Social media experts – You don’t join a gym if you want to play golf

Posted on June 9, 2011


Are you talking to a social media expert?

In social media marketing, it is important to understand the audience you are trying reach. It’s also important to understand that if golfers are the market you are targeting, your chances of finding them at the gym may be limited to 1/10.

There are three major types of social networks – business, personal and communication. Notice I didn’t say “marketing?” Some may combine aspects of all three (Twitter) while others are more singular (LinkedIn).

And even though you may call yourself a social media marketing guru, that doesn’t mean you can “market” your way across all three types in the same way. In fact, every network has a point or a purpose and if you’re missing it, then you’re missing out.


Social networks that focus on business are your LinkedIn’s, your Biznik’s and all of those local listservs and forums that people participate in as part of their online business networking.

The purpose here is to do business, not to share pictures of your kitten or that fantastic dancing robot video you found on YouTube. It’s also not the place for relentless marketing. In other words, don’t spam people.


I would describe Facebook as an example of a personal network. Some people may use it for business networking, but that’s not the point of it or the purpose.

Instead, it’s private and most people create Facebook accounts as individuals, not businesses. Basically, it’s your space to be yourself, talk to your friends and family and share those kitten photos. If you’re using Facebook to bombard your “friends” with product announcements and sales pushes, you’re going to find yourself very friendless, very fast.


This is where it’s all about sharing what you know and your take on what you know and what other people you know know (have I lost you yet?). By definition, Twitter would fall into this category though the micro-blogging platform has evolved to embrace aspects of all three. Blogging would be another example.

Remember, the onus here is on the communication. So, if you don’t have anything valuable to share or you waste your audience’s screen time with pitches and spam, you’ll lose them quickly. Go ahead, make a post about your new product, but also share that interesting industry-specific article you read last week.

Social networks weren’t designed for marketing. They were designed for networking and each designed for a specific type of networking. Approaching all of them with the same marketing strategy is like trying to build a house with a Leatherman – sure, all of the tools are there, but that doesn’t mean it can be done.

Paul is the President of Professional Blog Service. PBS works with clients making strategic investments into business blogging, social media and search engine optimization.