Yes, Social Media Can Be a Complete Waste Of Time

By Melonie Dodaro

Being a social media consultant, people expect me to be the first person to jump up and defend every aspect of the social stratosphere like it’s some sort of golden ticket to success.

Sorry to disappoint you but you won’t be getting any of that from me.

The truth is there is A LOT of activity on social media that is not only a complete waste of time but it also gets way too much hype from wannabe marketers jumping on the bandwagon. It sounds harsh but if you inadvertently drink some of this Kool-Aid, you and your business are going to be paying for it.

One of the reasons I take a different approach to social media is because I am a business owner and entrepreneur first, and a social media consultant second.
Some of you think I might be biased… and you’re right, but if you read on I think you will see that my words will ring true and likely point out a few flaws in your own social media strategy thus far.

Traditional Marketing Methods Don’t Work

Everyone that gets enthusiastic about social media usually ends up making this mistake at one point or another and wondering why it didn’t generate more interest. This is also where most businesses decide to give up on social media but when you realize the environment you are working inside, it starts to make perfect sense.

Traditional marketers have a hard time understanding that they need to treat social media differently than they do other forms of traditional advertising. It’s not a bulletin board to plaster ads on at your disposal. If you are trying to blatantly shell out your ads on social media it’s akin to walking through a cocktail party wearing a giant sign saying “BUY MY STUFF”.

The only thing people want to do to that guy is kick them out of the party.

With social media you won’t even get the opportunity to be escorted out of the room, you’ll just get blocked and never invited again with no second chances. Knowing this, how could one possibly consider an attempt to push products down people’s throats online? It’s one I will never understand…

I fully understand how much this frustrates a lot of business owners and senior management because they fail to see and understand the solution.
It’s not about you. It’s about them – them being your customer. I don’t mean customers.

Customer. Singular.

You see very different results with your social media marketing campaigns once you start thinking about your customers as individuals. They don’t care about you but they care about themselves, their friends and their family. It’s challenging but you need to fit within the context of that landscape or you will gain no more respect than a telemarketer calling during dinnertime.

Sell Solutions, Not Products

Don’t let anyone convince you that you need to be on every single social network or corning every new social media tool as it pops up. There are so many incredible tools available that you could make a full-time job out of finding and testing them all to determine which one is best.

From someone that has personally spent thousands upon thousands of dollars trying out tools over the years, I can tell you that they all have their benefits but nothing beats just diving in and interacting with the right people. Depending on your size, analytics will vary in importance – it’s non-negotiable for brands but small businesses don’t generally create enough data to justify intricate analysis.

Content should be your top priority with engagement and interacting with your target market coming in at a very close second. It would be first if it weren’t for the fact that content is the bait. You see, content isn’t just you giving away free stuff – you are bringing yourself closer to your target market by connecting through solutions.

To give an example, imagine if you were in the business of selling soap for a moment. You will not succeed selling soap on Facebook or Twitter… I can tell you this right now. What you need to start thinking about instead is selling “clean living”. Although it’s not an actual physical product, it’s the concept that you and your customer have in common. They like to be clean, you helpthem get that way.

The Devil is Truly in the Details

People get hung up on all the changes that constantly bombard the social media world but the reality is none of that stuff matters. I’m bracing myself for a few nasty emails after that comment but since I’ve started in social media, I have barely changed my approach and continue to get over 70 per cent of my business from LinkedIn alone.
This stuff works but it will quickly become a black hole sucking up every second of productivity in your day when you start to focus on the little details. If you are spending more time figuring out the right time to post, rather than creating quality content that has impact with your audience, you’re taking the wrong approach.

I single out finding the right time to post at because there is a fair amount of research on the topic and so much of it differs and, more importantly, evolves over time.
It’s not just the social networks that are evolving but also the way people use them.

Research data is always going to be jogging behind what’s current and will never tell you about your specific audience. I’m not saying research data isn’t valuable or that analytics is a waste of time. What I am saying is that you need to get that connection with your customer first and then once you’ve achieved success, it’s time to analyze what you did right and what you can improve.

Social media is the ultimate relationship building platform and you can create a flood of brand evangelists, when you use it right!

Melonie Dodaro, founder of Top Dog Social Media helps business owners, entrepreneurs and professionals use social media marketing to boost their visibility, attract new customers and increase their revenue. Dubbed by the media as Canada’s #1 LinkedIn expert and social media strategist, she’s also a highly sought after social media speaker and trainer. To download your free report called Stop Wasting Time & Start Getting Results With Social Media visit