The Top 5 Things Marketers Should Never Say About Social Media

It’s early January which means it’s time for college football bowl games, returning unwanted holiday gifts, and of course making resolutions for the coming year. Here are some things I resolve to never hear from a brand manager or product marketer or any marketer about social media in 2012… and beyond.

My friend Michael Brenner recently penned a fantastic article called 7 Things Marketers Should Stop Doing Today in which he lays out the things he wants to see marketers cease and desist from immediately. So building off his post, here are the Top Five Things You Shouldn’t Hear A Marketer Say In 2012… And Beyond.

social media

In 2012 I resolve to never hear a marketer say about social media again…

“Social Media is just a fad. In a few years it will all be gone.”

Believe it or not – and I surely still don’t believe it, but there are still what I consider a large portion of marketers who still believe social media is a passing fancy; that it’s not here to stay; that people will grow tired of it. Do these numbers look like a fad to you?

  • One in every nine people on Earth is on Facebook ( This number is calculated by dividing the planets 6.94 billion people by Facebook’s 750 million users)
  • People spend 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook
  • Each Facebook user spends on average 15 hours and 33 minutes a month on the site
  • More than 250 million people access Facebook through their mobile devices
  • More than 2.5 million websites have integrated with Facebook
  • 30 billion pieces of content is shared on Facebook each month
  • 300,000 users helped translate Facebook into 70 languages
  • People on Facebook install 20 million “Apps” every day
  • YouTube has 490 million unique users who visit every month (as of February 2011)
  • YouTube generates 92 billion page views per month (These YouTube stats don’t include videos viewed on phones and embedded in websites)
  • Users on YouTube spend a total of 2.9 billion hours per month (326,294 years)
  • Wikipedia hosts 17 million articles
  • Wikipedia authors total over 91,000 contributors
  • People upload 3,000 images to Flickr (the photo sharing social media site) every minute
  • Flickr hosts over 5 billion images
  • 190 million average  Tweets per day occur on Twitter (May 2011)
  • Twitter is handling 1.6 billion queries per day
  • Twitter is adding nearly 500,000 users a day
  • Google+ has more than 25 million users
  • Google+ was the fastest social network to reach 10 million users at 16 days (Twitter took 780 days and Facebook 852 days)

 In 2012 I resolve to never hear a marketer say about social media again…

“Social Media has no ROI.”

If I had a dime for every time I’ve heard this one… well, you can probably guess how many dimes I would have. What so many marketers have yet to grasp, because they are so accustomed to a traditional bottom line is that in the world of social media, ROI stands for Return On Influence. There was a great article posted not long ago on which put social media ROI in the perfect perspective: “In social media, this is the new ROI, and it’s a term that represents qualitative results more than quantitative statistics. Return on Influence is concerned with engagement, rather than the monetary investment and profits associated with social media metrics.”

social media engagement

Engagement is absolutely, positively the operative word for engaging and interacting with your customers in the social media space (and really you should be engaging with them in ANY space) is paramount for success. I cannot tell you how many marketers simply do not understand or comprehend the magnitude of engagement. It’s probably why I wrote a post not long titled Engagement Is The Most Important Digital Challenge For Marketers. Pretty self-explanatory…

In 2012 I resolve to never hear a marketer say about social media again…

“People follow us on social media because they like the content we share on these sites.”If I may, allow me to share another recent self-explanatory titled post The Major Disconnect Between Brands And Consumers When It Comes To Social Media. The disconnect comes in form of what marketers think and what is in reality happening re: why people follow a brand or business on social media. And you guessed it, consumers don’t care about your content. They want social currency; they want to be first to get exclusive offers, to play games, to enter contests and learn about promotions. 

In other words they want to be rewarded for their loyalty or at least perceived loyalty in the form of a “like” or “follow.” 

In 2012 I resolve to never hear a marketer say about social media again…

“Social media takes too long.”

Another one that falls into the “If I had a dime…” category… actually ALL of these fall into that come to think of it. 

But here again is a common lament. Social media takes too long, requires too much time and on and on and on. Now, I could whip out the “Rome wasn’t built a day” mantra but that’s too easy. On second thought… what the hell. It serves the purpose… Rome wasn’t built in a day you know! Which of course translates into social media speak to mean you can’t just hang a shingle (set up a Twitter and Facebook account) and hope to see an ROI (see above) in a matter of days or even weeks. 

Social media is about engagement and relationships, and just like any good relationship it takes time to develop; it takes time to see the fruits of your labour. But you have to be an active participant in this relationship… AKA you have to engage with the other person in said relationship! 

In 2012 I resolve to never hear a marketer say about social media again…

“Social media has not generated one sale. It is a complete waste of time.”

Aside from the aforementioned need to engage and allow time to develop, there is one other teeny-tiny (cue the sarcasm) minor detail about social media…. If your product stinks, social media is not going to help. What will help is making a better product. 

A little more shameless self-promotion if you don’t mind, but…  in Social Media’s Dirty Little Secret this is precisely the message I wanted to get across. “… if your product, your service, your ware… your whatever is not good to begin with, social media – or ANY advertising/marketing campaign will NOT be able to help.”

Ok, so those are my personal five things that in 2012 I resolve to never hear a marketer say about social media again… of course whether or not I actually hear them is a different story. 

What are some of yours?

Or what are your resolutions in general for 2012 from a marketing and/or advertising perspective?

What trends do you see for 2012?

Sources: Jeff BullasSocialMediaToday, Google Images, Star Group

Steve Olenski is the Creative Director of Digital Services for Star Group, a marketing communications firm dedicated to driving engagement with B2B and B2C brands operating in today’s hyper-competitive, rapidly evolving digital marketplace.