Debunking The Myth: Social Media Is Too Difficult

Good morning, internet fans. It’s Ryan Perry with Simple Biz Support. Today is Wednesday, the 11th. Therefore, it is Social Media Wednesday and as usual, I have the beautiful and talented Sarah Giometti with Provaro Marketing on the other line. Good morning, Sarah.

Sarah Giometti: Good morning, Ryan. How are you today?

RP: I am doing wonderful. I am waiting for it to be afternoon. We’re supposed to be in the low 70s. It’s February. I’m loving it.

SG: Yeah, except for that we do kinda still need winter.

RP: Technicalities. We don’t really need winter, we just need rain and we can just trap that in, I guess, at one point. But we wanted to talk about social media. We’ve kind of been on a debunking mood the last couple of episodes. This episode, we’re going to talk about how difficult, impossible, “I can never make it work” social media. I mean, the reality is, “As a business owner I’ve got to wear all these hats, I’ve got to do HR, I’ve got to do this, I’ve got to do that, I just don’t have time. Why can’t I just buy in or just spend 20 bucks and have somebody generate five links a day for me?”

SG: ‘Cause it’s not all about links. Social media is about being social. It’s not that as hard to learn as you think it is. It is constantly changing and that’s where people think it’s hard to keep up with, but I think for business owners, if you pick one platform and you’re authentic on it, you are talking to your followers as if they are standing right in front of you and you take it one step at a time. And I think that’s where a lot of business owners get overwhelmed is they try to do all of it perfectly all the time, everyday, and all the platforms all at once, and you don’t really need to do that.

SG: But you do need to define who your target market is, you need to know who your audience should be, and pick the one platform that’s best for them and start small. Spend 30 minutes a week to plan out that week. Start in little baby steps. It’s not a ton of time. Learn how to watch what does and doesn’t work. Most of the platforms have analytics and you can look and see. Well, this post got no interaction, this one got tons of interaction and it’s really simple deductive reasoning that you need to do more content, like the one that got a ton of interaction.

RP: Right. So before we go too deep into this, there’s one thing I really want to cover and I don’t think I… Initially when social media really became prevalent, Facebook, all that type of stuff really started taking off, the business owners were taking notice is, we always fall it seems, as business owners, we’re greedy by nature, we want business. Some of us are very fearful. We fear that if we don’t sell ourselves we won’t get any business.

RP: I love the comment that you made that you have to really pretend, you have to realize that social interaction is the same in person as it is online. People, if you say something rude to somebody in front of them, they’re going to respond the same way as if you say something rude to them online. So if you walk into a room of people that you don’t know and you say buy my stuff, buy my stuff, how do you think they’re going to respond if you go on social media into a room of people that you don’t know and say buy my stuff, buy my stuff. So if we could kinda start there with, I guess, it’s the psychology behind the fact that just ’cause you’re online doesn’t mean there aren’t people on the other end.

SG: Right. When you approach a social media, approach it as if you’re standing in front of somebody. Because also, social media is amplified. So if you walk in using a rude comment, if you walk in and say something rude to one person in a room, it might not be quite as amplified. You say something rude to one person online, everybody sees it, so it’s amplified and worse. You have to be careful of what you say online.

SG: But it is an extension of what you do in person, and so, you don’t want to… It’s not about sell, sell, sell. Social media is an extension of social interactions in person and you’re never going to walk to other person and go, “Hey, you should buy my stuff. You should buy my stuff. No, really, you should buy my stuff.” Online people are just going to tune you out and turn you off, and they can do that easily. It’s a lot easier online to say forget you and disappear than in person trying to extricate yourself from someone acting like that.

SG: So you want to make sure that whatever you’re posting online, you follow that 80:20 rule and at the absolute maximum 20% of your content is promoting yourself and that doesn’t include your education portion. So your blog post, the videos that you’re doing, they’re educating consumers, that’s not so much promoting yourself. It’s the “buy my product, buy this service, come into my store,” the outright selling portion of it, that has to be no more than 10% to 20%. And you just sprinkle it in occasionally that if you have a special going on, absolutely promote it on social media, but don’t make it every single post for the entire week. Nobody wants to hear that.

