself" for guaranteed profits still holds true.

    The Social Media sales force is in full swing

  • Wealth management for women 
Oakville, Ontario Canada 
Natalie Jamison
    Posted by Natalie Jamison, Oakville, Ontario Canada | Mar 04, 2010

    Marc, thank you for an insightful article. You also provided a lot of good tips.

    I like what you said: "Social marketing is less about what you can get and more about what you can give."

    We all know that good karma comes around eventually.

  • Strategist, Consultant, Coach 
Seattle, Washington 
Kathleen Hosfeld
    Posted by Kathleen Hosfeld, Seattle, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Hi Marc, Great article -- great headline. Several points: The term "social marketing" is a term already claimed by another set of marketing practices. These are practices that focus on nonprofits and NGOs using marketing tactics to create behavior change to solve a social problem (think teaching mothers in 3rd world countries to feed their children differently to prevent malnutrition). Social Marketing as a discpline has been around for a while. Second, when we shift to the word marketing in the context of social media, it's important that we don't lose sight of the interactive nature of the media. For many people marketing is about pushing messages out, instead of actually developing relationships with key stakeholders. This is similar to the point John made above. I wrote about this on my own blog here: Missing the Point with Social Media. Thanks.

  • Social Media Strategist/Website Designer 
Wenatchee, Washington 
Russ Alman
    Posted by Russ Alman, Wenatchee, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    @Kathleen: Well said. It's vital to understand that when you are social marketing, you are marketing in people's "personal space" and should be focused on interaction vs. push.

  • Co-Owner/Marketing Director 
Bothell, Washington 
Jody Bossert
    Posted by Jody Bossert, Bothell, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    There's a lot of talk on here about having a strategy and being prepared to commit a certain amount of time and whatnot. I agree with all that, but also want to point out that those words make it sound like work...something you truly have to put effort into. I think people take part in social networking because it's fun, and as long as you approach it from that angle with your business - fun as in the fact that you truly enjoy helping your customers and being a part of their lives - then social networking has the ability to help grow your brand in new and exciting ways. I think this all starts with being passionate about your job too. If you're passionate about what you do and enjoy sharing your passion with others, then you have a much better chance of being successful in the social networking space.

    ...and if you're not passionate about your job, then you have more important things to ask yourself than whether or not to take advantage of social networking.

  • Outsourced Human Resources Professional 
Sammamish, Washington 
Leena Hakkanen, SPHR
    Posted by Leena Hakkanen, SPHR, Sammamish, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Mark, Great article, to the point!

  • Advertising and Marketing Consultant. President of a non-commission Advertising and Marketing Agency in New Jersey 
Toms River, New Jersey 
Tom Forgione
    Posted by Tom Forgione, Toms River, New Jersey | Mar 04, 2010


    Great article. Social networking and social marketing are very different and it’s good to hear someone else saying that.

    “So many business owners jumped on the social marketing bandwagon because they felt compelled to. Yet when they finally spent the time and money to create those blog sites, they had nothing to say, no information to share, and no time to maintain it.“

    This is true for the clients that had to be “talked into it”. When you “sell” a client on making daily, weekly or monthly posts then you are doomed from the start. Whether a new or existing business owner you must get a feel for their personality and see if they have what it takes to do the work. But if they have never written anything anywhere before or if their spouse has to remind them to take the garbage out then you might be in trouble. Posting is all about making it a habit. The good news is that many of your clients will not have the time to do the work but there will be many others that will and will succeed more then their competition. As all of us have hopefully found out.

    “You are not trying to make friends, get in touch with old school chums, or keep tabs on the ex. You are trying to grow your business.”

    Personally I like to make friends with all my clients. I expect my sales consultants to do the same. So using social networking sites is a great way to have your existing customers participate in the conversation. You’ll be able to communicate with them more frequently on their time schedule and less formally. Some just don’t have the time for a phone call to chat about the weather.

    Hey Elena. Don't reconsider. make the FB fanpage. Just keep working it. I don't think that is what Marc was trying to say.


  • Brand Strategist, Marketing Coach, Speaker, Writer 
Seattle, Washington 
Maria Ross
    Posted by Maria Ross, Seattle, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Amen! Great article and great title. Been preaching this throughout to everyone that will listen: Social media (or marketing) is not a strategy, it's a tool withing the larger context of your marketing strategy and objectives. I talk about this a bit in my upcoming book Branding Basics for Small Business(coming summer 2010)

    Also, just saw this today on Twitter, showing how Facebook fan pages can work to increase actual sales. Interesting:

  • Biznik Co-founder/CEO 
Seattle, Washington 
Lara Feltin
    Posted by Lara Feltin, Seattle, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Kudos, Marc! Thank you for starting such a great conversation.

    Interesting that @David Losh was the only one who referenced Biznik in this conversation. I couldn't agree more with Marc's premise. Social networks are not a place to sell. Biznik is not a referral marketing group, it's a relationship marketing group. The two reasons to participate in Biznik is to build relationships and strengthen your reputation (which leads to establishing your expertise.)

    I believe that the difference lies in how we define "Business Networking." Facebook (Fan Pages), Linked In, Twitter, and Biznik may all be social networks on the surface (and by definition), but they're very different business networking tools.

    Facebook and Linked In are places to keep track of people you already know. The FB Fan Page was designed to reach out to your clients/customers - and their networks (people you don't know) - but the usefulness of the Fan Page updates changed when they removed your friends fan page updates from your News Feed. Linked In is an excellent contact management tool for the cubical set and corporate alumni. Keep your resume there. But the independent massage therapist and the boutique owner will tell you that they find very little value in Linked In as a networking tool. Then there's Twitter. A brilliant tool for relationship marketing but only if you can get the person you're interested in meeting to follow you, so that you can message them directly.

    Biznik is also a social network. It exposes the user to new people, provides tools for instant contact, encourages attendance at in-person events to solidify those relationships, and rewards participation in the community with increased visibility, which not only introduces you to more potential relationships, but contributes to your reputation.

    Marc said: "What every expert has forgotten to share with you (or just don’t know to) is that this is not social networking. There is in fact nothing social about it. You are not trying to make friends, get in touch with old school chums, or keep tabs on the ex. You are trying to grow your business." and "Any form of communication you perform on behalf of your business is a form of marketing."

    I disagree. Relationship/social marketing is a very viable form of business networking and is dependent on establishing relationships with other independent business people in a social environment (both online and in-person.) I believe there is a place for social networking (that's not marketing.) When business relationships with other business people lead to inspiration, new ideas, introductions to contractors, resources, collaborative opportunities and support, is it still considered "marketing"? What if you fail to identify your business and the product/service your business sells, and approach the relationship simply as an "independent business owner"?

    I believe social networking (without the marketing aspect) is imperative for the success of a micropreneur experiencing isolation or invisibility.

  • Professional Development Services 
Leesburg, Virginia 
Gwendolyn Ward
    Posted by Gwendolyn Ward, Leesburg, Virginia | Mar 04, 2010

    Great post and cogent points!

  • Washington Federal Assistant Manager 
Bellingham, Washington 
Susan Templeton
    Posted by Susan Templeton, Bellingham, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Marc, I have been using FAcebook to reconnect with old friends and slip in business news. To which no one has expressed much very few comments. I was told by one friend to cut that out...we are just 'social here'. So there is a distinct disconnect with people who talk about work on Facebook.

    In addition, my facebook friends list was hacked when I opened a facebook mail message from a 'trusted friend'. I am now in the enviable positioin of alerting all my friends that if they receive a facebook email from 'me' with a youtube link that it is a nasty virus. How great for business is that? NOT. Alsrtign people has had a very mixed result...some call me alarmed to think their confidential stuff is 'out there' when in fact if they exist on facebook all KINDS of confidential stuff is 'out there'...that horse left the barn the minute you created your page.

    Now I have damage control to my brand (as a holder of confidential information on my server) in addition to a technical bill to clean up my system. Thanks a lot facebook. I have alerted them and they have not bothered to respond.

    How you respond to a crisis says alot about your actual concern. It was NOT how I had chosed to reconnect with my prospects.

  • Business Consultant 
Long Beach, California 
Laura Baker
    Posted by Laura Baker, Long Beach, California | Mar 04, 2010

    Great article! I really enjoyed the heading as well as the points that you made. I agree you get what you put into it. Thank you!

  • Managing Broker | Residential Real Estate 
Bellevue, Washington 
Marika  A
    Posted by Marika A, Bellevue, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    I liked the term 'Social Marketing'. Much needed one. There is a lot of confusion about how to use social tools and it creates a tremendous amount of clutter on the net. I wish everybody who gets into social networking or marketing would read articles like yours.
    Just because most of the social networking interfaces are very user friendly and accounts are easy to establish – doesn’t mean we should jump into it without prior education. So thank you for your great contribution! I would love to re-tweet your article as well, please send me a link to @marikarealtor. Have a good day!

  • Managing Broker | Residential Real Estate 
Bellevue, Washington 
Marika  A
    Posted by Marika A, Bellevue, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    I just RT'd your article, so no need to send me a link. Thank you!

  • Founder - Senior Wellness  Resource Site 
Port Murray, New Jersey 
Stan Cohen
    Posted by Stan Cohen, Port Murray, New Jersey | Mar 04, 2010

    Great article Marc - like one of my associates said: "don't confuse social media with social networking"

    Face to face or over the phone person to person is the original social networking - the media is just a tool to shout out to let other know you exist.

