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Social Media and the Solution to Your Problems

By: Guest | February 23, 2012 | 
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Today’s guest post is written by Ken Mueller.

My wife is trying to kill me.

She just read this book, French Women Don’t Get Fat, and apparently one of the reasons French women don’t get fat is because they drink a lot of water.

OK, they do a lot of other things as well, but my wife’s big takeaway was: Drink a lot of water.

As a result, I feel like every time I turn around, there she is, handing me a glass of water.

Got a cold? Drink more water.

Got a headache? Drink more water.

I’m waiting for the day I slip on the ice and break a leg. I know she’ll try to hand me a glass of water as if it’s the cure-all.

Now understand: I’m rapidly approaching my 50th birthday. Drinking too much water, while possibly good for my health, also has other implications which probably shouldn’t be discussed here.

It’s like all those diets – the Atkins Diet, the South Beach Diet, and so on. Back in the 70s my dad even tried the grapefruit diet as a way to lose weight fast. He ate nothing but grapefruit for weeks!

Fad diets come and go. When we discover something new, we get excited. We latch on to each next big thing as if it’s the only thing. That’s understandable, and that’s what many have done with social media and some of the specific platforms within social media.

Need more sales? Use social media. Need a job? Use social media. Need to grow your business? Use social media. There was a time when folks were shoving social media down our throats as if it was the cure all. It’s not a magic bullet. Nothing is.

On the other hand, we’re at a point where social media is no longer a matter of “Should I be there?”

As Gini Dietrich recently said in a comment over on one of my blog posts:

“With all the changes happening in search right now, if companies aren’t using social media, they’re going to get lost in the shuffle. To this point, I’ve been pretty diligent in having clients use social media only if it made sense for their industry (for instance, our oxidizer client shouldn’t be using Twitter). But, with changes at Google, we’re going to have to look at Google+ and how it affects search and our rankings. It’s not a nice-to-have in 2012. It’s a must.”

While social media is not a cure-all, a strong social online presence (and this includes your website and blog) might be the most important thing in shaping your business for years to come.

The one-way nature of traditional marketing means our messaging is a reflection of who we are. It is shaped by the culture of our business. But the two-way nature of the social web changes everything. Yes, our messaging is shaped by who we are, but if we approach it properly, our social presence will also profoundly shape us and the way in which we do business.

Drinking water may not cure everything, but odds are it will have a positive effect on your health. I don’t care if you are fat or a French woman (and according to the book, you can’t be both) your social presence can make your business healthier. Notice, I didn’t say wealthier, though that might happen as well.

When you go online, you can tell the difference between a company that views social media as merely a set of tools for delivering a message, and a company that has adopted the social mindset into the core of business model and operations.

It’s all a matter of perspective, mindset, and expectations. What are your thoughts?

Oh, and if you need me, I’ll most likely be in the bathroom.

Ken Mueller combines his 30 years of experience in the media industry in Inkling Media. Follow him on Twitter @kmueller62.

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70 Comments on "Social Media and the Solution to Your Problems"

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Shonali
4 years 4 months ago

That last bit made me laugh. And the first bit made me laugh, because your wife sounds like me, and my husband would sympathize with you!

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@Shonali Sigh. I’d reply more to your comment, but I have to go pee right now.

TheJackB
4 years 4 months ago

I thought that the reason French women don’t get fat is because they spend so much time walking ugly little dogs, but what do I know. I spent six hours trapped at Degaulle and never found a cab driver who was willing to speak English.

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@TheJackB Wow, I like your answer better! Speaking of which, my wife just told me to take the dog for a walk. But Shadow isn’t an ugly little dog. He’s a fine looking big ol’ dog.

BobReed
4 years 4 months ago

It always comes down to knowing who you want to talk, where they are, and how they’re listening. Otherwise, you’re just playing with tools rather than working with them.

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@BobReed Exactly. And listening in return.

Craig McBreen
4 years 4 months ago

Drink a lot of water, huh? Now I know the secret. Ooooop … time for a bathroom break.

The best thing is the ability to track a campaign these days, with an overwhelming arsenal of tools at your disposal. Still trying to get a handle on that, but it’s one of the reasons I come here. 🙂

We need to see a photo of a fat French woman, if you can find one.

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@Craig McBreen well, you won’t find a fat French woman here. We’re all busy drinking water. and peeing.

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[…] the folks at Spin Sucks say, it’s not a cure-all. But once you decide to get into the social media space, it’s not […]

keithbloemendaal
4 years 4 months ago

So, what we are saying here is:

If you aren’t using social media to make your biz healthier, drink more water, it will fix it.

If you are using social media, drink more water anyway.

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@keithbloemendaal That’s pretty good. Because Gini would come up with the same thing and say that no matter what, you should drink. And it wouldn’t be water she was drinking.

Lisa Gerber
4 years 4 months ago

What this tells me is you can write the best lead ever.

