Blog Posts

Problems of Social Media for Small Business

I've been privately venting about something and I think that it's time I bring it out in the open.

If you've been following me for any length of time, you know how I feel about marketing and what I teach my coaching clients.

Choose ONE method of marketing and be GREAT at it before you get overwhelmed by the million and ten other things you COULD be doing with your time.


So, if you despise the thought of writing articles, but love talking at the video camera, then don't structure your marketing plan so that you're writing and submitting articles every week. Record a slew of videos instead and get those working for you.

It's common sense, right? (You'd think so. Wouldn't you?) Well, if it's common sense, then why are so many of my clients struggling with the “SHOULD's”?

  • I “SHOULD” be doing article marketing.
  • I “SHOULD” be guest blogging.
  • I “SHOULD” be doing press releases.
  • I “SHOULD” be doing social marketing.
  • I “SHOULD” be doing video marketing.

Shoulda woulda coulda.

YES, you need to be doing some marketing every stinkin' day, but it's your business, so you get to choose which kinds you want to do.

AND… on that note. Let me continue my vent. (Remember all of those times you guys have said how sweet I am? Well, uh… hope you still love me in a minute.) πŸ™‚

Speaking of Social Media. I think there's a BIG problem with it right now.

Everyone is being told they must do social media, but I feel that it's not a good fit for every small business.

And, I'm talking plumbers, hair dressers, coaches, consultants, authors, speakers – EVERYONE.

Want to know what's worse than “missing” the social media train?

Doing social media inconsistently or half-heartedly. While you can do other types of marketing inconsistently and get away with it, social media is much different. It's all about “now”.

Let me explain.

Last week, I recorded a bunch of video critiques as part of a bonus that I offered to my readers. Well, several of the blogs were brilliant, but, they linked to Twitter and Facebook pages that were dead or very outdated. And, an old Twitter page that hasn't been updated in months makes people wonder if you're still in business – or responding to emails – if you're available for interviews – or if they should bother to refer people to you. It's better to have NO Twitter account at all than to have one that hasn't been updated in months.

And, that's the honest truth, whether you're a house painter, a restaurant owner, a blogger, a coach, and especially if you're a social media consultant. (Don't get me started on that last one.)

Here's what started this rant. I do a bit of work for offline businesses in my spare time. It's nothing big or time consuming and only for people who I like. Well, I whipped up a site for a friend who is an esthetician and it's getting her new clients on a regular basis (due to my marketing). Well, since everyone and his brother thinks they know marketing (even if they haven't made a single penny online for themselves) – she's getting advised from others who “know” stuff. πŸ˜‰

She comes to me and says …

“They say I need a blog. And, they say I need a Twitter account. And, they said I'm supposed to have a Facebook Fan page”.

And, I can hear the stress in her voice.

Now, this is an esthetician, NOT a marketer. She does facials – and she does them DANG well. But when it comes to the computer – she can barely send an email.

So, I had to ask her yet again – “Do you WANT to learn this stuff or do you want to do facials?”

Of course she said “I just want to do facials!”

So, the ONLY thing she'd be doing by creating a Twitter account, a Facebook Fan page, or a blog at this point in her business is either –

1. Creating work for herself that she hates.
2. Creating a job for someone else to maintain her social accounts.

Obviously, since she doesn't know enough about online marketing, it would be #2. That would be fine except I don't believe that having someone else Tweeting on her behalf would really benefit her at this point enough to justify the expense.

So, she'd end up with either a neglected social media account, or one run by someone else.

Now, I've got nothing against outsourcing in your business, but you've got to outsource smart, and in HER case, that's not a smart move.

Instead, with her business, we're focusing on video marketing, list-building, and some link-building to keep her at #1 in Google for the terms that are bringing in clients from her website every week.

So, what's my point here? My point is to IGNORE the noise, guys. Just ignore it.

You can make money without doing a fraction of the things you're being told you HAVE to do.

As long as you have the following two things, you're set:

1. People who you can help. (Also known as “Traffic”)
2. Ways to help them – that you can be paid for. (Also known as “Offers”. ie. products, services, affiliate recommendations, etc.)