  • Accounts Receivable Consultant 
Ann Arbor, Michigan 
Ron Priebe
    Posted by Ron Priebe, Ann Arbor, Michigan | Mar 04, 2010

    Social Networking is even tougher I would imagine in the B2B world. I appreciated your insight.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 04, 2010

    WOW! It’s 3:30pm EST and the article just hit 4200 views. I knew this article would resonate with people but had no idea it would turn into what it has. Beyond Biznik, the original article has been viewed on my site over 900 times through a number of Linked In groups and people twittering. Could this be the Avatar of articles (avarticle?).

    So I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read it and post a response. I love reading them.

    I just want to take a sec to address two things: first, my reference about the hairdresser. This was based on an actually informal survey I did at my own hairdresser. Most of the clients are female around age 65 plus. (don’t ask me why I go there) One busy day I asked the clients if they heard of FaceBook, Twitter or Linked In (okay, and Biznik). They laughed and told me their grandchildren “twitted” all the time. None of them had emails of their own. So for those of you who commented about the 55+ age group being the fastest growing segment of Facebook – you got me. I meant to say 65+.

    Second, I’m not trying to turn anyone off of social marketing (networking). As a marketing consultant first and a speaker/writer second, I thought it was important for business people to understand where social marketing fit in to the great big “build you business” equation. Does social marketing work? I would say yes, if done right. And I would give the same answer if someone asked me if direct mail works, or if walking down the street with a sandwich board works.

    Social marketing is but one dish in the buffet of marketing. Don’t over do it, enjoy it. Mix it up with other things like print, internal marketing, promotions, PR and more. What combination will work for you? No one can answer that. Not even you… yet. That’s why it’s important to keep your goals realistic, you patience in check, and your ideas flowing.

    So in an obvious example of self promotion, you can follow me on twitter at, or watch me rant in real time at

    Do I smell a sequel?

  • business consultant 
Boston, Massachusetts 
Mari Anne  Snow
    Posted by Mari Anne Snow, Boston, Massachusetts | Mar 04, 2010

    Agreed, agreed, agreed. But vernacular aside, noone has talked about the power of the virtual tools available for entrepreneurial bootstrappers like me. As a former corporate executive I had a great deal of technology at my fingertips to touch a global network. When I left that world to launch my own venture, I was amazed at my ability to replicate my connectivity through (in many cases) free virtual tools.

    How does this fit with Marc's point? "Social Media' is a broad umbrella that really means nothing, it is a concept spread by word of mouth....everyone knows that it is all about connecting and collaborating because someone at some point told them and then asked them to RT. No one is an "expert" and yet everyone is an "expert".

    The rules are still forming and just when you think you have a handle on it, the game changes. It's easy to rail against any who gives advice because advice goes in and out of fashion instantly. Since this is really the wild, wild west, everything is ambiguous and ephemeral. It's wrong to focus on what happened in the past as things morph almost daily. Appreciate we are writing the rules as we go.

    This said, I think Marc presents a pretty common sense point of view on the best ways to utilize these new tools. The virtual business phenomenon is creating a "social networking" economy that exists along side social networks of teenagers and grandparents. It will be interesting to see what it all looks like once Facebook integrates with Paypal and online retail businesses have access to 400M+ unique users who are quite specifically defining their retail preferences for the world to see.

    Business has always been conducted formally and informally - a country club, a golf game, a dinner invitation, the business lunch, Rotary. But the social networking club is the least exclusive of all time. Call it what you will, smart business people have always blurred the lines a bit between social and business. And networking has always been hard work. Not surprisingly, nothing is getting easier in this new world even if it is getting more interesting.

  • Small Business SEO Expert 
Boulder, Colorado 
Reid Peterson
    Posted by Reid Peterson, Boulder, Colorado | Mar 04, 2010

    Marc, you nailed it. Thank you. Unfortunately or not, search engines are now showing real time results, which are posts mostly made in Twitter. This gives businesses reason to social network (but I agree with you - should be social marketing) so that their SEO is maximized.

    To support your claim, social networking is a two-way conversation, and NOT pitching your products or services.

  • VP of Marketing 
Keller, Texas 
Erica Hesley
    Posted by Erica Hesley, Keller, Texas | Mar 04, 2010

    Enjoyed the article and happy to see that you are getting such great feedback!

  • SEO Copywriter 
Portland, Oregon 
Larque Goodson
    Posted by Larque Goodson, Portland, Oregon | Mar 04, 2010

    Mark, I was also drawn in by your headline. I just returned from a public relations workshop in which social marketing strategy for storytelling and networking was discussed. Your article illustrates proper use and expectations! Another attendee made a great point that coincides with your article. When networking - in person or in social media - it's more important to be "interested" than "interesting." (IE: listen first, talk later) None of these tools are relevant unless we seek first to know our customers and their pain. The PR world crafts messages around the question "Who cares?" As your article states, social media users should ask themselves that question prior to posting and then they'd know if they are chatting with friends or marketing to clients. Thanks for the great article.

  • Social Media/PR professional 
Chicago, Illinois 
Jay Rodriguez
    Posted by Jay Rodriguez, Chicago, Illinois | Mar 04, 2010

    Great article! Wasn't sure if I was going to like it too much when I first saw the headline!

    Your message is our clear message. You need to know WHY you're on Twitter, WHY facebook, etc. The difference is having a presence and not a purpose. Without a purpose, you're efforts are all for naught.

    Jay Rodriguez

  • Owner & Principal Architect Atelier08 architecture 
Scottsdale, Arizona 
Armin Widmann
    Posted by Armin Widmann, Scottsdale, Arizona | Mar 04, 2010

    Great dissertation about social marketing!

  • Professional Storyteller/Teaching Artist/Web Researcher 
East Freetown, Massachusetts 
Karen Chace
    Posted by Karen Chace, East Freetown, Massachusetts | Mar 04, 2010

    Hi Marc,

    Great article and I agree with your points except the one about the over 50 set and Facebook. I am 50+ as are many of my colleagues and the vast majority use Facebook, Plaxo, Linked In, Twitter, etc.

    Recently, I spoke with a marketing class at the local university. One of the students made the same comment during his presentation. When I rose to speak I mentioned I had posted my handout for them on my blog and at Facebook. Interesting moment for them.

    I try to keep up with my blog as much as possible offering research links to my business colleagues as well as those with a casual interest. I also pass on information via Facebook on business practices, performances, events, etc. (I am a professional storyteller/teaching artist and researcher.)

    There are many valuable tools at our disposable. We should not ignore any potential clients because of a perceived generation and/or technology gap. Many of us keep up with the pace and some even set the pace!

    Karen Chace

  • Strategic Graphic Designer 
Winchester, Massachusetts 
Kevin McLeod
    Posted by Kevin McLeod, Winchester, Massachusetts | Mar 04, 2010

    Well done Marc. Perhaps the word "Social" is the misused part of the phrase? Or, Social Networking is correct for examples 1, 2 and 3, but for business we need a new term? Interactive Marketing? Perhaps Seth Godin once again had it right with "Permission Marketing". In any event, if we change the term, then all of the new "Social Media Experts" will need to print new business cards. Thanks for your insights. Kevin

  • Retail and Small Business Coach 
Richmond Hill, Ontario Canada 
Doron Levy
    Posted by Doron Levy, Richmond Hill, Ontario Canada | Mar 04, 2010

    Sorry Marc, your article is way off base.

    It's a proven fact that you can grow your business through social network marketing. And yes, that's what it is called because that is what it is. You are networking through social media sites. Last time I checked, networking was a form of marketing. It doesn't matter if you are using social media sites to post pictures of your dog or gerbil or are twittering about recent changes to employement law. You are still social network marketing. The gerbil won't get you new business but your knowledge of employment law might. And judging by all the replies here, I would say most of the Biznik community understands that.

    The grammar was really good though.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 04, 2010

    Hey Doron,

    Glad you took the time to post. I hope you understand that this is not about the actions, but the intent. And the intent will influence what you post, where you post, and why you post.

    FYI my wife proof read the article.

  • Eastside's Finest Home Remodeler 
Kirkland, Washington 
Len McAdams
    Posted by Len McAdams, Kirkland, Washington | Mar 04, 2010

    Great Post and look at the responses! I'm really impressed with the attention and thinking hard about how to capitalize on your success!

    Len McAdams /

  • Insurance 
Gueph, Ontario Canada 
Jordan Kovats
    Posted by Jordan Kovats, Gueph, Ontario Canada | Mar 04, 2010

    I agree. With Social Networking, you have to be in a position to give, give, give, add value, add content, add insight, long before you get.

  • Retail and Small Business Coach 
Richmond Hill, Ontario Canada 
Doron Levy
    Posted by Doron Levy, Richmond Hill, Ontario Canada | Mar 04, 2010

    Anytime Marc. I think it's important to let people know when they are wrong.

    You haven't told us why social network marketing isn't social and can't be called social network marketing. I consider Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo and Biznik social networks. And we try to build our business through those networks. Plus, about a billion people call it that so please tell me and our network why its not social and why it can't be called social network marketing.

    Social network marketers and business card designers await your response....

  • Book coach, author, speaker, internet marketer 
La Mesa, California 
Judy Cullins
    Posted by Judy Cullins, La Mesa, California | Mar 04, 2010

    Thanks Marc. No matter the name, it's working for me, especially since I put up a blog to have my LI and FB fans come to for almost daily fresh information on book writing, book promotion platform (with socia M) at my site. It is give, give, give, but look at the results!