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@Lisa Gerber I write pretty good titles, too….but sometimes people edit them. because they hate me.

Lisa Gerber
4 years 4 months ago

@KenMueller People suck.

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@Lisa Gerber i know! but body noises and functions rock!

LindsaySouthwick
LindsaySouthwick
4 years 4 months ago

I like the lead-in a lot and it’s a good post overall. One quibble: in fourth-to-last graf, should be ‘effect’ and not ‘affect.’ Sorry to be that guy but it’s a peeve of mine.

Lisa Gerber
4 years 4 months ago

@LindsaySouthwick Wow! that got through a TRIPLE editor filter. Thanks Lindsay, fixing it now. 🙂

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 4 months ago

@Lisa Gerber @LindsaySouthwick Dang. I totally missed that one this morning!

CSBraj
CSBraj
4 years 4 months ago

@GiseleNMendez @kmueller62 Great article with a gem at the center. Sorry, but I also can’t stop giggling : )

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 4 months ago

This made me giggle–which I think distracted me from what the message is. Are you saying you agree with Gini, that social is a must-have? Or that those who simply view social as a “set of tools” for delivering a one-way message would be better off *not* having a social presence?

I tend to disagree that every business must be on social. If a company isn’t interested in engaging, or if their customers aren’t there, or if they don’t have the time (or money) to do it right, then it shouldn’t just be a check-box.

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@jenzings Yes on both counts. I agree with Gini, that it’s imperative to be on social, if you choose the right channels. Having said that, businesses need use the accounts they create, and use them properly. So yes, they need to be on social. But in the right way. I don’t think there are any businesses whose customers aren’t on social. They might not be on Facebook, or Twitter, but they are somewhere. (And most ARE on Facebook at this point). And I also don’t buy the argument of not having enough time or money.

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 4 months ago
@KenMueller Hm…I think there are quite a few small business owners out there who would disagree with the time/money issue. Many of them are handling practically all aspects of the business themselves. They have small shops and maybe one, two, or a half-dozen employees. A few have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts–and of course a website–but there are only so many hours in the day. They are stretched for time, and given their margins, they don’t have a lot of money to pay anyone. Most know that they “need” to do this. But they do struggle at finding the right… Read more »
KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago
@jenzings Well I guess we we will have to disagree. Locally, the clients you are talking about are the ones with which I work. Small independent businesses, solopreneurs, mom and pop businesses where they have one or two people doing everything. They are finding that social media is a game changer and levels the playing field for them. Our city has three very active coffee shops, like you mention, and all of the have social at the top of their agenda. One of them is blogging, and all three are using FB and Twitter. None of them can afford print… Read more »
KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@jenzings Holy crap, I think we both just wrote new blog posts.

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 4 months ago

@KenMueller LOL. I kind of had that feeling after I posted…

PS–tell your wife it is possible to drink too much water, seriously! It’s very rare, but over-hydration can actually be harmful. Throws your body chemistry out of whack or something…

🙂

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@jenzings oh, great…so she’s not trying to keep me healthy? She’s trying to kill me???? That explains why she got “How to Kill a Fat French Woman” out of the library!

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 4 months ago

@KenMueller You are correct that 60% “are there.” But, how often are they there? That’s key. My mother in law is on Facebook–but she dips in once every few months or so. Please don’t misunderstand me–it’s not that I don’t think social is important. It is.

I just think we all need to be uber-cautious about making assumptions, particularly assumptions based on *our* usage patterns and not those of the typical person–whomever that may be.

jenzings
jenzings
4 years 4 months ago

@KenMueller LOL. Good discussion. Have a great evening!

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@jenzings Well, here’s the thing, we hold social to a higher standard. Remember, Facebook is only one channel. We can talk about how many people read print, or watch TV, but they are watching how many different channels?

And, when I talk “social”, I’m including your entire online presence, including your website. You know how many businesses don’t have websites, or are crappy? or are static? This is 2012, look at what is happening here on SS. This isn’t a website, it is a “social” place. This is a big part of it.

adamtoporek
4 years 4 months ago

 @jenzings @KenMueller This is a great debate. You need skypulsemedia he always has the stats on how people aren’t using Facebook!

adamtoporek
4 years 4 months ago

 @KenMueller I think you and @jenzings  both make good points. I would actually lean more towards her time argument (in a lot of cases, not all) except for the new game changer: social search. As you and @ginidietrich point out, that is the change that makes social a “must” for a lot of companies where it wasn’t before.

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago
 @adamtoporek  @jenzings  @ginidietrich But i think a lot of it comes down to a definition of social. I’m talking about social in general, not a specific tool. And I think that social can be done incredibly well without it being a time suck. Let’s hit it from a customer service stance (see how I draw you in?). We have phones and email and other things which we use in our businesses. We don’t ignore them when customers call. If we can provide better channels for customer service, wouldn’t we want to do that? We don’t think about answering the phone as a time… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 4 months ago

@jenzings OF COURSE he agrees with me! Do you think I’d let him blog here if he didn’t?

