If you're still here, can we, pretty please, talk to the people around us and do something to prevent these tragic conversations? Consider this a public service announcement or a rant, however you choose. But enough is enough.
1. Getting More Followers and Fans
Unless you can tell me what the hell they're going to do for you, how you're going to mobilize them, and what you're going to give back to them that makes it worth their while to grant you their attention and continue to give it, who cares? People aren't marbles, and you don't get any points for collecting a bunch of staring eyeballs that are waiting for you to do something significant. Attention only matters if can move people beyond noticing, and into investing their time and energy.
2. Misdefined ROI
Google it. If you know what ROI really is, you'll eventually figure how to do the work and connect the dots between your social media endeavors and your finances, your brand, or a combination of the two. You'll find other metrics, too, that point toward success or lack of it.
If you don't, quit bastardizing the term ROI and using cryptic, fluffy interpretations of it in order to avoid admitting that you don't understand it, or to dodge the whole measurement and accountability issue altogether. If you're using vague ROI arguments to stand in for what's really a lack of a business case, you have work to do on explaining why you care about social media in the first place.
3. Entitlement to Free Stuff
The people on the web with knowledge, expertise, and information owe you none of it. Some will put it out there for free because they believe there's value in contributing to the whole. But they don't owe you a thing, and they can take it away or change the game anytime they want.
Whether they'll be successful or not is for their potential customers to decide. But you are not entitled to a bit of it. Pay or don't pay for what's valuable to you personally, but quit with the naive notion that social media and money don't or can't go together, and that content creators are morally or ethically corrupt because they're asking for compensation in return for making their knowledge and experience available.
4. Joining the Conversation
This was probably a great phrase at the emergence of all of this, but it's become so diluted that it means little anymore. Join which conversation? For what purpose? With whom? And what then? Let's start talking about the INTENT behind the conversation in the first place, and the underlying value of being present and engaged with the right people who give a rip what you have to say, not just anyone with a frontal lobe and an internet connection.
5. What's The Next Whatever
We have all of the "new" we could possibly want, but we're distinctly lacking in execution with what we have. Clamoring for the next big thing is looking for permission to be messy. It's easier to latch on to something new and unproven, because then you're not accountable. Instead, man (or woman) up, and get busy wrangling the things you already have at your disposal to do something worthwhile.
6. Content is King.
Like hell. Creating content is not what wins you the prize. It's not enough to write something, or populate a blog, or create a video. Content is worth precisely ZERO until it's being found, consumed, and then used to do something. It needs to drive people to action - sharing, buying, building, interacting.
And guess what, stargazers? If your content isn't propelling people to act on something that eventually delivers something of value back to your business (provided you're talking content marketing and not outright contribution for charitable purpose), it's a time sink. That makes it decidedly less than king.
7. The Quest for Universal Constants
How many people do I need to manage social media? How many hours a day? How much budget? What should I put on my Facebook page? Do we need a LinkedIn Group? Where's the case study?
Stop. There's more than enough information out there to guide you toward the big picture constants. The rest you're going to have to find out for yourself by actually doing something, and putting it all in context of your own situation. This is no different than anything else, ever. You still have to build your own sales strategy, HR plan, CRM approach irrespective of what's been done before, no matter how long those concepts have been around. If you're spending all your time building your cloned safety net based on other people's situations, you're already behind the game, and not focused on what your business needs.
8. Social Media Experts and Proverbial Snake Oil
Who cares? If you're a business, do your due diligence the way you would with any other adviser you hire. Do some research. Ask hard questions about results, accountability, and strategies that can survive a shift in technology. Read the countless blog posts out there - like this awesome one by Jason Falls - about how to find a professional that knows what they're doing.
If you're a fellow contender in the space that's crabby because other people are stealing your thunder or making a mockery of the profession you hold so dear, suck it up. Go work hard. Prove your substance through what you do. Let the idiots hang themselves on the empty, shoddy frameworks of "strategy" that they're peddling to those that are so desperate for a social media success story that they'll buy anything. Sympathy time is over for the gullible, and it's time for you over there to run your own damn race.
9. Social Media Is Hype, Stale, Old, Whatever.
If you think it has potential but you think we could be doing more, put your money where your mouth is. Don't just brag about unfollowing someone who didn't meet your standards as some self-righteous stunt. Offer something constructive of your own. Do it better. If it has practical uses but there are misconceptions, correct them through illustrating the alternatives, teaching, doing.
Think it's lame altogether? Tired of hearing about it? Convinced it's hype and bunk? That's fine. Then close your Twitter account, get off Facebook, stop blogging, and go do something else. It's all optional. We'll be fine without you.
There. I said my piece on those for now. That feels better. What about you? I know this isn't particularly useful as a how-to, but sometimes even the most of constructive of us need to stomp and holler before we can get back to business.
Back to work, now. I'll be bringing you more positive solutions and ideas upcoming. Feel free to add yours the comments, too. We're all in this together. Maybe we'll even learn a thing or two.
Special note to the lovely Meg Fowler: I promise I'll write more about awesomeness very soon. There's plenty of good to share, too.