    My unique visitor traffic is up 25% from LI and FB since I put it all together and 15 new clients came this month for Social M coaching. And increasing because, I check with Google Analytics each month, which marketing works the best.

    These are some questions I answer for the 1/2 hour coaching on Social M. 1. Where do I start? 2. What are the best tactics to use for my purpose? with hand-holding. 3. How do I measure its effectiveness?

    It may be the new kid on the block, but it can do wonders for getting your best audience, not lookie loos, to your site where your copy does the rest. Connect with me at LI at

  • Virtual Assistant 
Ellenton, Florida 
Janine  Gregor
    Posted by Janine Gregor, Ellenton, Florida | Mar 04, 2010

    Very insightful article, Marc! Thank you. Love the title.

    As a virtual assistant helping small business owners to set up social networking, uh, marketing sites, I was slammed last year by clients who insisted upon having a Twitter account and a blog. I set up some great blogs but now the blogs just sit. I tried to explain that having a Twitter and a blog was more than just printing these urls on business cards. But all they wanted was the bragging rights just to say they 'had' these types of accounts.

    For those clients who actually listened to me and understood what social marketing was really about have done well. We connect daily. I set up their tweets, forward important DMs, scan for important tweets, take a blog piece and enhance their thoughts and post to their sites and so on.

    Those who just paid me to put up a blog are still scratching their heads.

    Janine Gregor Marketing Virtual Assistant

  • Online Advertising Professional 
Spokane, Washington 
Chris Reilly
    Posted by Chris Reilly, Spokane, Washington | Mar 05, 2010

    Well folks, we all clicked on this audacious headline... Marc certainly struck a chord with us.

    I think this is a travesty to be spreading discouragement about social media when it has clearly been a successful platform for your business.

    Agreed that social media takes time and effort, and shouldn't be engaged in until there is full commitment. But that is about all I agree with. The promise of social media isn't that it creates good vibes with potential clients... its that it DRIVES TRAFFIC TO YOUR SITE. Free traffic. It is essentially spending time and effort to get free traffic rather than paying for SEO, PPC, and Display Ads.

    In that context, it works very well, especially for those with big ideas and small budgets. For those with small ideas- it will never be a good fit.

    If your social media efforts don't lead back to a good website with a great conversion funnel, it will also never be a good fit- but that is true for PPC, SEO, and all other forms of online marketing.

    For example, I was intrigued by Janine Gregor's comment above, so I clicked on her link (great social marketing work Janine). I went to the social media marketing page and was looking for some pricing which I didn't find. I then looked for a way on that page to get a quote- no link, just a newsletter signup box at the bottom. After about another 15 seconds I decided to come back here.

    With PPC, that click could have cost $1.50. With Social Media, it cost her the value of her time to make the comment divided by the number of clicks she got. If for example she bills $30/hour and it took 10 minutes to read the article and make the comment, and the link was clicked 10 times, that click cost $.50. Not bad. By the way, social media traffic converts REALLY WELL.

    The ROI for social media is extremely clear if you have a disciplined program and measure it to the same standards as other marketing efforts- it just isn't as easy to understand.

    Social Marketing as you call it is just another tool in a marketer's arsenal, but just like SEO, PPC, direct mail, TV, or any other marketing effort on the planet: quality of execution determines level of success.

  • Dental Office Business Mgr 
Bellevue, Washington 
Gil Pauley
    Posted by Gil Pauley, Bellevue, Washington | Mar 05, 2010

    Marc, great article. The title was a great "misdirection" draw I must admit. But I like your term "social Marketing". I see value in social networking with some people that you can exchange ideas and learn new techniques. However, it really is about marketing with the exception of a few friends that you like to stay in touch with. The biggest advantages that I see in belonging to Digg, Delicious, Stumbleupon, Mixx, ect. is that your blog posts go out to more eyes who may link to your site in a few cases or post a comment on your blog and that the back links from these social sites can help improve your PR and standing with the major three search engines (Google, Yahoo, and Bing). This can help you either climb up their ranking lists or it can assist you to stay at or near the top of the lists for your chosen Key Words. This gives you a variety of back link sources which makes for a more natural appearing linking profile to your website. Gil Pauley

  • Retail Marketing Consultant 
Buchanan Dam, Texas 
John  Young
    Posted by John Young, Buchanan Dam, Texas | Mar 05, 2010

    Hi Marc, As a consultant to many off and online small businesses, I find they have a tendency to rush toward social marketing but do not have a foundation in place to market to their existing customer base.

    I think the small business owner would be much better off have the name and contact information including physical address, telephone number, and email address.

    Build a relationship with your customers is critical to building a successful business. That's not to say social interaction doesn't have it's place but it's sort of hit or miss like advertising in the paper.

    It's not hit or miss if your customer gets a "thank you" card in the mail with a coupon for their next visit.

    It's not hit or miss if you send out a newsletter by email with a link to your blog giving you "The Top 3 Things You Can Do To Make Your Transmission Last Twice As Long".

    Twitter is has so much chatter and good information that if your customer isn't watching at the moment it comes up, you're out of luck.

    Facebook is great for catching up with old friends and customers but wouldn't it be better if they were in your place of business asking you for advice or making purchases from you while you explained the benefits of what you have to offer?

    If you want to build a fence around your customers it has to be more than casual because a business is competing for every dollar out there, not just with other businesses in your niche.

    Insights on my blog:

  • Website Usability Expert 
Portland, Oregon 
Nina Vaught
    Posted by Nina Vaught, Portland, Oregon | Mar 05, 2010

    Great article Marc. However, I do have to disagree with the facts in your sample #4 (hair salon). Your statement that most people over 55 aren't on the Internet is a gross misstatement. It's a pretty common mistake to make unwarranted assumptions and discount the older generation market. Recent statistics indicate a very high Internet presence of users. The annual Internet Survey for the Digital future by the Pew Research Center says 70% of people between 50 & 64 are on the Internet and other studies I've seen agree.

    The primary point I make to my clients with regard to social marketing is to know "where" your target users are engaging in social media venues and go there. Don't just jump in all over the place.

    Nina Vaught

  • Audio Narration specialist 
Yarmouth, Maine 
Kymberly Dakin-Neal
    Posted by Kymberly Dakin-Neal, Yarmouth, Maine | Mar 05, 2010

    Finally! Some perspective! I can stop beating myself up for not committing X amount of time per week to Twitter, Facebook et al. I don't have to throw it out, but yes - discerning use makes the difference. Thank You!

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 05, 2010

    More great comments! Keep them coming. You guys have given me some great ideas for my next article.

  • Owner / Author 
Farmington, Minnesota 
Michael Kearney
    Posted by Michael Kearney, Farmington, Minnesota | Mar 05, 2010

    I believe the time commitment is what ends up turning most people off from continuing to build their networks. Folks I talk to that do not use social sites at all glaze over when I talk about the nuts and bolts of updating sites, content, blogs... the list goes on.

    Researching where your clients are before you go to 2 dozen blog sites and invest time into the marketing, make sure you have at least an hour or two a day to keep up the content... or get more staff ; ) Thanks for the great article!

  • Electrical Process Control Systems Engineer 
Saint Paul, Minnesota 
Harold Ennulat
    Posted by Harold Ennulat, Saint Paul, Minnesota | Mar 05, 2010

    Geez!, it took me forever to get through all the comments so I can get my 2 cents in. :-)

    Lot's of great comments here.

    The title of this article certainly was attention getting. The content however didn't shake me up as much as the title leads me to believe.

    The distinction between social networking and social marketing was an interesting one, even an important one. I found it significant to the point of adding a link to your article from my blog.

    However several cementers did not seem to care what you called it, saying basically we mean the same thing. Some cementers made their case for both types of social media distinctions being valuable to business activities.

    I'll be looking for that follow up article you mentioned.

    Welcome to Biznik!

  • Portrait Photographer 
Stanwood, Washington 
Indy Behrendt
    Posted by Indy Behrendt, Stanwood, Washington | Mar 05, 2010

    The article very sucinctly says what I have found; it's too time consuming to do all that extra computer time. I'm a photographer and I find my best marketing is happy clients...and happy clients are the result of Hard work and attention to detail, I have to exceed expectations and the client will refer friends and best of all be a repeat customer...which most marketers will tell you that you will spend more getting a new client that keeping the ones you have...

  • Social Marketing Consultant 
Los Angeles, California 
Nedra Weinreich
    Posted by Nedra Weinreich, Los Angeles, California | Mar 05, 2010

    Your premise is definitely correct. However, as a social marketer since 1992 (with the original definition Kathleen noted - marketing health and social issues), I cringed when I saw you are encouraging people to use the term "social marketing" to describe these activities. Social marketing is a field that's been around since 1971, with a well-established research and practice base, journals, conferences, books and many many people who already call themselves "social marketers."

    Unfortunately, for the past 5 or so years, people who are doing marketing via social media have co-opted the term "social marketing" and sowed quite a bit of confusion for people on both sides of the term. Now both usages are competing for Google juice and attention, and it's not clear anymore what people are talking about when they use the term. Since I do social media marketing within the context of social marketing programs, it gets even more confusing for people.

    Here's the first of many blog posts I and others have written on this issue over the past several years for more info:

    I hope you'll consider using a different term, which would help clarify things for everyone. It's not just semantics.

