Can Social Media Engagement Kill Your Business?

by Craig McBreen · 13 comments · Blogging, Branding, Content Marketing


handsin1As marketers, it’s our job to deliver rock-solid content and effective online strategies.

And we hear a lot of talk in the blogosphere about engagement.

Social media engagement.

But this virtual party can suck you in, drain precious hours and keep you from focusing on the customers that drive your business …

I’ve listened to Mark Schaefer discuss the double-edged nature of his popular “content shock” post. You can read it (along with the massive amount of comments) here.

His post was shared far and wide, generated hundreds of comments and created quite a stir in our social media utopia, but as he himself described, the 700 plus comments became a full-time job … for weeks.

Hey, Mark … I feel ya.

Really. This kind of online engagement will suck hours and pull you from your business, thus having the potential to kill your bottom line.

And while Mark (or anyone else) could “engineer” their site to generate a ton of comments … how is that really going to help?

Just be careful what you’re shooting for, because hundreds of comments might lead to you losing hundreds of hours of precious time.

Here’s what might help …

1. Stop Trying to Be the Next Social Media Sensation, Start Building Your Brand.

Okay, I’ll be honest … I’m still in love with comments, enjoy social shares, and the friendly worlds of Twitter and Facebook. But at one point I loved all this too much.

Social media cranks up the reward centers of your brain and that dopamine rush can easily become a crack-like addiction.

The result? You’re in a blogging haze and have a daily social media hangover with nothing … zero … nada … nuuuuhh-thing to show for it.

So, if you are on social and have no strategy, turn off the channels, because there are about 1,001 things I can think of that I’d rather spend my time doing.

When you turn off those channels, focus on your brand and build a solid content strategy around it.

Start here and learn how to build a brand.

Focus on your foundational content and storythen hit the social channels and turn them into supporting elements, making them work for you. Social media engagement without a plan must be avoided.

2. Social Media is a Marathon, So Master Slow, Incremental Progress.

Here’s something that hasn’t changed: Great relationships take time to develop.

I think many fine folks jump into blogging and quickly become enamored with so many meaningless metrics.

And soon start “screaming” for someone to puh-leeze recognize them.

This petulant child routine can work … IF you’re a gifted communicator, put in the hours, have great media connections, and know how to manipulate the system … otherwise you better get busy on plan B.

Plan B involves a new mindset less focused on screaming for attention, and more dialed into teaching AND connecting with the right people … potential customers and influencers inline with what you’re preaching.

Basically the right kind of engagement plan.
One that is purposeful, not scattershot.
More valuable and honest, less engineered.

According to Joe Pulizzi, “Content marketing is the practice of creating relevant and compelling content in a consistent fashion to a targeted buyer, focusing on all stages of the buying process, from brand awareness through to brand evangelism.”

And this brand evangelism is something to shoot for.

Building brand awareness; getting people to like, know and trust you; turning readers into customers; retaining those customers; building up a base of subscribers … this all takes time and if you’re running around engaging with everyone under the sun … well, you’ll have no time for the above, and your business will suffer.

’nuff said, right?

3. Think Like a Creative Business Owner, Not a Starved-for-Attention Blogger.

Listen, when I first started blogging I was focusing on all those meaningless metrics I told you about.

I also bought into the six- or seven-figure blogging folklore and the myth of overnight success.

This is an online disease most tail-wagging beginners are so susceptible to, because they see those “skyrocketing” success stories.

They can’t resist the candy … I sure couldn’t.

They also think the formula (making millions with toes in the sand) is there for the taking.

And a focus on engagement, and little else, is part of the disease.

To date, Chris Ducker wrote what I consider the best post on this very topic: Think like a business owner first, a blogger second (you’ll make more money!)

Cheers to that.

 

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Lori Gosselin July 24, 2014 at 9:53 am

Hi Craig,
Thanks for all the links on this topic and your synthesizing thoughts about it. It makes me think of how much things have changed in the Blogosphere since I first found it in the fall of 2010. Many of the bloggers who were around then no longer blog. Many have disappeared altogether. Back then I was online day and night and I hadn’t really even approached the other social forums, except to Tweet our of Hootsuite and Triberr. But now….

