The Open & Free Business Model - Create. Differentiate. Deliver.

The Future Of Business – The Social Media Lie

Are you caught up in all the hype of what Social Media can do for you and your business? Have you already invested in Tweeting, and updating FaceBook or LinkedIn, only to be disappointed that the results weren’t as promised. Don’t feel too bad, it’s common, and it happens far more often than you think. It’s not much different than the get rich schemes when you think about it. It was the same back in 1994 when all the experts said you had to have a website or you would go out of business if you didn’t build one.

Today, there is something being taught that’s misleading, in my humble opinion anyway. I believe it to be untrue, a lie. When a Social Media Teacher, Expert or Guru makes the claim, “You can manage your social networks in 20 – 30 minutes a day”, they know not what the say. I know they are trying to appeal to the ” I don’t have time ” excuses, but I can assure you, it takes more than 20 to 30 minutes a day. I’m not saying it’s impossible, OK, I’m saying it’s impossible. I say it because I’ve tried, but the math just doesn’t work!

Social Networks have become so busy, so noisy, the bigger these networks get, the shorter the lifespan of your Update or Tweet gets. Of course you can Tweet & Update 5 – 10 times a day in 20 minutes, but you can’t actually manage your social media presence in just 20 – 30 minutes a day. There is so much more involved, let’s crunch some numbers, I’ll use myself as the example. This may seem overly simplified, but you’ll get what I mean : )

@owengreaves (my Twitter handle)

I follow 9,736

My Followers 20,052

My Tweets 56,635

There was a time back in 2008 when I was getting over 100 followers a day on Twitter, a lot has changed since then, that kind of activity is now considered rare. Unless you’re a rock star like Lady Gaga, a TV star like Ashton Kutcher, or one of the very early adopters that was launched to stardom as lovable and likable from the outset, like Gary Vaynerchuk. He is actually more amusing and entertaining : )

Most of these experts, guru’s and teachers make the statement that you can have an incredible social media presence by Tweeting & Updating just 5 – 10 times a day, and you can manage your social presence in 20 – 30 minutes a day. Maybe, but I doubt it.

If the average lifespan of a Tweet is 20 minutes, which it is today, 5 – 10 Tweets / Updates per day doesn’t give you much reach, almost none. In order to get a serious ROI, you would need to a higher frequency. Being active once every 20 minutes won’t build much, unless it’s entertaining, interesting, useful, and or helpful…but even then you’re reaching for a high profile or return on your activity. Many of these networks behave like Radio & TV today, you need high frequency, just flood the networks and the world will come to you. NOT!

If every person following me (20,052) was online at the same time I was, that would be awesome, but they aren’t…ever! That would imply, that all 20k of them are either in or close to the same time zone I’m in, they are all functioning in the same hours I am, give or take 3 hours either way. The next thing that would have to happen is, they all would have to be paying attention to all my Tweets & Updates within the 20 minute time frame, or lifespan of those messages. They’re not!

At a minimum, to be heard or seen every 20 minutes, you would have to Tweet or Update 3 times an hour. The math there is based on a 24 hour clock, so 3 x 24 = 72 Tweets / Updates per day. Even if we drop that back to an 8 hour work day, you would need to Tweet / Update 24 times per day…7 days per week, that’s the minimum right? Sure, you could do that in 20 – 30 minutes a day, if you automated your tweets / updates. But that’s not being present, you can’t have a social media presence and not be present. How could you respond in a timely manner?

Even if everyone were in the same time zone, everyone was online at exactly the same time I was, and they were watching my every Tweet & Update, they’re not. It’s not realistic or possible.

If I’m going to be honest with myself, those actually listening for me, would most likely be lower than 10%. Out of the 20k followers I have, if I’m seriously lucky, 2000 would be online when I am, and out of that 2000, how many do you think are listening, probably less than 200. Of those 200, how many would actually respond, or read, or do what I ask them to do? Probably 20, now those 20 I might consider to be true fans, if there is conversion of some sort, I would believe that, but what is conversion for you? Another question that needs to be answered.

My point is this, managing your social media presence is NOT how much time you spend Tweeting & Updating, that’s your activity. Managing your social media presence is much, much deeper, it’s monitoring your engagement, your interaction, tracking, and developing a strategy to ensure they keep doing what they are doing, engaging with you and your business. Learning where they are from, city & country, a complete makeup / profiles could be valuable for future business. There are monitoring companies that specialize in analyzing your social media data, measure campaigns, and so on, Radian 6 is popular, and it’s not as simple as 1 + 1, it’s complicated data. But that’s the oil you’re looking for, data is the new oil.