The rest is just gravy.

So, there. Stepping off my soapbox now. πŸ™‚ I'd love to hear your thoughts below.

Warmly (and sometimes prickly, too) –
Nicole Dean

I appreciate shares and I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Stephanie

    Even though I’d love some of the people you talk about to outsource to ME lol, I have to agree that not everyone should be doing everything. In your example of the esthetician, if she’s number one on local search already I see no reason at this point to do more, right now.

    The entire POINT of marketing an offline business is to get local search results, be number one in your category, and if you’re doing that already, that’s excellent just how it is.

    • Nicole

      Great point, Stephanie. πŸ™‚

      My concern is more with the overwhelm factor and the word “NEED” in the statement “I need to do social media”.

      I would prickle just as much if they were saying she “NEEDED” to buy a yellow page ad.

      Then again, I was the mom who, when I was pregnant, wouldn’t buy the stuff I was told I “Needed”. I knew that all I really needed were diapers, clothes and/or blankies (depending on time of year), some form of milk for the baby, and loving arms and we’d do just fine. πŸ™‚

  • Susanne Myers

    Very true Nicole. On top of that, her more traditional local business, doesn’t necessarily match well with social media.

    I was reading Meatball Sunday by Seth Godin and one of the points he was making is that a traditional business and it’s form of marketing (this would be the meatball), doesn’t match well with all this new social media stuff (the sundae toppings). You end up with a meatball with whipped cream and a cherry on top which just plain doesn’t work.

    If your friend polled her customers, I’m pretty sure most of them aren’t very active on social media accounts and since she is getting traffic and clients from the static website you build and marketed for her there is no reason for her to waste her time tweeting and blogging. Instead she can continue to give awesome facials and get more clients by word of mouth etc.

    Love your point about sticking with one thing and mastering it as well. It’s so easy to reeled in by the next “shiny new object” whether that’s tweeting or facebook ads. While some are certainly worth checking out, take a look at them one at a time, see if you have fun marketing with them, if it’s effective and then get really good at it before moving on to something else.

    • Nicole

      Hard to post comment with thoughts of a meatball sundae. Bleck. What a great visual example by Mr. Godin. GULP/GAG.

      I agree, Susanne. And, honestly, even if she decides down the road that she is missing out on traffic from those things – she can always add it later.

      My concern is with the maintenance of the accounts more than anything – adding friends, checking DMs, etc. She has enough to manage in her life without more “stuff”. In my opinion, it is just not a good enough ROI at this time in her business, so I obviously can’t recommend it for her.

  • Jason

    I agree completely with how bad it is to be involved with social media half heartedly. However, missing this train IS still a terrible idea. With the old MASS marketing, spray and pray type of advertising, scaring people away from marketing completely or just plain wasting their money, social media is a great way to reach their target market in a concentrated approach over a vast area.

    There is help. Affordable too. Small monthly fees teamed with small commission rates for a team of people who will keep your social media accounts up to date, fresh, current and clean. Leveraging the power of multiple sites working in conjunction with each other. Its amazing.

    • Nicole

      Yes, I agree. Social media can be a useful tool for marketing and business growth. I use it.

      However, I don’t believe a business needs to dive in at this point in time while social media is still in the experimental stages. The “Do or Die” attitude that I see being sold across the board to small businesses is what this is aimed at.

      Of course, I’m always open to learning. So, if you’ve got access to stats that show ROI dollar wise, then I’d love to see them.

  • Monica

    I so agree with you, Nicole. It’s totally different to use the internet to spread the word about your business than to be an internet marketer. You see some local business tweeting but not yet ready with their web pages, and so on.

    Trying one thing at a time is something I’ve learnt from you πŸ™‚

  • Allegra

    Go Nicole! I agree with most of your post. I think people who are excited about growing their business using new methods can get so overwhelmed and stretch themselves too thin by jumping onto all the social media properties at one time. It’s great advice to master one thing at a time. And I must be really spicy because you didn’t sound like you were ranting at all. Thanks for sharing the post, Allegra

    • Nicole

      I like spice! πŸ™‚

      It does also come back to momentum, as you stated. One of my favorite examples of momentum was from my friend, Jimmy D. Brown.

