Gini Dietrich

Three Social Media Myths

By: Gini Dietrich | June 15, 2011 | 
88

A few weeks ago, Rieva Lesonsky was in town for an event and we got together for brunch. During that brunch we talked about running a business, social media experts, whether or not we’re facing a bubble burst, and solving all the world’s problems.

Rieva is one of the smartest women I know. If you don’t know who she is, I recommend Googling her. She’s kind of a big deal, though she would never, in a million years, give off that air. In fact, to sit and talk to her, you really have no idea how big of a deal she really is. And, I mean she’s not a social media big deal. She’s an in real life big deal.

But this isn’t a post about Rieva (as much as I love her). I did that in a #FollowFriday post last year.

This is a post about the myths she wrote about, after we solved them all.

Myth: You don’t really need a website. An online presence on Facebook or Yelp or “fill in the blank” site will suffice.

Reality: Rieva and I agree here. One of the things we tell our clients, all the time, is not to push customers and prospects to something they don’t own. Yes, you should claim your business on Yelp. Yes, you should have a Facebook page (especially if you’re a consumer-facing business). But, for heaven’s sakes, don’t use those platforms in place of your website. What happens when they die?

Myth: Follow your passion and build a business around that. Or, do what you love and the money will follow.

Reality: I half agree with Rieva here. She says you should build a business around something you can market; something people will buy. I agree with that. But I also think if you’re not passionate about what you’re doing, you won’t make it. Take, for instance, all of the trouble we’ve had with Spin Sucks Pro. If I weren’t passionate about the vision, if I didn’t really believe we can change the perception of the PR and marketing industries through education, I would have thrown in the towel a long time ago. But where Rieva and I also agree is that you shouldn’t build a business around something you love to do, just because you love to do it. I love to cook; it’s my stress release. But if I had to do it every day, I’d end up hating it.

Myth: Having tens or hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter or friends on Facebook means you must know what you’re talking about.

Reality: Unless you’ve had P&L experience (as Geoff Livingston extols in a recent blog post), unless you can translate your personal branding success to a business (most can’t), or unless you’ve stayed awake late at night wondering how the heck you’re going to make payroll, you likely have no idea how to translate your fans and followers to success for anyone but you. As Rieva says,

Remember social media is a two-way street. It’s supposed to be a conversation. There’s nothing two-way about people telling you they’re too busy to help you, and then turning around and asking you to buy their books or subscribe to their offerings.

She has a few other myths that she explores. You can read them by clicking here. And neither one of us covered every myth out there, including how many small businesses there truly are in the United States and how many books the social media “experts” really are selling. We could go on for days and days.

What myths and realities would you add?

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

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88 Comments on "Three Social Media Myths"

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Krista
5 years 10 days ago

Great insights, Gini and Rieva! I especially agree with the myth that social media will replace the website. I think we were on the same discussion board last week on this topic, but I feel it’s a point worth repeating. Social media platforms may come and go and evolve, so it’s worth it to have a website from which they can connect and redirect for more information.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@Krista That one makes me nuts. It doesn’t cost very much to build a website anymore and it’s a serious stall in a business if you don’t have one. WHY would you let Facebook or Yelp or Hashable or Foursquare own your customer’s and their data?

faybiz
5 years 10 days ago

I agree with the two way street- sorta. More and more I am seeing Twitter esp. as a listening tool- sure for slackers like Gertie it is about conversation, but its not like she is doing anything else all day.

Lori
5 years 10 days ago

@ginidietrich @Krista That’s a good point and a scary thought! Thanks for the perspective on this! You never think of the possibility of Facebook or Twitter dying!

Rieva
Rieva
5 years 10 days ago

@Krista Thanks. It’s really about owning your content and taking responsibility for your own success. As easy (and inexpensive) as it is to build a website these days, I can’t imagine ceding your stuff to someone else’s platform.