JustInTheSouth
JustInTheSouth
4 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich – Gini The Great!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 4 months ago

@JustInTheSouth Bwahahahahaah

SmokinHotPR
SmokinHotPR
4 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich Good day Gini! Hope you had a great week!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 4 months ago

@SmokinHotPR Hi my Russian friend!

SmokinHotPR
SmokinHotPR
4 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich Good afternoon! What is fun and exciting in PR world?

JustInTheSouth
JustInTheSouth
4 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich LOL. Had to clean my computer screen after that one.

JustInTheSouth
JustInTheSouth
4 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich “The Great!”

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 4 months ago

@JustInTheSouth LOL

@Quartz164
@Quartz164
4 years 4 months ago

I just poured water on my iPad…thanks a lot Ken.

Nice post. I agree on all acounts. As someone noted on your blog today, at some point it’s not social media marketing, it’s just marketing. Social media platforms are becoming a must marketing medium kind of like newspapers were the cost of entry for car dealers 10 years ago.

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@@Quartz164 I know more businesses across the board that are shifting time and money away from the traditional way of doing things: yellow pages, print, etc. It can be done, if you do it properly.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 4 months ago

@@Quartz164 @KenMueller Are the two of you connected at the hip? First on Ken’s blog this morning. Now here. So cute.

@Quartz164
@Quartz164
4 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich @KenMueller I follow him around to make sure nobody picks on him.

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

@@Quartz164 @ginidietrich Kevin likes to accuse me…er…give me credit for helping him meet his girlfriend, via Twitter. Plus, he’s an incredibly smart PR/Marketing guy. You should get to know him.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 4 months ago

I’m not French. I’m not fat. But I do drink a lot of water. You should listen to your wife.

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

 @ginidietrich That’s all you could come up with? I’m worried that if I drink a lot of water, I’ll BECOME a French woman!

C_Pappas
4 years 4 months ago

 @KenMueller
 Haha! We want a video of that one!

SocialMediaDDS
4 years 3 months ago
 @KenMueller I thought that this post was genius in that you were able to segue exquisitely from thin French women drinking water to using social media in business.  And you really pulled it off well!!  The most profound line IMO? …”While social media is not a cure-all, a strong social online presence (and this includes your website and blog) might be the most important thing in shaping your business for years to come” And, we need to cut @ginidietrich some slack for her cute and quippy comment here…you have to admit that the quote by ginidietrich  that you referenced in your post… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
4 years 3 months ago

 @SocialMediaDDS  Thank you, Claudia. I love you.

kmueller62
kmueller62
4 years 4 months ago

@kbloemendaal thanks for the RT, Keith!

geoffliving
geoffliving
4 years 4 months ago

Drink more water. Amen! I have to pee now.

katskrieger
katskrieger
4 years 4 months ago
Love this. My mom always says you should drink half your weight in ounces of water every day. I try valiantly and usually fail.  LOL Social is a must, but it can be a struggle for some, especially with small biz or lean and mean co’s like mine.  I always struggle with perfecting content, figuring out how best to engage, and finding time on top of an already full plate. But nowhere do I think I should not be engaging. In fact, I recently had a passionate discussion with my mom about why her biz was not on FB and was… Read more »
KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

 @katskrieger We’re all in the same boat. We’re all swamped and busy. But if it’s important, you’ll find time. We always make time for the things we want to do or have to do. We tend to put our online social presence on the backburner. That needs to change. 

kmueller62
kmueller62
4 years 4 months ago

@wolftrust thanks for the RT!

LisaMarieMary
4 years 4 months ago

I’ve nothing wise or profound to share. I would like to point out Ken’s lovely G+ profile, however: https://plus.google.com/108209527607096296542/posts
 
That’s the one that’s linked to his name in his sig file. Haha! 

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

 @LisaMarieMary That is clearly not me! Wonder how that happened!

KenMueller
4 years 4 months ago

 @LisaMarieMary ooh. nice catch. That would be Gini or Lisa who put that link there! Wrong version of me, I guess! This would be me: https://plus.google.com/u/0/104311204288765463015/posts

LisaMarieMary
4 years 4 months ago

 @KenMueller LOL! Yeah, I found you on my own. I cracked up when I saw that first one, though. 

janwong
4 years 4 months ago

LOL this is definitely an entertaining post on water / social media. True enough, there are tons of social media ‘experts’ out there swearing by the power of social media as if it is a magical potion. The thing is, water may not be the cure to everything, but it is a necessity to us, which also makes social media an important component in businesses today simply because it is a very powerful communication tool, not a cure. Now I’m off to get a glass of water 😉

KenMueller
4 years 3 months ago

 @janwong Nice analogy. That’s sort of where I was headed but never made that full connection! 

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