Social Media is About the People, Stupid! (Part 1)

social media is about the people stupidHow many times have you heard these remarks?

“I don't need a Facebook page, it's just for kids.”

“I don't need LinkedIn, I already have a job.”

“I don't have time for social media, I have real work to do.”

“Why does your Twitter stream filled with all those wacky things? Looks like you don't talk about business.”

“Yes, we are on Twitter. We hired an intern. He/she tweets links to our blog.”

“Nobody on my Facebook business page has anything to say. They must think social media is a waste of time too.”

“Yes, we are on Facebook. We have a website with the Facebook logo on it that links to our Facebook business page.”

I think my next book is going to be titled the same as this post. Something I have been wanting to write for over a year!

We all hear the same remarks. The comments from people who still believe social media is the same as a traditional marketing medium.  A broadcast medium that is one way and does not require any real care for a reciprication in the short term.

Wow, they couldn't be further from the truth.

At the core everything about social media is about the people.

10 Reasons why Social Media is About the People:

1. Communication: Social media requires a dialog between two or more people. Communication requires a sender, a recipient and an intended message. It also requires listening. Communication is not complete until the recipient understands the message the sender has sent. Broadcasting does not require listening.

2. Conversation: Social media requires a conversation between two or more people. Conversation requires interaction and also listening.  Broadcasting does not require interaction.

3. Listening: Listening is hearing something with thoughtful consideration.  Both communication and conversation require listening. Therefore, social media requires listening.

4. Understanding: Social media requires an understanding of the message being communicated with a goals such as educating, engaging and inspiring action. Broadcast mediums do not require understanding to be executed.

5. Engagement: In order to listen and to understand one must be engaged in the conversation. Same goes for results. For us to inspire another to take action such as click a “like” button, follow a person on Twitter and purchase a product usually engagement is required by both parties.

6. Inspiration: Listening and engagement are not assumed. Just because you pump out what you think is great content doesn't mean that your audience of social media followers will think the same. You must inspire them to listen. Inspire them to engage. Inspire them to take action on your behalf.

7. Connection: The ability to inspire your audience to listen, take action and engage with you and your brand requires a human connection. What is going to motivate them to take such action?

8. Robots don't make the cut. Yes, there may be some social media profiles that are setup as bots. However, I would bet you are not personally wanting to connect with robots. Therefore, this means you want to connect with the people who are on the other end of the social network, the Facebook “like” button and the Twitter avatar.

9. Relationships. Relationships are one of the greatest benefits to those successful in social media. When you can inspire, listen, engage and connect with real people, the sky is the limit.  By investing in the relationships with real people you will see result beyond what you ever thought possible.

10. Content: Communication, listening, engagement and relationships all require content. Content to discuss. Content to inspire. Content to engage and take action. The content, context and communication between two or more persons is the breath of life for social media.

The above is just a snapshot of the core foundation of the human element of social media.

It starts to become somewhat obvious that the people who make such remarks, believe in the robots are the same people who think a presence on Twitter equals a profile, avatar, logo and a stream of links back to their site. The same people we see complaining about the time social media takes are usually the same people who complain about having to communicate with real human beings as a part of their business strategy.

They are also the same people who are not seeing a positive Return on Investment (ROI) for their time and resources put into social media. The reason is they are investing in the wrong thing! They are investing in everything but the people!

Bottom line, develop an integrated marketing and business plan that leverages social media to building real relationships with real people and your chance of seeing a positive return on investment with social media increase exponentially.

Invest in the people as a number one priority. Without the people, what is it all for anyway?

This is Part I of a multi-part post. Part II will cover ways to identify if you, your colleagues, clients and friends are focusing on your own objectives vs remembering the people must also be included in the objectives.


Your Turn

What are your thoughts? Are you genuinely focusing on the people in your business? Or are you focusing on yourself, your stats and getting your voice heard versus ensuring your message is understood?


About the Author:

CEO / Founder Marketing Nutz, full service social media, digital marketing, experiential brand, conversion optimization agency. Ranked by Forbes as Top 10 Social Media Women and 10 Social Media Power Influencer. Keynote speaker, author, strategist, consultant, coach, & trainer. Helps businesses of all sizes integrate social media into the DNA of their business, connect with target audiences to nurture authentic customer relationships. 15+ years experience working with Fortune 500, Franchised corporations with 4000+ local franchises to entrepreneurs and startups.


  1. Rasha Proctor June 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    Dear Pam,

    Great title and content ofcourse :-). 
    It boggles my mind when some upper management still don’t see the value of SM. 
    Thanks for the post.

  2. Byron Fernandez June 13, 2011 at 3:33 pm

    Love this Pam! Lol “Robots don’t make the cut” 
    Keep it up!

  3. john murphy June 13, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    Pam, as someone who is still feeling the way in social media this is an interesting point of view that is of benefit to many. I’ve included it on my site

  4. Kristen Robinson June 14, 2011 at 12:57 am

    Wow! Thanks Pam for this wonderful post. The key word to social media is “social”. You can’t be social by yourself and you can’t be social by just talking. There is give and take: speaking and listening. I think the biggest mistake I see is on Twitter when I want to follow someone. I always look at their stream to see what kind of person they are on social media. If they don’t have any @ or RT in their stream, I don’t even bother. They’re just shouting their messages and don’t care to engage.

  5. Search Engine Marketing June 15, 2011 at 4:39 am

    Its great article.Soical media is made for the peoples,and the 10 reason are given,which are shown its truly realted with thee peoples.The name shows “social” shows thatcommunicate with the public.You can’t communicate with yourself,you need a public.Keep sharing with us

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    Very nice post! As I read your title, I totally and completely agree with you already. Apparently, there are lots of businessmen who still take social media for granted, but then again, tVery nice post! As I read your title, I totally and completely agree with you already. Apparently, there are lots of businessmen who still take social media for granted, but then again, they can take their time to learn the language and ethics it has.hey can take their time to learn the language and ethics it has.

  8. Dana Tan July 18, 2011 at 4:47 pm

    I really like where you are headed with this post. It’s amazing to me how many businesses also don’t understand that their business is about the people too. This is why the businesses that are engaging well in social media spheres are doing so well (Zappos, Amazon and to name a few). I recently left a job that wanted me to do Internet marketing for them, but blocked me from accessing Facebook and YouTube at work. They clearly didn’t understand that their business was about people not money, and it shouldn’t be any surprise to anyone that their business is failing.

    Now that I’m heading down the road of blogging I realized right away that the quickest way to have my blog fail was to write about myself. You know, it’s like those people who get on Twitter and Tweet that they are having their morning coffee…no one cares! Like I mentioned in theDana Tan SEO blog post on 7/18/11, people don’t want to hear about your lousy day unless it will make them laugh. Thanks for the great post and I’ll look forward to the next…

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  14. […] Social relationships are the life raft for technological changes. It’s about the people, stupid! […]

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