    Nedra Weinreich

  • Marketing Management 
Snohomish, Washington 
Ruthann Tobiason
    Posted by Ruthann Tobiason, Snohomish, Washington | Mar 05, 2010

    I agree with the general assessment of all the readers, and I also didn't know that social marketing is a term and a field already used to represent social and health issues. I'm glad to be aware that I've been using the term inappropriately.

    Anyway - shared the article with a business owner friend of mind who needs a high level understanding of social networking. It's perfect for the person who needs to know enough in order to provide direction to their marketing team, but doesn't have time for the finer details.

  • Book coach, author, speaker, internet marketer 
La Mesa, California 
Judy Cullins
    Posted by Judy Cullins, La Mesa, California | Mar 05, 2010

    Just a thought about spending too much time on social media marketing?

    If your purpose is to attract new clients, then why wouldn't you reach them where they hang out? For my book and social media marketing audiences, I find them at Liinkedin, and spend less than an hour exchanging business comments every other day, and only 1 hour day creating new content that brings my small business audience to my site's blog and free reports to see more of what I can do for them.

    The rest? I delegate to my webmaster and Virtual Assistant. It's working well.

  • Executive Clothier 
Bothelll, Washington 
Bill Hoffer
    Posted by Bill Hoffer, Bothelll, Washington | Mar 07, 2010

    Great information and awareness. I am dealing with that issue at this moment, so i found it very relevant and a reason to take action. We find ourselves in a very changing environment with the technology and the economy. I'm using this time as an opportunity to rethink and re-evaluate how I reach my audience. Marc, thanks for sharing and I hope to hear more from you on this and other topics.

  • Seattle Chiropractor 
Seattle, Washington 
Graeme Gibson
    Posted by Graeme Gibson, Seattle, Washington | Mar 08, 2010

    I have felt odd posting any health information to my facebook page, but do recognize its relevance when it comes to marketing.

    I created a fan page for my office instead, and hopefully the people who join it understand that they will be receiving information about health, and wellness from it.

    Great tips.

  • CPA 
Pearl River, New York 
Chris Haviaris
    Posted by Chris Haviaris, Pearl River, New York | Mar 08, 2010

    It's so ironic that an article with a title that would at first glance appear to be denouncing the use of social media for marketing, got me to follow you on twitter!

    Agree with your premise and glad you tricked me into reading it! I've had enough of the articles that make me feel my business will never be off the ground if I'm not spending hours a day writing and tweeting....I read your article half hoping to find permission to opt out.

    Instead I found my way back to what I've known all along: 2) Success in anything is about relationship, integrity, and making the best use of all the tools at your disposal, and 2) there are no magic formulas. Thanks for the reminder. Nicely done.

  • Design Consultant 
Manassas, Virginia 
Jesicca Thompson
    Posted by Jesicca Thompson, Manassas, Virginia | Mar 08, 2010

    Great post. Title was really compelling, it made me click on it. Good job.

    I agree that its more of social marketing than networking.

  • Blogging Coach and Copywriter 
Seattle, Washington 
Judy Dunn
    Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington | Mar 08, 2010

    So much to comment on here. You have quite a discussion going.

    As a copywriter, unlike other readers, I didn't appreciate your headline. I know why you wrote it that way, but you set your readers up for one thing and delivered something else. Comments like, "You tricked me into reading your article" say to me that you did not follow through on your promise. And your headline is making a promise: "Here, this is what I'm going to be expanding on. Here is what you'll get from this piece of content."

    That aside, when you spend so much time on "social networking" vs. "social marketing," personally, I think you are splitting hairs. It is true that the marketing community uses these terms in different ways and it gets confusing.

    The term "social networking" is redundant in and of itself because ALL networking is social, whether it is online or off. We don't say, "I went to a Chamber of Commerce social networking event last night." We say, "I went to a Chamber networking event."

    I am comfortable with the term "social media marketing." And, as far as my goals go, I look at a "positive return" in a much broader way than making a direct sale. I am a fan of relationship marketing and social media is a great tool for that. I have been invited to write guest posts on some influential blogs. We are collaborating with colleagues we met online and have developed several promising partnerships. We have been able to prove our credibility which, in fact, has lead to new projects and clients.

    Having been in business for 17 years, I have seen marketing trends come and go, but I like social media because it IS social, it does build relationships and it allows me to engage with prospects and customers, unlike a Yellow Page ad. So, to make a short story long, I see marketing as the big umbrella with networking and social media marketing under it.

    I think that your six tips are good, except, perhaps, for #4, which seems a bit stereotypical. Don't discount the Baby Boomers. They are smart and have always been willing to try new things. :-)

    Thanks for getting this great discussion going, Marc.

  • Executive Clothier 
Bothelll, Washington 
Bill Hoffer
    Posted by Bill Hoffer, Bothelll, Washington | Mar 08, 2010

    Judy.......have you ever heard the phrase "don't judge a book by its cover"? He got my attention and that was his objective. You can choose to leave and not finish the article at any point if it is not worthy. Don't judge an article solely on its title.

    I do agree with you about relationship marketing. We are taught much too often to measure success in terms of $$. I prefer to think of relationship capital as much more valuable than financial or mental capital. I learn something new, everyday from others, in the form of mental capital. That and the financial are a direct result of the relationships we build and maintain.

    Marketing is different things to different businesses. I've tried a lot of strategies and feel that social marketing works as good as any.

  • Blogging Coach and Copywriter 
Seattle, Washington 
Judy Dunn
    Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington | Mar 09, 2010

    Hey, Bill. Why would I judge an article solely by its title? That's silly. I read the whole thing. I commented.

    Just speaking as a copywriter. I'm all for catchy headlines (if you look at my Biznik articles) and know the importance of grabbing the attention of the reader. But a headline makes a promise to the reader and should never leave her feeling tricked. I felt deceived. That's all I'm saying.

    Obviously, there were lots of other important ideas in the article, once I got past the headline.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 09, 2010

    Hey kids, be nice. Judy, as a fellow marketer, I thought you would appreciate the article title on many levels.

    I have learned a lot about how people react. Look for a follow up to this article coming soon to Biznik and an episode to air on

  • Blogging Coach and Copywriter 
Seattle, Washington 
Judy Dunn
    Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington | Mar 09, 2010


    The things I have liked the most about Biznik for the last two years are the give and take and the lively discussions, especially when a new article is published. I love the debate! (I thought we WERE being nice.) : -)

    Sorry to disagree on the title, but it did seem to be a little bit of of a bait and switch. But that's just me. Every reader is entitled to their own opinion.

    I think that we are spending too much time on the headline. What you had to say in the article was way more important. I love hearing all the different takes on this topic. Thanks for writing this article.

  • Social Media Strategist/Website Designer 
Wenatchee, Washington 
Russ Alman
    Posted by Russ Alman, Wenatchee, Washington | Mar 09, 2010

    Judy, I agree with you for the most part, but I have to say that the only reason I clicked through on the article from the email blast was the title. There are so many people writing articles on why social media marketing is good for business that honestly I would have probably skipped over it had it not been for the title. The fact that Marc sort of tricked me into reading the article made me analyze it more carefully and critically. I thought it was a pretty original thing to do.

    On another note, I was doing some research for my own business yesterday because I'm trying to define what exactly it is that my company does to update our business plan. I discovered that the term "social marketing," as it was originally coined by Philip Kotler in the 1970's, has very little to do with how we've been defining it lately. Read this article and you'll see what I mean:

    Technically what we are talking about is "online relationship marketing," although now that the "social media" moniker has stuck, I guess the term "social media marketing" applies. I had no idea the term had been hijacked :)

    I do believe that there is a fuzzy line between social media marketing and social media networking, just as there is between offline marketing and networking. People don't like being "sold" to in their private space. I've actually been cleaning up my online social media streams so that my personal stream and business stream are more clearly defined, but have just enough interaction between the two that I can remind people what I do for a living.

    For example, on Facebook, I have cut back on the amount of directly work-related things that I post on my personal wall, and keep most of that routed to my business fan pages. However, I will occasionally mark that I "like" something on my fan pages so that they link over to my personal wall. Since I've started using this strategy, I noticed a lot more interaction on my personal wall because people don't feel like I'm marketing to them there anymore. At the same time, they are following my fan pages -- I know because they often come up as topics of conversation at business networking events.

    I could go into more detail on this strategy with multiple social media sites, but then I wouldn't have any "secret sauce" to add to our social media marketing programs... :)

    Anyway, I really appreciate this lively discussion. It's been enjoyable to watch. And again, kudos to Marc for hitting a nerve. Over 8,000 views in just a few days is awesome!

  • Executive Clothier 
Bothelll, Washington 
Bill Hoffer
    Posted by Bill Hoffer, Bothelll, Washington | Mar 09, 2010

    8000 views...........speaks for itself

  • Virtual Assistant 
Ellenton, Florida 
Janine  Gregor
    Posted by Janine Gregor, Ellenton, Florida | Mar 09, 2010

    Wanted to jump back in on this excellent discussion regarding Judy's comments about the misleading title.

    Yes, it is true that I might not have read this article had it been titled truthfully but does the means justify the end?

    Have we gotten so over-marketed that titles to articles have to be misleading in order to get us to read them?

    I don't like having been 'tricked' into reading something totally different than what the title expounds. But it also human nature to rationalize so that we can make sense of our behaviors. So for many here, it was OK to be tricked by the title because in the end, being tricked was well-worth having read the excellent quality in the article.