NancyD68
5 years 10 days ago
I have a real life example. A few months ago, I put up a status on Facebook asking for a local hair salon. A friend recommended a salon right down the street from me. When I Googled them, they had no web presence. They have no website. They do have a Facebook page. I have been trying to convince them to get a website. I told them that they do not own their Facebook page. The reason? Money. Plain and simple. It is a shame, because they are a good salon that could be doing incredibly well if they were… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@Lori @Krista Oh but they will. They will. Twitter, especially. They STILL haven’t figured out how to monetize themselves. At some point the VC is going to cut off access to the cash.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@faybiz True. I only tweet. Therefore I am.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@NancyD68 I LOVE that analogy. I use it all the time. Your example is a really good one. It makes me nuts, but think of the perception it leaves. You can get a really nice website for less than $3K now. There is no reason not to have one.

Tinu
5 years 10 days ago
@Rieva & @ginidietrich – Would have loved to hear an audio of this conversation! Just love that you explored this as a conversation, period, particularly the two of you. OK, more myths: – It’s more important to “do social media” than it is to have any concrete goals or plans for it. – As long as I’m tweeting or using Facebook, I don’t need to do any other type of marketing or PR – Social media is just Twitter and Facebook. It doesn’t include blogging, YouTube, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, Delicious, etc. Enjoying reading comments too for a change – love what… Read more »
NancyD68
5 years 10 days ago

@ginidietrich If they were not recommended by someone I grew up with, I would have kept looking. When I look for a company online, I better find you, or I am spending my money elsewhere.

They are nice guys too. They just don’t get it. They also don’t see the harm because Facebook is free, and web designers are not. Some things though, are worth the money.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@NancyD68 Sigh…let me at them!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@Tinu @Rieva It was a super fun brunch! We definitely could create world peace, given a little time.

LOVE these myths! They might have to be compiled into a part two. Love!

KDillabough
5 years 10 days ago

@ginidietrich @Tinu @Rieva I look forward to part 2! And can I join the world peace brunch?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@KDillabough @Tinu @Rieva YES!

KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 10 days ago

funny, I agree with your agreements (or half agreements) of @Rieva . I gotta stop that. You’re gonna get a big head if I agree with you too much!

faybiz
5 years 10 days ago

@ginidietrich sadly, such a oneway street, we all listen to you, but where is the love…

KDillabough
5 years 10 days ago
@ginidietrich I love this post! I deal with small/medium sized business owners (the business, not the owner:), and it’s a constant conversation about the “why”…WHY are they doing, or planning to do something in social media? What’s the purpose? I was with a potential client yesterday who was talking about “getting on social media” (yuck, yikes, here we go again…), but when I asked, “What do you want to achieve?”…no answer. I then had them go to their computer, and asked them to check out some of their competitors, by typing in a keyword. No knowledge of keyword. No understanding… Read more »
Rieva
Rieva
5 years 10 days ago

@Tinu @ginidietrich If only I’d taken notes while we ate, I could have created a book outline just from our conversation. And Tinu, I so agree with your myths. I go back and forth trying to decide if the business owners who avoid building their own sites and think social media = only Twitter or Facebook are lazy, insecure or merely uninformed.

NancyD68
5 years 10 days ago

@ginidietrich Get out here to Jersey then. We can go shoe shopping after you get them to agree to a website!

Sean McGinnis
5 years 10 days ago

@Rieva @Tinu @ginidietrich There’s another book! Gini, you’re gonna be very busy in the coming months. Maybe you should put down Pro for a while… {ducks}

sydcon_mktg
5 years 10 days ago

@NancyD68 @ginidietrich Some things are worth the money! I bet they believe their salon services are worth the money. They want people to invest in them and their services they need to show those potential customers that they are invested in themselves. Having the web presence is as important as how the salon looks!

sydcon_mktg
5 years 10 days ago
@KDillabough @ginidietrich @Rieva Isnt it amazing how some clients do no research? We have clients who have told us “we want a new web presence” or “we want to create a web presence” but have no idea what that means or entails. They just hear everyone saying they need one. One of the first things we discuss in consults is competitor sites and web presence, it is totally scary how many clients have no clue where their competitors stand in relation to them. Companies need to realize its not just important to get on social media/web but it is even… Read more »
wabbitoid
5 years 10 days ago

Good myths, and ones that are important to keep track of. But I think the real origin of all of these myths is the idea that any of us really know what we are doing – that there is a formula that can be applied by rote to craft “success” with this new field. There is just no substitute for a clear, open mind and a commitment to strategic focus with clear goals.

