What Does Social Media Mean To You?

What does social media mean to you?Last month, Ellen Britt, founder of Pink Coattails, wrote a blog post entitled “Take off your social media mask on Facebook and be yourself.”

In it she said, “Your customers and clients and even your potential customers and clients are not on social media to get their problems solved. And they are definitely not there to buy stuff. They just want to…well…socialize.

“This includes looking at and sharing pictures of cute cats and fabulous food and videos of three-legged dogs and even strange people wearing funny hats as well as catching up with what’s going on with their friends and family members.”

Where many marketers “miss the mark” is thinking social media is all about selling.

“That’s not to say they’ll [your customers/clients] never purchase something on social media, it’s just that this is not top of mind for them,” Ellen continued.

What is being social anyway?

I loved Ellen’s post because it resonates with the message I share when speaking on the topic of social media (and marketing, in general).

Folks, it’s all about building relationships – establishing the KLT (know, like, trust) Factor – first!

Let’s take a look at the word “social.” According to Websters II New Riverside Dictironary, it means:

1. Living in communities or groups. 2. Of or relating to the life & interrelatiohships of human beings in society. 3. Marked by friend companionship with others.

What you do offline, day-to-day, is social.

After all, you’re:

Involved in community – your neighborhood, your workplace, your child’s school, your grocery store, etc
Relating to life of human beings – “How are you?,” or “How’s work, the kids, the family, the dog?”
Establishing friendly companionship – Those you connect with, you build relationships with, engage with more often, etc.

In today’s technology-based society, social media involves the same thing:

• Interacting in communities.
• Engaging and developing trust.
• Building relationship with others.

Just doing it ONLINE!

Ken McArthur & Nicole JolieI’ve met many people thanks to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. – people I don’t think I would have met otherwise.

Many of them are business professionals and we’ve connected, not because of some pitch I posted, but because of mutual connections. Then, we’ve remained “friends,” because we’ve each been true to, and shared, our authentic selves.

Brian G. JohnsonAnd, I am SO grateful that, in several cases, I have actually met some of these peeps in person (as you see in the photos posted here).

David Perdew - NAMSSo, if you’re frustrated with social media and struggling to sell on these networks, take a break.

Just be yourself.

You never know who you may connect with simply by posting that fabulous feline or that cute canine gazing up at you with big brown eyes. Will it convert to a sale? Perhaps, at some point. But first it will convert into friendships (personally and professionally) that have the potential to last a lifetime!

What does social media mean to you? Please share your comments below because I’d love to hear your point of view. Here’s to your sweet success. Thanks!

Debra Jason

Marketing & writing with heart, not hype at at The Write Direction
A recipient of the “Creative Person of the Year” award, Debra educates and empowers creative solopreneurs and enthusiastic business owners to create a lifestyle business that provides them with the flexibility, fun and freedom to do what they love. She also inspires you to communicate your marketing message in a way that captivates and converts your prospects into loyal, raving fans - even if you have been struggling with how to transform your ideas into words in the past.


  1. I enjoy reading posts that are distributed through the different groups. However, I do not like that I cannot see my personal posts from my profile. Nor do I see my previous posts. Is there a way to view those posts?

  2. Very true, Debra! We so exist in a virtual world now, and many of us (including you and I) cross over to meet your “e-friends” in person. We often find our best selves when we can step away from our daily routine. No one wants to be constantly bopped over the head with pitches, and we will gravitate to those who make us feel safe. And when the time is right, we will buy from them. Great post!
    Larry Hochman recently posted…Righteous IndignationMy Profile

    • Larry, we all have bills to pay and so selling our products/services/programs is important. However, as you said being “bopped over the head with pitches,” before you’ve had a chance to build a relationship can be annoying. The result could be losing potential customers instead of feeling their embrace.

  3. Love this post, Debra! As Larry stated, I have met many of my social media friends in person. And when we did finally meet, it was like visiting an old friend because we had “socialized” online before that. We already had a relationship and meeting face-to-face only solidified what had already started. I have since gone on to do business with several of my social media friends – simply because I have gotten to know them, like them, and TRUST them. Everyone who simply posts pitch after pitch – you need to read Debra’s post and learn from it!
    Melodieann Whiteley recently posted…Mar 23, How To Use Trade AssociationsMy Profile

    • Hi Melodieann, so nice to see you stopping by. Thanks for sharing your insight and experience here. I have had the same experience – connecting with folks online & then feeling like they were dear friends when we had the opportunity to meet in person. It’s very special.
      Thanks again.

  4. Thanks Debra for a well written and thought provoking post. Social media really helps me keep in touch with existing family and friends all over the US. And has been a great way to share my blog and increase the number of “followers.”
    Ken Weliever recently posted…Gene Robinson Divorces “Husband”My Profile

  5. Good afternoon! Stopping by from Facebook/UBC. Great post! I have always been a very social person, but I “came home”to work back in March 2008 and it has been a rather lonely existence at time. HOWEVER… thanks to social media, I at least have numerous virtual connections, and as you and others have mentioned, have formed friendships and networked with professionals in related fields.