    It is like going into a car dealership for a car advertised for $5,000 only to find that the dealer has sold out of that model. However, the dealer shows me another car which I perceive as being a good deal and I buy it. So even though I was tricked into walking into the dealer under a different premise, I walked out with a deal I was satisfied with and therefore not upset with having been 'baited and switched'. (I know that the car dealership example is cliche.)

    This type of marketing is not tolerated in most businesses but apparently is acceptable in article writing. And, in the end, well-worth taking the risk (if perceived as a risk) because your readers have been satisfied with the contents of the article.

    Marc, I don't know how many articles you can write with misleading titles before your readers 'catch on'. Perhaps it may never happen; your reputation never marred and you may even become famous for this 'trick'!

    Anything is possible!

    My two cents...article was indeed great!

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 09, 2010

    Great point Janine! I don't think the title is misleading, but I was aware it would garner some attention (but not this much). My next article will be looking at this whole name thing and what we can really take away from it. As for the title, you'll just have to wait for it.

  • Virtual Assistant 
Ellenton, Florida 
Janine  Gregor
    Posted by Janine Gregor, Ellenton, Florida | Mar 09, 2010


    You've prompted me to write a blog on this topic. I think other virtual assistants would be interested.

    Thanks for the thought-provoking discussion.

    Looking forward to your next piece :)


  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 09, 2010


    Glad I could be a source of inspiration for you.

  • Owner & Sole Member - Civil Split LLC 
San Mateo, California 
Sandy Rivers
    Posted by Sandy Rivers, San Mateo, California | Mar 09, 2010

    Hi Marc-

    As the "lonely blog" who "felt compelled"...let me just write a big "THANK YOU". I had no clue or idea what this was all about, the wallflower who didn't know there was a good reason to socialize on these sites - so that I could Market and not have to Network.

    I get it!

  • spa / hot tub dealer 
Ogden, Utah 
Kasey LaRose
    Posted by Kasey LaRose, Ogden, Utah | Mar 09, 2010

    Great article Marc!

    This really hits home in the Hot Tub industry, which is definitely behind in the technology department. I just went to a big 4-day meeting and one of the major topics, as always, is social media and how everyone needs to "take advantage" of this recent trend. It was like "social media 101" and I just watched as people's mouths were gaping open while the most basic functions of social media were discussed for the first time. But they were told, "You have to have a blog, you have to be on Twitter and Facebook." The truth is, nearly all of these people are not going to update a blog or twitter account, and if they do, it will only be to peddle products or discounts to products.

    You definitely hit the nail on the head, we need to start calling it what it is – Social Marketing.

  • Writing & Publishing Coach, Business & Marketing Consultant 
Bellevue, Washington 
Deborah Drake
    Posted by Deborah Drake, Bellevue, Washington | Mar 10, 2010


    What makes this article so superb and all the more memorable, above and beyond the rich and thoughtfully presented content (in my humble opinion) is the array and abundance of comments it catalyzed. And the variety of cities represented with Biznik members!

    I appreciate the energy felt as I read your article and thereafter each and every comment made. I wouldn't want to be the one challenged to diagram this conversational flow....LOL!

    Looking forward to the promised follow up and THAT too is what being Social, as we Network and Market, is all about....In other words, may our actions and contributions inspire interest in following up both in and outside of cyberspace.

    Here is hoping some valueable and values offline conversations result for people within this dialogue as well.

    Deborah Drake - Catalyst & Enrollment Specialist

    Making connections that cause business to occur is my passion.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 10, 2010


    Thanks for the wonderful message. Yes, the dialogue this article has inspired is a true testament to the desire of Biznik members to succeed in a world that sometimes moves just too fast.

    I have already started the follow up article, inspired in large part by the comments posted here. In the meantime, catch me at

  • Internet Marketing & Website Analyst 
Woodinville, Washington 
Joe Leonard
    Posted by Joe Leonard, Woodinville, Washington | Mar 14, 2010

    Our startup association has been giving a lot of seminars and talks on the value of social networking.

    Many people agree with the inportance. But they feel that they don't have to time to be constantly keeping their blog, Twitter, FaceBook, etc. up-to-date. Sometimes they forget and other times they just don't know what to say. Frankly, they'd rather concentrate on running their own business than set aside time each day for social networking.

    So lately we have been doing the work for them.

  • Coworking, Office Space and Meeting Rooms / Strategic and Business Planning Consultant 
Issaquah, Washington 
Richard Gabel
    Posted by Richard Gabel, Issaquah, Washington | Mar 17, 2010


    Great article. Obviously everyone that has commented is investing a considerable amount of time in social media. You given us all a heads-up to remember why were here. Biznik is very upfront on what it's all about:

    Building Relationships

    Strengthening Our Reputation

    Investing in Our Social Capital

    That and creating a massive dose of Google Juice.

    Thanks for taking the time to write the article.

  • Communications Coach 
Stoughton, Massachusetts 
Brian  Reiser
    Posted by Brian Reiser, Stoughton, Massachusetts | Mar 17, 2010

    I could not agree with you more. I have stayed away from twitter and the others for one simple reason. I'm not trying to make friends, i'm trying to build my business. I don't have time to twiitter and anyone who does needs to find something better to do with their time. Try talking to someone, you might like it.

  • Dental Office Business Mgr 
Bellevue, Washington 
Gil Pauley
    Posted by Gil Pauley, Bellevue, Washington | Mar 17, 2010

    I agree with Deborah that what really makes this article great is the number of comments that have been generated (it is probably a Biznik record). Also, it is great the quality and the diversity of opinions it has evoked. As I stated in my earlier comment, it was the title that got my attention and got me to read it. However, I do not perceive that there is anything "unethical" about the title. Again, nice article and great comments.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 17, 2010

    Richard, Brian, and Gil,

    thanks for the great comments. look for my follow up article in the next couple of days. i hope it sparks just as much conversation.

  • Senior Move Specialist 
Yakima, Washington 
Naomi Whitmore
    Posted by Naomi Whitmore, Yakima, Washington | Mar 18, 2010

    Brian, I think you missed the point of the article. Marc wasn't suggesting that businesses shouldn't use social media. Your assumption that all tweeters and facebookers aren't talking to people and are wasting time is incorrect and, frankly, insulting. There are many ways to talk to people and electronic means -- email, blogs, comment strings like this, facebook, twitter, etc. -- are just as valid as communication tools as face to face talking is. For many of us it would be impossible to run our businesses if we only used face to face or phone conversations. Maybe your target market isn't online, so you can focus on building your business without utilizing social media, but that wouldn't work at all for me.

    I don't know what you do Brian, but I have to admit that your "I don't want to make friends" attitude doesn't make me feel very positive about doing business with you. I think as business owners we have to walk a fine line between realizing that we can't really be friends with everyone, but also caring about our customers and providing excellent customer service. Social media is just one avenue that some people use to provide customer service. It's not for everyone, but don't knock it till you try it. :)

  • Owner 
Shanghai, Shanghai China 
Jarvis Lee
    Posted by Jarvis Lee, Shanghai, Shanghai China | Mar 18, 2010

    Great and useful post!

    Many people fell into the pool, including me. I hope find a good way out.

  • Virtual Assistant 
Ellenton, Florida 
Janine  Gregor
    Posted by Janine Gregor, Ellenton, Florida | Mar 18, 2010


    Social networking/marketing is not about making friends. It is about building relationships which can lead to friendship but that's not the driving point to participation in SN/SM.

    SN/SM is simply another means to market your goods and services by allowing people to get to know who you are and the values you represent.

    A perfect example is that you posted back here regarding Marc's article. You let us know your thoughts on SN/SM so now we know a little more about you. Whether that turns into a client contact is up to you and but most importantly, what you can contribute to the conversation can make or break that relationship. If for example, you had a thought about the validity of the title of Marc's article, as I did, that might have been something of interest to other readers.

    Unfortunately, your comment here did say something about your thoughts in a negative way but I have to say that I know you are not alone.

    I work with clients who have come to me and said, "Janine, I am overwhelmed with SN/SM" or they say, "I don't see the point in starting a FB page or a Twitter account. It takes up too much time and I don't really care what someone has for lunch."

    One learns to filter out the excess and manage SN/SM time just as I do when a commercial comes on TV that is not of interest to me. I don't read every Tweet or comment every post.

    It is not about 'picking up the phone'. In fact, most clients don't initially 'pick up the phone' to call me right away. They check out my sites, send me an email, a Tweet or fan my page and then they pick up the phone.

    It wouldn't be a good use of my time to speak to everyone on the phone. But SN/SM gives me an advantage. By the time they have 'checked me out' online, they know more about me, and I about them and we SAVE time during the phone call because important information has already been attained.

    Brian, give SN/SM a try. I suggest managing one site such as LinkedIn and see where that takes you. Linking all your sites together, leading back to your website (assuming you have a site) gives folks a more robust picture of who you are and the value you bring to the table.


  • Executive Clothier 
Bothelll, Washington 
Bill Hoffer
    Posted by Bill Hoffer, Bothelll, Washington | Mar 18, 2010

    Good thoughts's not about having time. We will always make time for the things we value and put a priority on. For example, I purchased a 3-month golf lesson package last year and have yet to set foot in the clinic because I have needed to re-focus on my business like everyone has the past two years. I was a non-believer in the early days. It's only been recently that I have had a better understanding of it all. Just another stage in the evolution of business and marketing. And, there are still lots of things I would like to do with my time that I don't. But I'll get to them. That's sort of the "Bucket List" we all have.