      Let me see if I can get this right.

      He used the illustration of a line of cars in a row. And, there were two people each trying to push a car.

      Each man choose a car and put his hands on it and started pushing but with vastly different results.

      The one guy thought it was hard, so he kept switching cars to try to find the car that was easiest to push.

      The other guy, instead, toughed it out and stuck with the first car. After a bit, the car got rolling and he realized it was smooth sailing once he got some momentum. He looked back and saw the other guy hadn’t moved at all, and was, in fact, still standing in the same place — far far behind him.

      Cool, eh?

  • Christine Steendahl

    I completely agree! And for someone who personally runs an online business and benefits from social media, I just say – it is a lot of work to keep up! It is a commitment that needs to be thought about, because you’re right – it doesn’t look great on your business if it isn’t kept up with.

    • Nicole

      I agree totally, Christine. Even with automation tools, it’s still mental clutter. Fortunately I enjoy social media or I wouldn’t be doing it. Even so, I’m only active now on Facebook and Twitter. I dumped Buzz and don’t bother with LinkedIn.(That’s another blog post to come soon…)

      • Lisa Marie Mary

        Nothing’s happening on Buzz at all anymore. Ugh. Just links to tweets and blogposts and stuff…

        Every now and again, I’ll catch an interesting post or pic I’d missed through other channels, so I can bring myself to dump it just yet.

  • Mark Hendricks


  • Alex Newell

    I love it, totally love it, “YES, you need to be doing some marketing every stinkin’ day, but it’s your business, so you get to choose which kinds you want to do

    I also feel the same pull “Shoulda woulda coulda.” even tho’ I know the answers logically.

    Thanks for the rant, oops, vent Nicole.

    • Nicole

      That “shoulda” tugs at you emotionally, doesn’t it? Make sure that logical side stomps on it next time it rears its head. πŸ™‚

  • Dianna Lambert

    I think this is great advice. Not everyone comes to the term social media when it comes to business. In my business I am virtual assistant, project compliant specialist for trucking companies, while some are utilizing the social media aspect a majority can see the relationship of how it would be effective in their business. There are some ways it can help, but in other ways its a hinder and time consuming.

    Just one quick comment about keeping up with social media and working virtually, there are many times I run into a blog, or I find someone that I want to follow when I see there updates have not been for 6 mo or more, I step back and think twice, and you know the sad part is, its some that I network with in my industry. Thank goodness for scheduled posts, tweets etc. Keeps things updated and me not so busy. Thanks for the great information.

    • Nicole

      I definitely agree about the automation factor, although it has to be done carefully, too. In my opinion, I see people go a bit crazy with the auto-tweets when they start to look like the crazy guy on the street corner yelling at people and no one is listening.

      As you know, the power is in the connection – and that’s where outsourcing social media can be more difficult for a small business. A corporation can pull it off easier, because they are usually faceless and nameless, but “Bob the Plumber” can’t as easily. At least that’s my thoughts on it. I’m open to debate. πŸ™‚

  • Dan Reinhold

    Gotcha…no more social media, start doing facials.

    I just love your advice, Nicole!! πŸ™‚

    Well, off to cancel my TweetBook account.


  • Becki Maxson

    I’m so glad you told it straight, Nicole. So so true. If more people would focus on their offers and their traffic and list building, I think it would often be a better ROI for their time.

    There’s a new project that’s been in my head & heart for over a year & the main thing stalling me is the dread of having to ‘build a presence,’ pretend to love FB when I don’t, keep all that ‘visibility’ stuff going — blech.

    I know there’s a market, I know SEO, I know article marketing & link building, so I just had to slap myself and say “Get over it and get going…your own way.”