RP: Right. And the other thing you can do, and the reason why I’m focused on this is because I think it’s a real stumbling block for people. At least I know it was for me and a lot of other people that I talk to, they just feel really overwhelmed, they don’t know what to talk about and I think that’s one of the biggest hangups on why social media is so difficult. It doesn’t have to be time related because we’ve already talked about how to minimize the amount of time that you spend on social media, like you said earlier, stick with one platform, spend some time, strategize what you want to talk about.

RP: The other thing is, and this goes way back… Gary, I can’t think of his last name, but he was one of the early adopters of social media that did very well and he was very good at saying, “When you first walk into a room, you want to stop and listen.” And the idea is you want to hear what the conversations are that are going on, and listening to those conversations, and from there, if you’re listening, you will hear that there’s a need, there are people expressing concerns and those type of things.

RP: And that’s when you started engaging in a conversation. So I would imagine many business owners are used to going to chamber events. The first time you go to a chamber event, you probably don’t know somebody, or maybe you know one person because they invited you, but the idea of going to a chamber event is to go and learn what other people do. And so, if you can kind of think how do you interact at a chamber event or any other social gathering that’s business related, how can you apply that online? The other thing you can do is you can look at how other successful business owners… Mary, what’s Mary’s name?

SG: Mari Smith.

RP: Mari Smith. Sorry, yeah, not Mary. Mari Smith is a good example of somebody that you can go on, she’s made a name for herself on Facebook, and see what they’re doing and just try simple things. And I think that’s part of… For me that’s really an important part of debunking the myth, is going, “How do I do this?” So can you give us some ideas where you can actually find or create content or… I always tell people what are the big questions that all your employees, or not your employees, but your new customers ask you. Those are great conversational pieces. We’ve talked about local stuff that’s going on.

SG: Yeah, you definitely want to make sure you have a variety of content. When it comes to social media, find the industry, the social media platform industry thought leader. So Mari Smith is a great resource for Facebook. You can go follow her page and she is constantly putting out tips, and you’ll notice that almost nothing she puts out there is promoting herself. She is educating her followers so that I know that she is an expert in her field. So if I want to learn more, I’m going to go to her to find more information that she is promoting and possibly buy her services.

SG: And that’s kinda what your end result is, is that her name is imprinted on my brain for when I am looking for social media stuff. You also may want to find, for whatever your industry is, do you have a trade organization, do you have some group that’s kind of the thought leader or the head that’s providing a lot of the cutting edge information about your industry? Where is the hotspot for community stuff? We know the places in our community where to find out about events and things going on.

SG: And so, you can find these different places. One of my favorite tools that I’ve been using lately for content curation, at least for links and other articles, is a tool called Bundle Post. It’s absolutely a saver of time, because you can add in the RSS feed, which is the blog feed of these different websites. And then you just go into Bundle Post, you go, “Yep, I like this one, click, I like this one. Yep, I like this one.” And then you can have that content to be posted on whatever platform you are using, primarily Facebook and Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, since Instagram and Pinterest, you are not posting links. But there is a lot of tools out there for content curation to find this content, or you can just schedule it and honor your calendar 30 minutes a week to do a little bit of research, compile some stuff and schedule it out for the week and be done with it.

SG: And then the only time moving forward is interacting with people, and also trial and error to find, post some things, see what works, what didn’t, ask questions. Always ask questions. You want to compel people to comment on it, so even if you are posting to a link, finish it off with a question asking them what are their thoughts on this, how do they solve whatever problem you are posting about. You want to encourage people as they read it, they go, “Oh yeah, I want to comment.” That’s what you are trying to pull from them, is our native desire to be communicative, and in a community and interact with other people. If you just put a statement out there all the time, you are not compelling them to respond and interact.

RP: Let me ask you this. For those people that deal with FOMO, Fear Of Missing Out, and they feel like they have to be on every social media platform that’s out there, how do you address those issues of just, “Hey, scale it back to one initially”?