    I must also agree with those who said it is a real turn-off (especially doing these “comment”chains) to arrive at a blog that is all promotional, with sales and pop-ups and nothing really social or friendly at all. I think THOSE bloggers need to learn your three points! 😉 Thanks for sharing!
    K. Lee Banks recently posted…May Do-Over: Procrastination Interferes with Fulfilling Our PotentialMy Profile

    • Thanks K.Lee. When one works at home, social networks can certainly help you feel connected to others. I have many real-time conversations with friends AND colleagues on Facebook (and sometimes on Twitter or LinkedIn). While we’re all in business to make a living, it is important to establish a trusting relationship first.
      Appreciate you sharing your thoughts here on the blog. Have a great day.

  6. Being social – to some this means to try to sell everything to anyone. Nice to see a post that does explain the true nature of of Social Media – to socialize, not sell. I have to admit when I first got into a program, I was told that FB was a great place to begin selling. Unfortunately there was no training – so you can imagine what this did to many like myself. A dangerous place to be and especially with no actual instructions.
    A great post that gives us exactly what social media and FB should be all about. Thanks Debra for sharing this important aspect of social media is all about.

    • Thanks John. It’s good to remember that social networks are meant to be SOCIAL! Just spoke about the topic last night to a group of peeps training to be Ocean Ambassadors. They’ll have a lot to share in their efforts to educate & empower others to make a positive change in their communities.

  7. Agreed people love to comment adn like on all things social. I do find that providing value consistently particularly if your friends list is into the same things as you also attracts people to you so they know , like and trust you. So it doesnt all have to be about fluffy cats and random fun things you do, but that really helps as people love to see how other people live their lives.

    No wonder people love reality shows !

    • Jenni, kitties & puppies do attract attention. However, you’re right. People just want to be real. If you’re authentic in your posts, people resonate with that. The more they do, the more you strengthen those relationships and develop the KLT Factor.

  8. Hi Debra ~

    I know it’s great to be authentic in all the ways we communicate with others, regardless of our intention. My concern is that too many folks have turned to social media to avoid live and up close social interactions. So often I see groups of people, ostensibly together for some social gathering, literally ignoring each other in favor of connecting with the unseen person at the other end of a tweet or gravatar. I hope that those who follow your advice will extend it beyond the device to a real handshake, smile or hug!
    Andrea Feinberg recently posted…From Emergency to Wow SatisfactionMy Profile

  9. Tracy M says:

    Great article Debra. I think you mailed it.
    Social media to me is staying connected, building a new type of friendship that your connections can get a real feel for your passions, the type of person you are to get friends interacting.
    It’s a huge part of my life and I love sharing, I am an over sharer and to those of my 400 friends who don’t want to listen – hide me. That is the beauty you have the power to engage, stalk, share, it’s all your choice.

  10. The madness of the shift from the way we used to be, see and find quality information has gone to the clouds…Doing it ‘right’ to sell, sell, sell has been about the product or service, never about me, personally… Fast forward to 2014 and all the premises of connecting have nothing or almost nothing to do with the ‘stuff’, that’s the finale…the chorus is you gotta be a friend, have commonality and interests…

    Taking the Mask off and being myself in a very social way would seem easy, right? I’m happy go lucky, never met a stranger kinda Gal….I am gaw-gaw over Paws; cute Cats, Dogs and everything that makes them tick! Everything you mentioned about what folks share on Social Media is WHO I AM in real life! Pets, Great Food & Celebrations and sharing a good laugh surrounded by beautiful flowers!
    Honing in my shares on the KLT Factor (Know,Like,Trust)will help me share from the heart and that’s what my business(es) are all about @pawtailspq and @eventfulkate

    Thanks Debra!

  11. I use social media to promote my message and as a part of my ministry. I really don’t share much personally on facebook itself..on the blog yes, but not on facebook. I have met many wonderful people through my fan page and I feel blessed for the experience. <3
    Belinda Rose recently posted…Letting Go of The People That Poison Our SpiritMy Profile

  12. Hi Debra- I think octal media can be fun:-) I think seeing people being goofy and just enjoying everyday life! I think technology is fascinating and I have also met some very kind most amazing people through social media. I don’t like receiving request to connect, especially on LinkedIn where I get emails to sell me something:-( I think that’s why I avoid it..lol maybe there is a way to block those kinds of messages? Thanks for sharing! Have a wonderful weekend! xoDana
    Dana Mallon recently posted…Are You the Person You Want Your Kids to Grow Up to Be?My Profile

  13. I blame most of the selling and non-social behavior of small biz folks on those internet marketers who promise easy riches thru Facebook marketing. “Here’s how to get 10,000 fans!” So many folks fall into the trap of thinking social media is a magic marketing bullet. And of course, they do that because of the info marketers who make all the money by selling that stuff. I think we need to have more conversations like this one. And reinforce the hard truth that there is no substitute for doing the real work of building relationships with real people.
    Tea Silvestre recently posted…Seditious Much? Why Your Industry Needs You to Rock the BoatMy Profile

    • Thanks Tea. To me, it’s not the quantity, but the quality of relationships that is important. After all, you can’t really get to know, like & trust 10,000 fans. Can you? I don’t think so.

  14. You hit the nail on the head. Social media works best when you’re genuinely interested in being social with folks.

  15. thanks for the reminder Debra,

    it is so easy to be all business when on social media, but adding a little bit or a lot of us in the mix humanizes us and makes us more approachable.

    Gotta keep that in mind.
    Catherine Storing recently posted…How To Go Natural While Eradicating Curly Head HatersMy Profile

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