Now I write because there is something in me that wants to come out. I still ask questions but the conversation is down so I don’t worry if not many answer. I feel as if I’m writing for a different audience and with a different purpose. Things are changing and I’m flowing along with them. It still feels important that I keep up the blog though I post once a week now instead of twice or three times. I focus more on my business than on blog hopping, more on the writing of my second book than on blog posts, though I still LOVE to write a post when the inspiration strikes.

It’s funny; I used to wonder, back in the day, if I could write if no one left a comment [ Read: write if no one was reading] and now I know I can. That in itself is liberating :-)

Lori
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Craig McBreen July 24, 2014 at 4:52 pm

Hi Lori,

You’re welcome! And yes, many of the people you and I knew are long gone. And I was doing the same as you … plenty of days and nights engaging without purpose.

Well it certainly sounds like you’ve found a rhythm :) Some of the most successful entrepreneurs blog and have very few comments, even though they crank out great posts. And just like you, comments are down here, but that’s because I can’t comment everywhere like I used to.

“It’s funny; I used to wonder, back in the day, if I could write if no one left a comment [ Read: write if no one was reading] and now I know I can. That in itself is liberating ”
–Me too … and I agree.

Thanks!
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Carrie Morgan July 24, 2014 at 10:15 am

Craig, brilliant post! I can’t tell you how many people who complain about social media being useless are the very same ones with no strategy, no target audience, no goals. It makes ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

If this is something that you can’t do for yourself, hire a professional to help. Even if it is just for the strategy portion, so you have a roadmap to follow. Don’t spin your wheels!
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Craig McBreen July 24, 2014 at 4:54 pm

Hi Carrie,

Thank you. You need an overall strategy, starting with your brand and everything tied to it. (I’m still at it, because it’s always a work-in-progress ;))

“If this is something that you can’t do for yourself, hire a professional to help. Even if it is just for the strategy portion, so you have a roadmap to follow. Don’t spin your wheels!”
–Cheers to that!

Thanks for the visit!
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Maxwell Ivey July 24, 2014 at 6:33 pm

Hi Craig; Its funny you wrote this post this week. I just finished a guest post for harleena singh about being a blind blogger who inspires others. well, i mention in there that its probably a blessing that I am blind when it comes to social media because I would spend more time on face book, linked in, twitter, etc if it weren’t for the fact that accessing these sites with a screen reader isn’t much fun. I only go on social media to post status updates, share other people’s posts, and respond to email notifications. what do you think? How is that for finding the positive? fine post with good advice for time management and business success, Max
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Craig McBreen July 26, 2014 at 9:58 am

Hi Max,

Harleena is great! Haven’t talked to her in a while. Well you Sir, are indeed an inspiration, but yes, I think it’s good if anyone spends less time on these channels.

“I only go on social media to post status updates, share other people’s posts, and respond to email notifications. what do you think? How is that for finding the positive?”
–I think you have it nailed, Sir!
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Craig Lindberg July 25, 2014 at 4:43 am

Craig,
Spot on. You’ve described exactly where social veers off in so many minds including mine at one point. After the initial excitement to get my SMM off the ground, it was like I was flying in a fog bank with poor instrumentation and no map. Still not where it should be but I’ve got a much better idea of what needs fix’in :-)
Glad to read the affirmation, thanks for sharing that!
Cheers!
Craig
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Craig McBreen July 26, 2014 at 10:00 am

Hi Craig,

Well, I veered off the course a few times too ;) That initial excitement does it to you and I love your analogy!

You’re welcome and thank you for the great comments.
Craig McBreen recently posted..Can Social Media Engagement Kill Your Business?My Profile

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Josh July 29, 2014 at 12:04 am

You either manage your time or it will manage you.

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Craig McBreen July 30, 2014 at 7:25 pm

Word :)

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Jens-Petter Berget August 6, 2014 at 12:08 am

Looking for fast feedback and attention, that’s our worst enemy. That’s something I «struggle» with personally and in business as well. Many times when I hit publish, I keep checking to see if people comment, like or share, instead of moving on and being productive.

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Craig McBreen August 6, 2014 at 4:57 pm

Hey Jens,

We ALL do it from time to time. We’re only human, after all :) Just keeping yourself from getting completely sucked into the vortex is tough … I want engagement of course, but have to be careful, otherwise business will suffer. Thanks for stopping in.

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