    This has been a very unique experience seeing the posts continue for almost a month now. Can't wait for the follow-up article.

  • Job 
Delhi India 
peter cox
    Posted by peter cox, Delhi India | Mar 19, 2010


    Jane this side from Canada. As I had read your blog & i must say you have provided information.

    Thank You Jane

    silicone bracelets

  • Search Engine Expert 
Seattle, Washington 
Aaron Muller
    Posted by Aaron Muller, Seattle, Washington | Mar 19, 2010

    Wow great article! Very well explained for a marketing product that is not very well understood. Thanks!

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 19, 2010

    Thanks for the great comments. After spending some time doing real work, my new article is now up and ready for your honest opinions.

  • forex trader 
salt lake city, Utah 
Dan Montague
    Posted by Dan Montague, salt lake city, Utah | Mar 21, 2010

    What a great article to bring building a business back into perspective. Thank you Marc! DM Roxy Roxy Snowboard

  • CEO & Owner - Joseph Merlo 
Hendersonville, Tennessee 
Joseph Merlo
    Posted by Joseph Merlo, Hendersonville, Tennessee | Mar 22, 2010

    Very Insightful

  • adult day care 
Bellingham, Washington 
Alex Scribinder
    Posted by Alex Scribinder, Bellingham, Washington | Mar 23, 2010

    This seems pretty obvious -- social networking is different than business networking. Two good paragraphs could have said the same.

  • Serial Entrepreneur, strategy consultant 
Seattle, Washington 
Eric Fredrickson
    Posted by Eric Fredrickson, Seattle, Washington | Mar 23, 2010

    Great Post Marc, and congrats on the nice "counter-marketing" headline. Very effective!

  • Photo Editing/Enhancements & Nopcommerce themes 
Madurai, Tamil Nadu India 
Dinesh Mukundu
    Posted by Dinesh Mukundu, Madurai, Tamil Nadu India | Mar 25, 2010

    Great post Marc, but i completely disagree on what you mentioned. You are explaining companies should not jump into social networking blogs. Its all about perspective. How you look at social networking. Its not only about meeting friends, its about sharing your thoughts on anything that could be your website or your blog. It not only gives feedback to the company about their products by looking at the fan base and their thoughts.

    The first thing i noticed is the share to Facebook/Twitter etc icons in your blog that itself denotes that you too are using it indirectly to share your thoughts across all.

    If i like your blog then i would share it to my friends. Similarly about the websites if i like i share it to my friends and tell the benefits of the website.

    Regards, Dinesh

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 25, 2010


    I think you missed the whole point of the article. I do not say that companies should not "jump into social networking blogs". What I say is that companies need to understand how social networking fits into their marketing program with the ultimate goal of generating new business.

    As for me, yes I do have a twitter and facebook account, and a blog page. And yes, I use them as part of my marketing program to generate new business.

  • Photo Editing/Enhancements & Nopcommerce themes 
Madurai, Tamil Nadu India 
Dinesh Mukundu
    Posted by Dinesh Mukundu, Madurai, Tamil Nadu India | Mar 25, 2010


    As mentioned earlier its all perspective.. There are very expensive advertisements running on TV which do not generate any new business or revenues as it is focussed on one region. Eg : Ads played in one channel might not be viewed by millions of people around the world as it is played for 2 minutes whereas the networking blogs spread the same information to lot more people and it stays on the web with little investment.

    As many mentioned in the comments Marketing is a technique and social networking sites are one of the medium of marketing. You cannot sill follow the old way of marketing to gain more customers or business.

    As more and more people are using online to do the business, social networking sites play a major role for the small business companies who don't have enough money to post an ad on TV/super bowl...

    In this global economy social networking sites provide capability to spread the word.. of a business/product/company/services.

    Rgds, Dinesh

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Mar 25, 2010


    Good point. I'll try to keep that in mind.

  • Mortgage Broker 
Los Angeles, California 
Lorenzy Gordon
    Posted by Lorenzy Gordon, Los Angeles, California | Mar 26, 2010

    Great article just what I needed.

  • Event Marketer 
Los Angeles, California 
Cliff Allen
    Posted by Cliff Allen, Los Angeles, California | Mar 27, 2010

    Just to elaborate on #3, media buyers consider whether they can achieve a minimum threshold of reach (audience size) and frequency (number of impressions) in the advertiser's target audience. While it may not cost actual money to post on social media, it does cost time.

    The real question is not whether social media works. The question is whether the business can generate awareness, leads, and customers more economically with social media than, say, pay-per-click ads, attending face-to-face networking events etc.

  • Internet Marketing & Website Analyst 
Woodinville, Washington 
Joe Leonard
    Posted by Joe Leonard, Woodinville, Washington | Mar 28, 2010

    I could not agree more. Our association, gives a lot of presentations on the importance of Social Media. So many people came up afterwards to say that they agreed with everything but just didn't see how they would find the time (or would soon run out of things to say) that we have started offering a service which will keep FaceBook etc. and their blog up-to-date with fresh content so they don't have to do it.

    This is really Social Marketing as you say. Can we borrow that term to rename our service?

  • Corporate Advirtisement  
Noida, Uttar Pradesh India 
B2B Alerts
    Posted by B2B Alerts, Noida, Uttar Pradesh India | Mar 29, 2010

    Actually at the very begining when the concept of social media and social networking introduced then people started using this medium as fun and the medium to get in touch with their loved ones, friends. As a better option to get number of users online at social networking and social media sites, people started creation of communities where people of the same interest come together and share their thoughts either those thoughts are of personal, professional or business related.

    So using social media for business purpose is a stronger way than any other way because in this case, no one have to switch from one platform to another for different purposes. People can chat for their business needs with other business owners on their profile and always keep in touch with their family, friends and loved ones.

    So in my openion, social media is an All in One solution and there should be business talks over social media without any irritating discussions with people having no interest.

  • Public speaking coach & trainer. Overcome public speaking fears and present with confidence. 
Seattle, Washington 
Jean Hamilton
    Posted by Jean Hamilton, Seattle, Washington | Apr 02, 2010

    Thanks for a great article Marc. I've been passively involved with several different social networking sites for quite a while. (Yes, I guess that makes me a wallflower.) I'm finally beginning to realize it's worth some investment of my time, mainly for the SEO. After becoming a bit more involved, I've had quite a few people find me on the web. Many of those calls have led to new business. Spending just a few minutes everyday makes a big difference.

    Thanks again, Jean

  • lab courier/webmaster 
Manchester, New Hampshire 
Deborah Rowell
    Posted by Deborah Rowell, Manchester, New Hampshire | Apr 10, 2010

    Hi Marc

    Enjoyed this read. I have a hard time navigating some of the sites. I set up a Facebook page for my business but can't find it now because my computer seems to only remember my personal one.

    Anyway, I read somewhere recently that pick two or three and just do them diligently instead of trying to post on too many at once. Quality not quantity.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Apr 10, 2010


    Glad you liked the article. I highly doubt you are a wallflower. It's good to see the benefits of spending a few minutes a day has helped your SEO results.

  • Senior Move Specialist 
Yakima, Washington 
Naomi Whitmore
    Posted by Naomi Whitmore, Yakima, Washington | Apr 10, 2010

    Deborah, you should be able to find your fan page by either searching for the name of it in the facebook search box up at the top, or clicking on "ads and pages" on the lefthand side when you're at your 'home page'. Facebook can be frustrating sometimes because just when you figure out where things are, they change something about the layout and it's gone again! :)

  • lab courier/webmaster 
Manchester, New Hampshire 
Deborah Rowell
    Posted by Deborah Rowell, Manchester, New Hampshire | Apr 12, 2010

    Thanks Naomi,

    Because of what you said, I did find it! Whallah! Thanks for taking the time to help, really appreciate it.

  • Senior Move Specialist 
Yakima, Washington 
Naomi Whitmore
    Posted by Naomi Whitmore, Yakima, Washington | Apr 12, 2010

    I'm so glad that helped Deborah! If you have more than 25 fans you can also create a custom username ( for your page and then you'll never be able to lose it again, because you can always browse directly to it!

  • Client Relationship Manager 
Naples, Florida 
Donald Apelian
    Posted by Donald Apelian, Naples, Florida | Apr 21, 2010

    Great article, Marc - and very timely as I am (was) embarking on a social marketing campaign. Your insights and observations about the use of social media networking to promote and advance one's business, especially the time commitment required has been a real eye-opener.

  • Remodeler 
Dubuque, Iowa 
Adam Jackman
    Posted by Adam Jackman, Dubuque, Iowa | Apr 21, 2010

    I would like to say something positive, but I cannot see that there is much new in this article. Of course, don't waste clients' time with photos of your kids or other personal content.

    Time commitment is a given in any small business.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Apr 21, 2010


    It's not always about being new, but being relevant.

  • System administration 
Baltimore, Maryland 
Paule Nzekio
    Posted by Paule Nzekio, Baltimore, Maryland | Apr 21, 2010

    Great article Marc. You have a lot of good points and useful tips in there,. I will definitely start using them now.

  • Entrepreneur 
Bolingbrook, Illinois 
Lynn Keel
    Posted by Lynn Keel, Bolingbrook, Illinois | Apr 22, 2010

    Marc, imagine being surprised by your unfounded stereotypical comment about 55 y.o. women as being not capable of using the Internet.

