I found the title of B.J. Mendelson’s book provocative. He’s a bit of a marketer himself, however his business title is humorist and social critic. He’s not saying social media is worthless or a waste of time; he’s not talking about social media in the social context where we are chatting with our friends online. Rather he’s talking about social media as a SMALL business sales tool. He is saying it’s over hyped, not the solution it’s cracked up to be and those who are getting rich are the social media trainers and coaches.
Many of you remember that a few years ago lots of business people thought you just put up a website and the traffic would come. The situation with social media is parallel. Today many believe if they embrace social media or just knew the secrets, they could unleash lots of business from it. That’s really not the case. Does it happen sometimes? Yes… but qualify that with a lot of “ifs.”
His points include these:
1. What we are calling social media is not new, but bigger, better versions of tools from the early internet.
2. The individuals making money off social media are the trainers and coaches who urge people to embrace the big Six Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, foursquare and Tumblr.) Social Media is a 21st Century get-rich-quick scheme.
3. It’s nearly impossible to generate a massive following on any platform today without either a strong network to begin with, a huge marketing budget for advertising, or success with PR and the media. “Social media success stories” get revised and omit the connections that actually create breakthrough careers or viral events.
If you are a social media marketer or questioning the hype, hope you’ll check out this book. It’s concise, entertaining and I do believe he speaks the truth.
Karen Nierlich is an internet marketing consultant with Full Orbit Web and Marketing. She helps clients create websites, promote websites and find reasonable, doable ways to thrive on the web. Her clients include small and medium businesses and thought leaders.