KDillabough
5 years 10 days ago

@sydcon_mktg @ginidietrich @Rieva Jennifer, it’s scary, isn’t it? And the “why are you doing it,,, for what significant, beneficial difference…for what measurable results?” question that receives a blank stare…even scarier. My comment then is: “If you don’t know the “why”, there’s no way you can have a successful “how.” Cheers! Kaarina

BestRoofer
BestRoofer
5 years 10 days ago

Really like the cartoon and the last myth about the P&L experience plus wondering about how to make payroll!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@faybiz I’m too important to talk to you.

sydcon_mktg
5 years 10 days ago

@KDillabough I am going to have to use your retort…If you don’t know the “why”, there’s no way you can have a successful “how.” Brillant!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@Sean McGinnis Oh I can write AND get Pro launched. Now that I have the A team working with me, things just got a whole lot easier!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@KenMueller Let’s find something to disagree on.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@KenMueller We could disagree about baseball, but I don’t care enough about it to debate. Hmmmm….

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@KDillabough There are many reasons I love you, but one of them is because we think alike, in the way we work with clients. We ask WHY all the time, too! I want to get on Twitter. WHY? I need a Facebook page. WHY? I want to do videos. WHY?

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@wabbitoid Exactly.

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@BestRoofer Thank you for noticing the cartoon. I laughed out loud at it!

Tinu
5 years 10 days ago

@ginidietrich @Tinu @Rieva Sign me up for part two and the world peace brunch. 🙂

janbeery
5 years 10 days ago
We find ourselves leading with the why’s all the time. Why do you have a website? Why is there a dead man on a mattress on your website? Why do you need to blog? Why can’t I find you on a search? Educating on the why’s is what brings our value to the table. We do what we do so they can do what you do. Some meetings, my only comment is, “my brain hurts.” Those are the clients that need to stay on their own path and we’ll help those who are willing and engaged in being helped. I… Read more »
KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 10 days ago

@ginidietrich well, we both think I”m Muelleriffic, so that’s out. I’m not sure we can find much to disagree on.

janbeery
5 years 10 days ago
We have the “why” conversations all the time. Why do you have a website? Why is it so out of date? Why is there a dead man on a mattress on your home page? Why can’t anyone find you on a search? All those whys lead to what can be done to help and how much help are you willing to except, ahem, contract for? Some meetings are left with me saying, “my brain hurts, I need a cocktail!” Cocktail clients are the ones we let fend for themselves. Why try and help clients who aren’t wiling to except the… Read more »
ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@KenMueller I’ll think of something!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@janbeery I’m sorry. “Why is there a dead man on a mattress on your home page?”

W? T? H?

KenMueller
KenMueller
5 years 10 days ago

@ginidietrich well dont go too far out of your way! you could be ruining a perfectly wonderful relationship! Oh wait, @BestRoofer is here on the porch. I gotta go!

janbeery
5 years 10 days ago

@ginidietrich Yup. That’s right! guess it was supposed to be a sleeping man. Take a look at this blog! Said picture is there! http://ow.ly/5iyob

faybiz
5 years 10 days ago

@ginidietrich is that irony? or oxymoronic? and yes YOU ARE too important to talk me

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 10 days ago
Wise Gini! Great advice. You once discussed the website thing in a Facebook Question of the Week I recall. And I say ‘Funnel from Yelp and Twitter and Facebook to your website’ not the other way around. And I was so smug and happy this week when Media Post, Business Insider, and YAHOO! all had articles on Facebook dying the slow death….like a year after I announced it but hey better late than never right? In fact during a client meeting I discussed good news that we have increased traffic to the fan page using Twitter and immediately after how… Read more »
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[…] Three Social Media Myths […]

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@HowieSPM Amen. I totally agree with all of this. Yes!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@janbeery Wait. This is your blog. I don’t see it!

ginidietrich
ginidietrich
5 years 10 days ago

@KenMueller @BestRoofer Wait for me! Skype me in!

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 10 days ago

@ginidietrich I agreed with you first!

HowieSPM
HowieSPM
5 years 10 days ago

@ginidietrich @janbeery I don’t see a dead sleeping man just @EricaAllison leaving a @Griddy length comment.

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