    No Marc, we women boomers are not residing in the Stone Age..we are smart, educated entrepreneurs and bizniks working with the most modern tools, apps and systems.

    Readers, stereotyping only results in missing out on excellent business opportunities and clients. Got to sign off parents in their 80s are calling me on Skype Video!

  • Blogging Coach and Copywriter 
Seattle, Washington 
Judy Dunn
    Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington | Apr 22, 2010


    As someone who is 60+, really laughing at your comment. I hate stereotypes, too.

    80-year-olds on Skype? I'm loving it!

  • Managing Director 
London United Kingdom 
Steven Emecz
    Posted by Steven Emecz, London United Kingdom | Apr 22, 2010

    Some good elements in here for me. Particularly agree with separating personal Twitter from Business Twitter - a mistake many make when they first get involved. Interestingly my business Twitter mxpublishing (talking about publishing and books) has 19,000 followers where as my own steveemecz has around 700 - it seems my work is more interesting than me. Oh, and more of my over 60 family is on Skype than the under 30s...

  • Professional SEO specialist 
San Francisco, California 
Gabriella Sannino
    Posted by Gabriella Sannino, San Francisco, California | Apr 22, 2010

    Marc, great minds think alike... :) Thanks for sharing your insight. I actually had to do the same thing with Twitter. Granted, different social networks should not be used the same way. Facebook has a different approach than Twitter which is different than Myspace. They are "tools" of the trade.

    Would love to share the article with your readers. Why I Hate Social Media: Just Another Twitter Rant | Social Media Marketing | Internet Marketing|

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Apr 22, 2010

    Hi Gabriella,

    thanks for the comments. feel free to share the article as you wish. the full version of article can be found at all I ask is that you include my biline as mentioned here

  • Technology Optimization Consultant 
Savannah, Georgia 
Mike Roush
    Posted by Mike Roush, Savannah, Georgia | Apr 23, 2010

    Hi Marc,

    I'm new to Biznik, and this is the first article I read. Information like this is certainly helpful to a guy like me who is new to the social media thing. I really want to make the best use of this media, because a lot of my colleagues and competitors in my area of the world using Facebook as more of a "social" forum, rather than to generate business. Thank you for the insight!!

    Mike Roush

  • Student 
Big Rapids, Michigan 
Nicholas McCarthy
    Posted by Nicholas McCarthy, Big Rapids, Michigan | Apr 26, 2010

    Marc this is a great post I am currently a student and have been using social media to look for jobs and other things that will help me in my professional life. I agree that someone using these sites as a tool is helpful to these members. great article .

  • Student 
Big Rapids, Michigan 
Nicholas McCarthy
    Posted by Nicholas McCarthy, Big Rapids, Michigan | Apr 26, 2010

    Marc this is a great post I am currently a student and have been using social media to look for jobs and other things that will help me in my professional life. I agree that someone using these sites as a tool is helpful to these members. great article .

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Apr 26, 2010

    Hi Mike, Thanks for the great post. Glad it worked for you. And welcome to Biznik.

    Nicholas, Glad you thought the article was so nice, you posted it twice. :)

  • Author of:"The PRISM Salvation-a 3-Step Solution to Social Media Domination for Busy Business Owners"   
Denver, Colorado 
Mike Saunders, MBA
    Posted by Mike Saunders, MBA, Denver, Colorado | Apr 29, 2010

    Marc, Great post! I agree with you and would like to add that a business owner must do something very important before even considering using social media.... They must fully understand their Competitive Advantage! Why they are different from their competition. Where they are better, provide more value (never compete on price!) and what makes them stand out. Then they must fully build out a complete profile of their Ideal Client/Target Audience so that when they interact with them using social media, they can bring a unique solution to the hot-button needs of their ideal client.

    When using social media this way it becomes a vehicle to get past all the "noise" of other marketing messages, and it cuts through to make your message stand out!

    Mike Saunders, MBA

    Author of: "The PRISM Salvation-a 3-Step Solution to Social Media Domination for Busy Business Owners" Available on Amazon in May! Get the 1st Chapter here:

  • Partner - Text Message Marketing & SMS Coupons 
Las Vegas, Nevada 
Jeffrey Arnold
    Posted by Jeffrey Arnold, Las Vegas, Nevada | May 04, 2010


    Great post. I love the differentiation between 'social networking' and 'social marketing'. As I am starting a new company I'm trying to build links, etc. and did the whole FB, Twitter, etc. piece, but in reality, unless you have some fantastic information to offer, the only folks you'll capture as 'fans' are going to be friends and family.

    Your follow-up comment about being 'relevant' is, I think, the key element to this all. You can post all you want, and create as many links as you want, but unless you are providing quality information, you get lost in the noise. Even though I don't have the time to write original articles all the time, my goal is to keep my company blog full of relevant information about my industry so that folks see it as a solid, reputable source of data.

    Keep up the good work.


  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | May 04, 2010

    Jeff, thanks for the great feedback. I think you'll find my newest article will really hit home.

  • Founder/Interior Designer 
Bellevue, Washington 
Janice Ward
    Posted by Janice Ward, Bellevue, Washington | May 05, 2010

    Thank you for the excellent article, Marc! :-) I'm new to the business world, and so I deeply appreciate your input. Before owning my own business, having businesses and spam invade my "personal" Twitter-space was so annoying, but I've come to accept and understand most/some of it. I'm still on the fence about some activities. Thank you, again!

  • Alcohol and/or Food, Life Coach Support Women 
Portland, Oregon 
Teresa Rodden
    Posted by Teresa Rodden, Portland, Oregon | May 06, 2010

    Marc, I appreciate your comment about social marketing vs. social networking! Great food for thought.

  • award-winning photographer | videographer for business | sustainable industries | positive change 
Seattle, Washington 
Jed Share
    Posted by Jed Share, Seattle, Washington | May 07, 2010

    On target Marc, thanks for this insightful post.

  • Consultant 
New York, New York 
Abhinav Asija
    Posted by Abhinav Asija, New York, New York | May 12, 2010

    Great article Marc!

  • Attorney 
Towson, Maryland 
Brian Nash
    Posted by Brian Nash, Towson, Maryland | May 13, 2010

    Marc Thanks for the great article. I'm brand new to Biznik but have already found it to be a much more dynamic site than, let's say, LinkedIn. Appreciate the comments (boy, did you evoke them!) to your article as well.

    My comment: I just started my blog in January. While I found the time commitment (and still do) to be more than I ever expected, I was totally frustrated when the 'hits' were few and far between. Yeah, I did start inviting family and my employees and their family members to read my postings just so someone would be there. Then I discovered FB, Twitter and LinkedIn. Now we're approaching 4,000 hits on our blog and 'About Us' page, over 600 followers on Twitter and over 250 Fans on FB business page. Unless I'm totally missing it, the social networking/marketing is having its effect. Sure, in the final analysis it's great that people are now reading our blogs, but from a business standpoint, new potential clients are increasing steadily. Is is helping SEO? I guess so. My keyword searches show us on page one.

    So all fine and good for the marketing part. What I've also learned is the 'social' part. Also a Baby-boomer, I was leery of getting myself out there versus my business. Now the connections I've made are - frankly - fun. There's the business side and the personal side.

    Posts/articles like this are exactly why I have also joined these business networking sites. I doubt it will lead to clients, but that's not my goal here. Just interacting with other business people and owners is worth the time. You all offer some good 'reflective' moments as I struggle daily to keep my content fresh and frequent.

    So, in a word, thanks to you and all those, who have commented on your article.

  • Technology Consultant, Web Developer and Author 
St Francisville, Louisiana 
Sara Morgan
    Posted by Sara Morgan, St Francisville, Louisiana | May 13, 2010

    Hi Marc,

    I like all the points you made in the article at the end, but I think the title was a bit misleading. Your point seems to be that business owners need to be careful about how they use social networking, social marketing, whatever you want to call it. Not that they should not use it at all.

    I happen to believe certain businesses (specifically, individuals selling services in a highly competitive field or online, small businesses that need to expand beyond their local reach, and charities) should create their own social networking sites and focus on building these sites and not just spreading themselves all over the place. That is what I have done over the past year and I am seeing really good results from it. I even wrote an EBook all about it.

    So, good article (except for the title maybe).

    Best Wishes, Sara Morgan

  • Web Developer 
Baroda, Gujarat India 
Nehal Mavani
    Posted by Nehal Mavani, Baroda, Gujarat India | May 13, 2010

    I like all the points you made in the article at the end, but I think the title was a bit misleading. Your point seems to be that business owners need to be careful about how they use social networking, social marketing, whatever you want to call it. Not that they should not use it at all.

  • Publisher 
Bellevue, Washington 
Dale Warren
    Posted by Dale Warren, Bellevue, Washington | May 18, 2010

    Good Stuff! A clear and concise snapshot of considerations regarding social marketing. Thanks.

  • Payment Card Processing, Credit/Debit Card Merchant Services, Gift Cards, PCI Compliance 
Gig Harbor, Washington 
Timothy Sternling
    Posted by Timothy Sternling, Gig Harbor, Washington | May 27, 2010

    Thanks for a great down-to-earth article. I liked and was drawn to the title (which demonstrates your expertise).

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | May 27, 2010

    Nehal - BINGO!!