There is a huge misunderstanding on what managing your social media presence is, Tweeting / Updating is not managing. Managing implies you are studying the data, studying what your followers are doing, finding out what they want, spending countless hours in Twitter search looking for opportunities to find new potential clients / customers. You couldn’t possibly do all of that in 20 – 30 minutes a day, well maybe, if you outsourced that work, paid someone to meet with you to help you understand what the data means. But they are few and far between, anyone with credentials rarely work for free, and you do want someone who knows how to read the data.

You don’t plug your business into social media, you plug social media into your business, and that’s a whole different story. The best way to learn that is from Olivier Blanchard, the best way to learn how to measure the ROI in social media is from Olivier Blanchard. In fact, you should invest in his book called, “Social Media ROI – Managing & Measuring Social Media Efforts in your Organization“. He lays it all out for you, and I can promise you this, you’ll find out it takes longer than 20 – 30 minutes a day.

Like today, the future of business still won’t have any easy shortcuts, you must work to get the desired outcomes you’re looking for, that includes building a following, building a community of true fans. Kevin Kelly describes true fans as:

“A True Fan is defined as someone who will purchase anything and everything you produce. They will drive 200 miles to see you sing. They will buy the super deluxe re-issued hi-res box set of your stuff even though they have the low-res version. They have a Google Alert set for your name. They bookmark the eBay page where your out-of-print editions show up. They come to your openings. They have you sign their copies. They buy the t-shirt, and the mug, and the hat. They can’t wait till you issue your next work. They are true fans.”

The only way to get true fans is through long hours of hard work, a plan, a strategy, and a full understanding of what being a social business means. Knowing what to look for, and what to do. Social Media is still at it’s infancy, and there are very few who grasp where all this is taking us.

So let’s get off all the hype, let’s filter this with the right lens, there are no shortcuts, and social media is more than just Updates & Tweets…it’s hard work.

I hope this made a little bit of sense? It probably appears like I’m ranting, I am a little, I’m hoping we will all work together to keep things in perspective and not try to take advantage of those who truly don’t understand. Social Media will play a large part of business in the future, more so in the next 5 – 10 years, but today it is still grossly misunderstood, because we’ve never done it like this before. These networks do play into the Open & Free Business Model, it’s how I run my business, and someday you will to.

Go and find your community, your true 1,000 fans, and serve them in such a way that they become loyal, loyalty has been missing for some time now, we now have a chance to recover the once loyal customer from our past.

So guard yourself from hype, the over promise, how easy it is, guard yourself from the social media lie.

 

  • http://www.alphacomputer.ca/wpactc Jeff Brown

    Great post Owen. It really puts social media in a correct light that many just want to glaze over or ignore. Social media, done right, is a lot of work.

    • http://owengreaves.com/ owengreaves

      Everyone wants to wear rose colored glasses, they don’t want to put effort into it, they want to hype how easy it is, when it’s not. I’ve been out here for over 6 years on the social networks, and I can tell you, none of what I have built or have today was because I Tweeted 5 – 10 times a day…even today my daily average is around 33 – 35 times a day. Those numbers are low for true penetration and market share perspectives, and the results reflect that. But I don’t sell things, not yet, I give away ideas, new ways of thinking, and new ways of looking at business. If I was selling a product or service in the tradition sense, I would be upping the game to levels required to keep peoples attention, and then convert. Do the work, the rewards are there if you do the work. Hyping, scamming, misleading and or false claims only work for a short period of time.

  • http://www.robertbcairns.com/ Rob Cairns

    Owen boom and so true! One thing people need to also get over is all the analytics/numbers hype. If your social media does not translate into meeting your goals then it does not matter if 1000 people tweeted at you or read of blog post. It only matters if your goals are met. People get caught in the hype every day. It is all what you do with social media.

    That said it can not be done in 30 minutes a day as Hub Spot states in some of their guides. It takes a lot of work to do it well.

About Owen Greaves

Owen Greaves

I’m a Futurist, I write, speak, and teach the open & free business model, and the future of business. Create. Differentiate. Deliver. It’s a paradigm shift, I help you increase profits by changing the way you think about business.