Selling the “Magic” of Social Media

social media marketing magicMy “twitter” stream is alive with conversation on the topic of the ROI of social media.  There are obviously a lot of people busily trying to sell “management” on the “magic” of social media.

This makes me chuckle warmly.

I remember way back in 1997 when I was trying to “sell” management at the company where I worked on the “value” of having an internet presence.   The topic of ROI was a popular one then and the end result of those conversations was the launch of my own consulting firm with my former employer as my first client.

However, while I delivered a very passionate plea more than a decade ago about the “ROI” of the internet, I’ve decidedly changed my tune.  Today, I will boldy declare –

There is no marketing MAGIC inherent in social media.

Time and extensive experience have taught me that there is NOT an OUNCE of marketing magic inherent in any social media application.

  • There’s no marketing magic in blogging.
  • There’s no marketing magic in Twitter.
  • There’s no marketing magic in Facebook.

I say this despite my own personal experience of obtaining THREE leads for new business over the past ten days from these sources.

So why am I not screaming from the rafters that social media is MARKETING MAGIC?

Why am I not writing about how to you MUST use social media so you can EXPLODE your business like I have used it for mine?

The marketing magic in social media lies in the marketing message and not the media used to deliver that message!

Think about it.  Lots of companies use television to deliver their marketing message – yet television advertising is not touted as ” marketing magic”.

Why would social media be any different?

Social media is merely communication – that’s all.  Just as television advertising allows you to communicate with a wide audience, social media allows you to communicate with an equally wide audience.

Social media is merely communication that has been supercharged by technology – communication on steroids so to speak.  While you need a video production crew to create your marketing message if you’re going to use television advertising, the basic rules of engagement remain the same.

If you don’t have anything interesting to say to your target audience, then social media marketing won’t create sales for your business.

What’s worse, if you have something to HIDE in your business then you’ll soon discover that Social Marketing is Like Showing Up Naked to a Cocktail Party.

The only “magic sauce” in social media is brought to the table – BY YOU!

When I say “you” I’m not speaking of a “corporate you” but rather you as an individual.  If you’re an individual employed by a company then you are being employed to share your individuality as an important and possibly irreplaceable corporate asset.  (Read more about this in Do you think you work with corporations or individuals?)

If it is your business goal is to separate customers from their money as quickly as possible and by doing as little as you can in return (read about my experience with my pest control company for a fine example of this kind of thinking) then social media marketing is going to be a DISASTER for your company.  If this is your business model, then the transparency social media provides is going to be the absolute WORST thing that can happen to your business.  Run, don’t walk as fast as you can from social media and pray that social media advocates don’t find your business for a long, long time.

Just as a poorly produced television ad won’t deliver sales, a poorly produced and delivered social media marketing campaign won’t deliver sales either. The difference is – you won’t have to PAY to air your poorly produced marketing message via social media.

If you want to use social media for marketing purposes – you’d better know why customers or clients are buying your products or services.  That’s the key to creating ANY effective marketing message no matter WHAT media you use to deliver your message.

Should you choose to “air” that marketing message via social media, you’d better provide EXCEPTIONAL customer service because you’ve targeted consumers who have already demonstrated a propensity to communicate via social media!

In layman’s terms, bloggers love nothing better than a good story – so be sure you don’t create great blog fodder by screwing over your customers.

Oh, I’ve been assuming that you have a viable business model thus far in the discussion about the marketing magic qualities of social media.  If you’re great at creating conversation but you don’t have ANY idea how to convert those people with whom you’re speaking into paying clients or customers – then social media marketing will be a huge disappointment for you as well.

If there is any “magic” in social media marketing it would have to be in the combination of  the ability to engage in meaningful conversation and converting those conversations into sales of products and services.   Which proves my point that the magic doesn’t lie in social media tools but rather the magic is inherent in the individuals who are using social media successfully.


  1. Hi Kathy – Well put. “…the magic doesn’t lie in social media tools but rather the magic is inherent in the individuals who are using social media successfully.”

    All social media mediums are “just conversation”. Knowing how to use them to our advantage is the real secret. It sounds like you have that part nailed. 🙂

    Barbara Swaffords last blog post..When Things Aren’t As They Appear

  2. Barbara,

    You are truly one who knows how to use the “conversation” to build community! Thanks for the comment!

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  4. Hi Kathy
    Really good post here. It has taken me a long time to figure out the best way to use each of the different social networks for business. In fact I am still regularly surprised by the content that appeals to users; often it is not the well planned and thought out blog posts that took a day to research and write but a simple tip or idea.