SG: It’s the same philosophy of ‘Jack of all trades, master of none.’ If you are going to instantly pick five platforms, you are going to do none of them well, because you have… Especially if you are not that familiar with the social media world, you are not going to do any of them well, because you have a learning curve. Each platform is different, each platform audience is different, their requirements are different. Facebook, you post one to two times a day max, maybe. Twitter can be anywhere from 10 to 30 a day. So you have such a wide difference for each platform and what are best practices, what you should be doing, how much content you should be putting out there, your interaction, that trying to do all five at the same time starting from a starting point is going to be nearly impossible.

SG: So you really want to pick, even if you have the platforms, you might want to just kinda pause for a second. Pick the one that’s the most relevant to you. Really focus on that one. Dial it in, get a good theory going and then once you feel like, “Okay, I can take a deep breath, I have a handle on this,” then add the next one that’s the most relevant. I’m happy to give you access to a whole bunch of stats, that I’ve done research and found, about what the audiences look like on each platform. So then you can decide, “Well, my target market aligns with this audience, then this is the best one for me to go with.” At least to start with.

RP: That would be a great infographic, by the way. If you could just look at an infographic and go, “Okay, who’s your audience member?” Males at this age range who…

SG: Go here.

RP: Yeah, go here. You’re in the females or… Then you can even get deeper, such as obviously weddings, you get into Pinterest and those type of things. The other thing I wanted to bring up was, you mentioned the different types of platform and different type of conversations, so I can’t use one of those fancy social media tools like Hootsuite and just plug one message in and send it to everybody? Or send it to all the different social media platforms?

SG: It’s not recommended. Except for your own content, you do want to spread your own content across other platforms. But it’s not recommended to have the exact same message. Also, the big reason is, Facebook, you can write pretty much an unlimited amount of content, I think, with a 5,000 character limit, whereas Twitter is 140 characters. So, there’s absolutely no way to have the exact same message on both platforms. And I see it even right now when I’m posting the weekly hangouts on mine and Ryan’s Twitter and Facebook, I’m using the base same amount of information, but I can type out full words on Facebook and I have to abbreviate on Twitter which the grammarian in me cringes when I have to do that. But it’s just reality because 140 characters, especially when you’re including a link, is not a lot of content.

RP: Right, that or it…

SG: You need to have a different message.

RP: That forces you to rewrite your message at that point. So, we got a minute left. Highlight why social media is not difficult. Give me three to four tips of how you can make social media easy.

SG: If you approach it as if you are standing in front of people, that makes it easier, it changes your thought process behind it. There is a plethora of information out there to help you be successful on whatever platform you choose. You just have to take a few minutes to find the information, and it doesn’t take a ton of time, it’s being authentic. If you are yourself on Facebook with the proper audience, you are going to be successful. Just don’t over tax yourself in the beginning, and don’t get overwhelmed. Just take a step back and take a deep breath and go, “Okay, I’m going to focus on this one right now and do it really well.”

RP: Alright, perfect. And I love being authentic, I was watching The Grammys the other night, Sam Smith. And I think he was on The Ellen Show and she brought up the fact that Sam struggled, his career struggled, like most people do. And it wasn’t until he became authentic with himself that his career just totally blew up. He tried losing weight, he tried being this person, he tried being what he thought the industry wanted and come to find out, what they really wanted was Sam Smith, and he walked away with four Grammys that night. Being authentic is terribly important. If people want to jump start their understanding and want to just go, “You know what? I want somebody to tell me how to do it so I don’t have to go online and spend hours doing research and those type of things.” What’s the easiest way to connect with you? ‘Cause you will consult people, correct?

SG: I will. I will consult with them and teach them how to do it so that they can handle it themselves. They can reach me on Facebook or Twitter. So, Facebook Provaro Marketing or Twitter is Provaro M-K-T-N-G. Or they can email me, sarah @

RP: Alright. Perfect Sarah. With that we’re a little bit over time, so I’m going to say thank you, adieu. I don’t know any other languages so, adios, and as always, thank you very much for your time and we’ll see you next week.

SG: Sounds good. Thank you, Ryan.

RP: Alright, bye.


About the Author:

Ryan Perry is the founder and CEO of Simple Biz Support, Inc. Ryan started video blogging in 2009 as an alternative to written blogs to create visibility and credibility online. During the workweek, he enjoys helping small business owners harness the power of video to grow their companies. On the weekends, he enjoys hiking and searching out waterfalls throughout the state of California.

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