  • Business Coach 
Liberty, Missouri 
Alan Boyer
    Posted by Alan Boyer, Liberty, Missouri | May 31, 2010

    Whether you are using social networking to "increase your visibility as an expert" or "to network with others in the field" it's just a matter of semantics whether you call it social networking or not.

    The bottom line is "it works" if you do it right.

    For instance, I use LinkedIn to surround myself with people in the field and to share knowledge while getting to know others. This opens doors that I would never be able to open without using the social networking tool.

    If it's used like most people use it, by just announcing what I'm doing in my personal life, as well as networking with those who are doing the same the results will be abysmal for a business person.

    However, if you actively search out those in your field using this tool to expand your reach, and THEN use it to build relationships, those people will open doors into companies that you could never reach into without having those connections in the first place.

    It truly is the neatest thing since sliced bread. I open doors for my clients by connecting with their ideal target market that they couldn't get to before this.

    Check out my new article this week on my blog /small-business-marketing-coach/how-to-get-an-appointment-with-almost-anyone-anwhere-anytime/ on how to get an appointment with almost anyone at anytime and anyplace using LinkedIn.

  • Art Director 
Brooklyn, New York 
Laura Wertkin
    Posted by Laura Wertkin, Brooklyn, New York | Jun 01, 2010

    It was very refreshing to read your article! It seems like 9 out of 10 people urge business owners to have a presence on Twitter and Facebook, while only 1 out of 10 stops to ask the ever important questions: who? what? where? why? Just because Twitter and Facebook are relatively easy to use, not to mention free, doesn't mean business owners should throw up a page without a well thought out plan. Thanks for giving us the permission to stop and think about what we are doing and why!

  • Marketing Communications 
Portland, Oregon 
Kristin Schuchman
    Posted by Kristin Schuchman, Portland, Oregon | Jun 01, 2010

    This is a decent article, but your headline does you a disservice and misleads people into thinking that you're suggesting people abandon social networking techniques. I think you're better off with a less ingenuous headline.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Jun 02, 2010

    Kristin, if you read the first four examples, you'd see I am encouraging readers to draw a line between social networking and social marketing. So yes, for business owners looking to get more business, I would encourage them to hold back on social networking.

  • Blogging Coach and Copywriter 
Seattle, Washington 
Judy Dunn
    Posted by Judy Dunn, Seattle, Washington | Jun 02, 2010

    But Marc, you say in your 2nd paragraph, you say:

    Which one of these people stands out as being unique from the others in the way they are using SOCIAL NETWORKING?

    And in your 5th paragraph:

    The HR consultant is NETWORKING for different reasons.

    So though your headline said, "Why No Business Should be Involved in Social Networking," you seem to approve of the HR consultant's "social networking."

    That is where some of us are confused.

    In my 17 years in business, I have seen networking as a part of marketing. So it's just semantics.

    And I will say it again. Your headline was misleading. It was trickery.

  • lab courier/webmaster 
Manchester, New Hampshire 
Deborah Rowell
    Posted by Deborah Rowell, Manchester, New Hampshire | Jun 02, 2010

    Waiting for a new article, this one is really getting old.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Jun 02, 2010

    Judy, this article is not so much about semantics as it is about having an understanding of the strategic differences between networking for purely social purposes networking in order to create business.

    That is why the title of the article is as such. No trickery intended.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Jun 02, 2010

    Deborah, there are thousands of great articles on Biznik. So please don't feel you are stuck with just this one. I have also written 2 additional social networking articles called "The Rise and Fall of Twitter (Part 1 and 2). These can be accessed through my profile page.

  • Owner Eco Fashion Web 
Montreal, Quebec Canada 
Jane A. Nelson
    Posted by Jane A. Nelson, Montreal, Quebec Canada | Jun 10, 2010

    Thanks, Marc - good points.

    Best, Jane

  • CPA, Accountant 
Irvine, California 
Shaun Lawrence
    Posted by Shaun Lawrence, Irvine, California | Jun 12, 2010

    Yes title definitely got my attention but you do convey some good points regarding the difference. It's hard to manage the two, especially when you want results as a business and not a socialite.

  • Founder/President/CEO 
Coppell, Texas 
James V Jackson II
    Posted by James V Jackson II, Coppell, Texas | Jun 14, 2010

    Great artical however I woud have to disagree just a tad bit. Facebook has surpassed Google for monthly traffic. Also facebook as a special program that mimmick your interest. That is how they push relavent information to the exact demographic individual. At this point Facebook is delivering about the best ROI that a company could wish for example i like sushi when i get on FB all types of Sushi restuarants specials or being advertised on a rotational basis. I also search for a Lawyer for a traffic ticket in the past so from time to time a lawyers ad will pop up as well. Just fyi ... however your artical has some great points! James Jackson 7 yrs internet consultant

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Jun 15, 2010

    James, some great points. But keep in mind that I was not devaluing FB or twitter, but rather trying to make clear the differences in how they are used between business and personal.

  • marketing communications 
chicago, Illinois 
rickey gold
    Posted by rickey gold, chicago, Illinois | Jun 18, 2010

    Well your title certainly got my attention! And I have to agree with most of your points. But I still view Facebook as social networking (or connecting) even as I use it for marketing. Same goes for LinkedIn, although it's a whole different animal.

    Twitter, on the other hand, I see as social media marketing since it's used to publish or share something rather than build relationships (although I have business relationships that first began by connecting on Twitter).

    Call them whatever you choose. In the end, I think it all comes down to using these tools wisely.

  • Marketing 
San diego, California 
Vicki Garcia
    Posted by Vicki Garcia, San diego, California | Jul 01, 2010

    I agree with you Mark, but still, who has the time? My job as a marketing consultant is to help my clients spend their time and money on solid returns.

    I have slowly comp to the conclusion that the only real use for Social Network, or Social Marketing for businesses, is to drive up your ranking in the search engines. Other than that, you are pitching pennies in the ocean and waiting for it to rise.

    Marketing Impressions - San Diego

  • home based 
birmingham United Kingdom 
sussane sh
    Posted by sussane sh, birmingham United Kingdom | Jul 03, 2010

    On the other hand, a marketing plan is a document designed to secure customers, provide them with the benefits they desire and to communicate to them just how much they are valued. Plus you are inviting your competitors to have war with you.. Though it sounds hilarious sometimes.. Very good post

    funny quotes hilarious quotes

  • Writer and web content problem-solver 
Seattle, Washington 
Karen Anderson
    Posted by Karen Anderson, Seattle, Washington | Oct 08, 2010

    Social marketing has been with us for decades — an example is businesses that support local Little League teams or buy tables at charity banquets. You don't attend those events and pitch your business — you attend them to build the social networks that will, over the long run, benefit your business.

    "Social marketing" is a great term, and I hope it takes over — particularly because it will prevent people from thinking of it as a direct sales tool. I can't believe the number of people I meet who think that if you set up a Twitter account and tweet once about a product or service it should result, within the hour, in sales!

  • Management Consultant 
Claremont, California 
Paul Yandell
    Posted by Paul Yandell, Claremont, California | Jan 10, 2011

    Companies with poor product quality or bad service records really have a tough time on the Internet. Google searches slay them unless they have an all-out effort at marketing on line - social and otherwise. We agree it makes more sense to fix the product and service issues, but some companies are incorrigible. Much of the "noise" on the Internet is from companies trying to drown out complaints.

  • B2B Collections 
Seattle, Washington 
Stephen Meerdink
    Posted by Stephen Meerdink, Seattle, Washington | Feb 09, 2011

    Thanks for writing this article.

  • President | Director of Production 
Minneapolis, Minnesota 
Jeff High
    Posted by Jeff High, Minneapolis, Minnesota | May 23, 2011

    Great article. It's as important (if not more so) for people to understand why they pick up a tool as it is for them to know how to use it.

    Social media is as useful for business as it is for personal life, but there are many business owners out there who don't understand why they're using it, except perhaps that they were told they had to, and inevitably, they don't understand why it fails, they bottom out and abandon it early. Thanks for the clarity your article brings to the table.

  • Small Business | Small Business Marketing |  Small Business Networking 
Laurel, Maryland 
Glenn Garnes
    Posted by Glenn Garnes, Laurel, Maryland | Jul 02, 2011


    I don't know any other way to say this other than I think you're nuts!

    When I first read the title to your article I knew right away that you must be crazy. After all, social media networking is all the rage right now. How can you possibly know what you're talking about if you're not using social networking as a marketing strategy.

    Boy, am I glad I read on and completed the entire article, because while I still think you're nuts, I now know that you're just nuts about marketing like I am. Thanks for sharing some of the best points I've seen about the realities of the commitment you make when you create a presence for yourself online.

    There is another lesson in here for those of you following this thread. Marc's provocative headline is what made me stop to read his article, and absent that headline I probably would have moved on without consuming his content.

    His title reminded me of those old classified ads that used to say "Sex": Now that we have your attention here's what we really wanted to tell you. I may be dating myself with that reference, but they were very effective back in the day.

    Thanks again Marc. Keep up the great work you're doing. I downloaded your ebook and will peruse it shortly.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Jul 04, 2011

    Thanks for the great email Glenn. It's nice to hear from someone who not only understands my methods, but appreciates them as well.

  • Speaker/Marketing Consultant 
Toronto, Ontario Canada 
Marc Gordon
    Posted by Marc Gordon, Toronto, Ontario Canada | Aug 11, 2011

    Thanks for the comments Ben. You might also like this one too.