  • Jack Heape

    As usual, some great info. I liked the comment on Seth Godin. I had not the book “Meatball Sundae” and have reserved it at the library.
    Yes, you should concentrate on one particular aspect of marketing. Heck, I do this as a living and I cannot even keep up with everything. Set your goal for internet marketing, which for a local business should be three things, or what I call the “Triple Whammy”; be in the magic 7 (first page) of the Google Places results, be in the top 3 of the SERPS (organic results), and finally be in the Adwords column (PPC). That gets your name seen 3 times on one page. To get there, stick with one or two things, and do them well.

  • Andre Arnett

    OK Nicole, ease up we hear you. But we all know that “they” know what is rightfor everybody else but themselves. You should have told her to ask them that fearful statement, “prove it”, then see if they actually can. Obviously they must have all of the things they want your client to have. LOL Great post, it can be overwhelming especially as you get started.

  • Peggy Baron

    Good rant, Nicole.

    And the irony doesn’t escape me that I just tweeted a quote from your rant. πŸ˜€

  • Courtney

    Great post Nicole.

    I tend to stick to what I know and what I know works for me. For me that’s article marketing. I know if I write a good article and submit to the directories, I can count on traffic and sales.

    So while I do have a Twitter account and am active on it, I don’t really market myself on there. I just don’t see the need right now.

    • Nicole

      It looks to me like you’re doing just fine marketing on your Twitter profile. You’ve got lots of links to your blog where you have valuable content – great job at relationship building.

  • Renee Shupe

    I’m so with you on all of this Nicole. I wrote an article on my blog talking about being on the Bandwagon or not in regards to social media and not all social media is ideal for everyone.

    Just because someone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you need to as well. It’s certainly not my area of expertise, yet I do advise clients on some of the aspect of it and I simply let them know that yes social media is a new way of marketing but it doesn’t mean you have to do it. Try something and see if you like, but maybe start on a personal level and then if you enjoy it incorporate it into your marketing plan, but your better to focus on doing some great and what works for you than to get overwhelmed because everyone (or it’s perceived to be so) is doing it!

    Thanks for opening the discussion even more! It’s refreshing.

  • Shannon

    You nailed it Nicole. Just because everyone is ‘doing it’ doesn’t mean we should. Sometimes abstinence is best.

    Whoops… that talk was meant for my tween niece… but actually it rings true for marketing.

    So here are my thoughts on how to decide if ‘doing it’ is right for you – sticking with the s-e-x theme:

    1) Are you really ready for the commitment? All marketing tactics aren’t a one-shot deal. They need to be done consistently for the best outcome/results.
    2) Is it something you really want to do? If it doesn’t interest you, chances are, it won’t ever do well for you. (It’s like kissing… if the kiss isn’t good, why would you do more?)
    3) Are you doing it because you feel pressure to? We all know where that ends up, right?

    • Nicole

      POW! You totally nailed that. (Yeah, bad pun. I know.)

      I’m thinking you just drafted a blog post for your own blog. NICE.

      Miss you! It’s been too long again since we’ve connected.

      PS. Can I borrow that sex talk for my 13 year old son? πŸ˜‰

  • Kal

    It wouldn’t be much work to do a tweet even though I am in a service business also but for what purpose will blogging serve? (ranking)

    Inactive social media sounds pretty bad that’s for sure (it shows that you don’t take your business seriously)

    I am branching out to online networking outside of my local area but obviously my services that I provide will be different than my local business.

    I feel better knowing that an expert like yourself is upset about this because it does not make sense unless she has a product that she can promote online.

    Great post Nicole

    Would love to get your feedback what she can do to enhance her business in the whole scheme of things (tweaking and stuff like that after all everybody should have a calling card) or should you not go there. πŸ™‚

  • Lisa Marie Mary

    Dude! You can soapbox any day of my week!!! Love it! You are so smart! It’s just like, take a step back, take a deep breath – and do what you need to do for your business. Not this mad scurrying to jump on every new marketing bandwagon that comes along.

    Good stuff, Nicole. Love it.

  • Linda

    Nicole, you are a breath of fresh air, as always!

