Social Media

2014Recently, my friend Nick Westergaard asked me (along w 20 other marketing folks) to contribute to an article he wrote about the trends we foresaw in social media for 2014. After a little bit of thought, here was my response:

2014 will be the year of “Social Media Reality.” The era of fun, games, and rainbows is over. Companies will finally accept that “likes” and “shares” aren’t true KPIs (key performance indicators) of success (in most cases) and will now shift their focus on the platforms that truly work vs the ones that have little returns, and then put the majority of their energies and efforts in said platforms.

Over the last 5 years or so, I think just about every single one of us has gone on a unique ride called “Social Media is Fun.” In a nutshell, it has looked a little like this:

“This Facebook thing is pretty neat… I think I’ll share some stuff here…I just got a “like” on my stuff…I feel happy now!”


“This Facebook thing is pretty neat…I think I’ll share some stuff here…No one “liked” my stuff…I feel sad now!”

You may be thinking that I’m over-stereotyping or simplifying the process, but it’s true, especially if we’re being honest with ourselves here.

On a personal level, I’ve experienced the above many, many times to some degree or another, with a multiplicity of platforms, not just Facebook.

And I’m sure you’re right there along with me, aren’t you?

It’s just the world in which we live.

It is what it is

My thoughts with this post aren’t one of, “Social Media is Evil.”

It is what it is. It has helped me build a career, and I’m grateful for that. It can also changes lives and businesses for the better, without question.

But over these last 4 years, after having taught thousands through speaking and writing, and hundreds more on a direct level through consulting, I truly do believe we’re now ready to enter into a new phase of social media as we look ahead to 2014.

Instead of saying, “Wow, this Facebook thing is pretty neat” we’ll now start saying “We all agree that Facebook is neat, but is it the best way to use our time, money, and resources? Should our focus be elsewhere?”

The answer will change with every industry and business, but hopefully you get my point here.

It’s a process of natural maturation in a nascent arena of marketing and media.

The Difference Between a KPI and a PI

Now don’t get me wrong, I truly believe that just about any social media platform, with enough effort and creativity, can generate leads and revenue in just about any industry.

But even if this is true, this doesn’t mean that every business should embrace, nor worry about, every single social media platform. Such would be an impossible task.

As I look back on my most successful clients over the past few years, almost none uses Facebook Likes, Twitter Shares, or Google +s as a KPI of success.

Now before you try to argue my point, let me state two things very clearly:

1. KPI means *KEY* performance indicator. There is a very big difference between a “performance indicator” and a “KEY performance indicator.” With every client I’ve ever had, social shares have all been performance indicators, but not KEY performance indicators.

2. There are some industries and business models that rightfully use social shares as KPIs. But this article isn’t discussing those minorities of businesses. We’re here to talk about the majority.

The bottom line is this: As businesses, whether it be in 2014 or 2044, we need to make money.

In order to make money, we’ve got to generate sales.

In order to generate sales, we need leads.

In order to get leads, we need to be marketing in the areas and platforms that bring the greatest results.

As always, Pareto’s Law wins.

So as you look to 2014 with your business, I’d challenge you, if you haven’t already done so, to get more serious than ever about your marketing by defining what works, what doesn’t work, and where you need to focus all your efforts and energies.

For some, this may mean a lot of social media.

For others, it may mean a little.

Either way, it’s time for the party to come to a close and get down to business.

2 Keys to Writing a GREAT First Paragraph to Every Blog Post You Ever Write

May 9, 2013

Over the past 18 months, I’ve been heavily involved in helping companies with multiple employees utilize insourcing as a means to produce large amounts of powerful content amongst their staff and team members. During this time, I have found there are two main elements that deter employees from writing and participating in the company blog, […]

Read the full article →

The Reality as to Why Most Big Brands Stink at Content Marketing

April 26, 2013

I rarely talk about it, as it certainly doesn’t apply to content marketing in the direct sense, but my feet hurt. Seriously, they do. Plantar fasciitis is a constant whisper sending signals to my brain that the arches in my feet aren’t happy. Sometimes it’s not so bad, and other times it gets much worse. […]

Read the full article →

Why Most Marketing Conferences Fail to Reach their “Social” Potential

April 13, 2013

It’s the weekend and because I’ve been contemplating Social Media Marketing World (#SMMW13) these past few days my thoughts are drawn to this word we hear so very much about—Social—and the fact that although so many conferences (in and out of the marketing realm) may have session titles that include the word “social” in them, […]

Read the full article →

The 10 Best Social Media Speakers of 2013

January 22, 2013

When I was a 21 year old missionary walking the streets of Chile, trying my very best to speak to groups of people in a language that was so very foreign to me, I discovered something about myself that I never anticipated nor realized—I have a passion for communication. Furthermore, I love the art of […]

Read the full article →

8 Renegade Methods of Using Content Marketing to Dominate Your Industry in 2013

January 2, 2013

This article will not be “logical.” It will not fit in that little box that’s so requisite to get anything “approved” in most organizations. Nor will it be for conservative-minded marketers and business owners that would rather imagine 1000 ways “it might go wrong” instead of dreaming of the unlimited reasons “it might go right.” […]

Read the full article →

2013: The Year Businesses Took Social Media Theory and Threw It in the Trash

December 11, 2012

Over the last decade (especially the last five years), social media marketing has been one long train of speculation and theory after another. I don’t say this to be negative in any way. It’s a natural byproduct of a new phase this world is going through. But phase one is over. We need to move […]

Read the full article →