  • Carol Ann Quibell

    Wow – common sense! It’s so rare these days. Thanks Nicole and everyone else for some great comments and thoughts. Loved it!

  • The Mom

    Yippee! You finally said it! I LOVE the Prickly Nik, and yes folks, she is alive and well, living right alongside the cuddly Nik. I see Prickly Nik MUCH more often than you guys do! Ha! πŸ™‚

    You know I say AMEN to your rant. I too have felt the push from certain internet marketing people to do all this social media stuff. And as unintentional as it may be, the whole thing can leave someone like me (and our wonderful and talented esthetician) drained, stressed, and feeling overwhelmed, AND feeling like a failure! Thanks, Nik, for spewing and letting the truth be told. VERY refreshing! Go take a nap now. πŸ˜‰

    • Nicole

      Pssst. I have the best mom, ever.

      Just sayin’.

      And none of that “failure” talk again or I’ll kick your butt. I know where you live…

  • Loretta

    I love it when you’re on your soapbox! <3 I agree completely, it's not a cut and paste solution for everyone and every style of business. Business needs to be profitable and enjoyable and in the example you gave with your friend she would have been miserable if she had tried to implement all that and experience tells me that when you're miserable profits DROP (and it can make you miserable even if you're outsourcing it) She's way better off

  • DeAnna Troupe

    That was more of a vent than a rant. I do agree. Everyone doesn’t NEED to do everything in order to get traffic to their websites. I get annoyed when I see people advising small businesses to do 20 million things including running their business just to get one or two new clients a month. Of course, I’d love to do some of the work for these people, but if it doesn’t make sense for them to be doing that, I’ll just tell them. It’s better to focus on what you do well, then to do a lot of things horribly.

  • Susanne Myers

    Look at all these awesome comments. You really hit on an important topic there Nicole. Love reading everyone’s take on this and the overall consensus that while social media is great, we have to pick and choose how we participate (if at all).

  • Angela Wills

    I said just yesterday to a friend “I’m generally against social media” LOL. I just think it’s a BIG BIG time suck when so many things work better.

    I mean before I tweet another tweet or go to Facebook one more time for the sake of my ‘business’ should I:

    – Make sure my autoresponders are pulling consistant cash hands free?
    – Make sure my website sells the you know what out of the products I sell 24-7, without my physical presence?
    – Make sure all my profit-pulling and list building pages are properly SEO’d to bring me traffic again 24-7, hands-free?
    – Make sure my blog is loaded to the gills with SEO optimized, hands-free, 24-7 profit-pulling content?
    – and on and on and on…

    C’mon! Who can say they’ve got all that done?! NOT ME. So why the heck AM I spending an hour a day on twitter and facebook??

    I look at it like this:

    Social Media = SPENDING TIME
    Automation and Passive = INVESTING TIME

    I would rather INVEST my time to pay me for years to come than SPEND it for a one-time potential gain or maybe even nothing…

    Ok – now I’ve ranted too and even gave myself a little lecture.

    I’ve so threatened to disconnect from social media altogether but as an ‘internet marketer’ I feel like I really should at least be IN the space. I’ve also cancelled my Facebook account twice but it’s so easy to come back I keep doing it (do you know they actually don’t DELETE your account? – you just log back in and it’s there – creepy). Now I only use Facebook for personal.

    Anyway I might have to do my own blog post in reply since I’m taking up half the page with my comment here, lol.

    Thanks for ranting, GREAT topic!

    ps. haha – just added my twitter link at the bottom of your blog – ironic?

  • Heidi

    Thanks for helping me realize that I don’t HAVE to do all the things that look good that come my way. Very good post!

    I think the main reason why I jump from 1 thing to another is because I’m not making as much as I would like. The 2 things I do every day is either add a page to my site or update a page every day and participate in a forum in my niche. Am I doing enough or have I just not waited long enough for things to fall into place?

    • Sal

      Hey Heidi,

      Great point and one that me and the misses try to avoid i.e. the “shiny objects” so to speak πŸ˜‰

      We only go for services that help us build our own biz.

      What we do is spend an hour each day trying to learn free methods.

      We split the tasks and if you have someone that can help you it goes a long way.

      Some of the tasks:

      1) Making sure you setup up your webpage as ideally as possible so that the search engines can find your posts (I’m assuming you know how to do your market and keyword research).

      This is called onpage seo: Including your keyword in the post, using keywordrich h1 tags, h2 tags and h3 tags, adding rel=”no follow” to your outgoing external links etc.

      2) Then there’s the offpage seo which you seem to already be doing. Some great places include Q&a Sites, yahoo directories (great if you’re niching) and information sites like ehow.

      3) Guest blogging at least once a month in your niche will get you some very cool backlinks back to your page and one that i’ve also just started.

      Finding them can be a problem but they usually all use the same terms that are indexed and are searchable πŸ˜‰

      Examples: “submit a guest post”, β€œsubmit your own guest post”, β€œsubmit your guest post”,β€œsubmit one guest post” etc

      So if you’re in the golf bags niche you would type something like this into google to filter out the searches:

      “golf bags” + “submit a guest post”

      Just some tips that we personally use.

      Hope that helps πŸ™‚


      • Heidi

        Thanks so much for that advice. I found some good possibilities for places to submit guest posts. I had never thought of searching like this for places to post on blogs. Thanks!

  • Erica Cosminsky


    This is definitely a reminder we all need. It’s very easy to get overwhelmed especially when you are first starting out. It’s the Boy Who Cried Wolf Syndrome- Gurus keep yelling “You gotta do X, You gotta do Y,” and eventually we stop listening (hopefully.)

    Neglecting this for months at time makes a horrible impression. What makes an even worse impression is when these people have Twitter Automatic Following Software but haven’t tweeted in 4 months. I also won’t follow someone back if they are just link, link, link and not making any conversation.

    I’m not going to get on my soapbox but I hope every one listens loud and clear to this post.

  • Annemarie O'Bea

    I love when you get on your soapbox. Next time can you put it on video so we can hear that passion mixed with Midwestern twang?? After all, video is in your marketing plan, right?

    Great Post Missy!
    Loved it.


  • Lain Ehmann

    Nik is da bomb! I adhere to the 80-20 rule. The problem is I feel like I’m so new at this that I don’t know what’s the 20 percent my results are coming from!! Sounds like a question for my coach. LOL.

  • Melanie Kissell

    Hey Nicole,

    I’m behind ya all the way on the “shoulds” people try shoving down our throats on a continuum. And I love your suggestion to tune out the noise. At this point, my radio dial is “off”. πŸ™‚

    Now THIS is something I can really sink my teeth into:

    ” … I don’t believe that having someone else Tweeting on her behalf would really benefit her.”

    At long last …

    Someone has said it out loud! Amen and thank you. I don’t give a hoot what kind of lip service people try to give me — there’s no one else in the entire universe who can be your voice for you — no one!

    I’m not exactly sure why it bugs me SO much, but when I hear someone advising, “If you’re looking to hire a VA or someone to be your social media manager” …

    “Make sure they sound and act JUST LIKE YOU. Your personalities have to be a perfect MATCH. Otherwise, anyone who knows you is going to quickly figure out it’s NOT YOU putting up those FB updates, sending out those Tweets, and replying to those blog comments, etc., and that won’t be good for business.”

    Is that ridiculous advice, or what?!

  • Kal

    Hi Nicole,

    Thanks for sparing some guilt. πŸ™‚
    I don’t have any twitter accounts and Facebook FanPages (still really looking at the pros and cons)
    I have waaay too many blogs and it’s a pain in the butt updating them especially when you like the personal touch so folks know it’s you!

    I like the idea of focus on what motivates you. Again “overwhelmed” does factor in as an enemy and so I shouldn’t hang around there, but still do. “Gotta do this, Gotta do that” or else….

    On the social aspect Facebook can also work against you and they seem to change the privacy settings without notice when Facebook techies have a “hair-brained idea” and that opens up a whole other can of worms.

    Thanks for bringing this up Nicole (without throwing up lol.)


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