Larry Brauner

On a My Private Classroom private member conference call last week Diane Hochman reported a major downturn in the effectiveness of social media sites.

Diane pointed to social networking sites such as Facebook, micro-blogging sites such as Twitter and video sharing sites such as YouTube, but she inferred that all online social media were losing their edge.

Diane expressed concern that while top Web 2.0 and Internet marketing players like Mike Dillard and Frank Kern had successfully carved out huge niches and were earning millions, lower echelon marketers are hard pressed to compete with them, with the technical automate-everything gurus, and with the ever increasing online clutter of spammers and hackers.

Diane even went as far as to recommend that we focus on offline marketing.

I agree to some extent with Diane’s assessment. Certainly with most of the “low hanging fruit” gone and with the global recession in full force, a social marketing approach based on

  • free information and training
  • funded proposals
  • back end upsell
  • strong prospecting posture
  • amassing and leveraging a large quantity of Facebook friends, Twitter followers, and YouTube videos

might not work as well as it did in the past and is probably not the best way to go. People are ultra-careful today about parting with money.

However, I do not believe than social media marketing is losing its edge.

Going forward social marketing will depend more upon investing long term in our relationships with the people we meet through online social networking and creative use of websites and a variety of social media.

We’ll adopt a go-giver posture, thinking about solving problems and giving more than we take, as much as we think about prospecting and the bottom line.

We’ll also rely on written content and SEO as much as we rely on social media and online social networking strategy.

And, just as Diane Hochman recommends, we’ll network and market offline too. We’ll get more personal with people.

We’ll be all around networkers and marketers… and fine compassionate human beings.

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28 Responses to “Online Social Networking Losing Its Edge?”

  1. Tara Colquitt on December 14th, 2008 9:14 pm

    I agree [to the extent] that I am “leaving” some of the social sites and getting to know friends on a person to person basis.

    But I will still continue to social network to some extent.

    Tara, The Credit Woman

  2. Dianne Hansen on December 14th, 2008 10:39 pm

    I just got here! Social networking is ME and I just discovered it. For months I’ve been building my reputation and learning in a very stringent curve.

    I didn’t realize you were a network marketer too. I am.

    I’m enjoying your articles and thanking you for input into my life.

  3. Morgan Mandel on December 14th, 2008 10:58 pm

    Social networking is key to building up your brand. It takes a while for that to happen. No one can expect a huge profit immediately. First you need to be known and respected. That includes interacting with others online.

    Lately I’ve been concentrating on getting my Double M daily blog out there to the public. I also initiated the Acme Authors Link group blog and the Make Mine Mystery group blog, and contribute to a blog about editing called The Blood Red Pencil.

    I created the Book Place network at Book Place on Ning specifically for book people, and belong to many other Ning networks including Larry’s Critical Thinking Outside the Box.

    I belong to MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, and others. Lately, I’ve been using Twitter more often because the advantage there is you can say what you want in a few sentences, get off and then come back later to either repeat what you said, give no info or comment about what someone else said.

    I plan on a major update of my website when I get a chance also, but I do need to focus more on my books at this time.

    Morgan Mandel
    Morgan Mandel Blog

  4. medXcentral on December 14th, 2008 11:29 pm

    The landscape may be changing, but the idea that “online social networking is losing it’s edge” is simply unfounded.

    Try this: When among the masses (in person), ask folks if they are on Twitter. Ask if they have a Facebook account or a LinkedIn account… never mind the myriad of others out there. Most will say something like, “I just heard about Twitter the other day.”

    Or, “I have a Facebook profile, but I have not been there since I signed up.”

    Losing it edge?!?!?!?!? … It’s barely getting started. That’s my opinion. And, I’ve “bet the farm” on it.

    The real issue is behavior and education. Learning how and teaching the new folks what being a productive member of online society really means (which is still being defined and refined) is where the real challenge is.

    It is my belief that many are intimidated by being online in a public sense. And, if the idea that “Online Social Networking” might be losing it’s edge provides a solid justification to remain in the shadows… then, by all means, remain in the shadows. But, personally, I think you’d be missing out on an amazing NEW world.

  5. Larry Brauner on December 14th, 2008 11:43 pm

    Diane Hochman has made tens of thousands networking or MySpace, Facebook and Twitter, and putting loads of videos online.

    I think she’s saying that it’s slower for her than it was before, and that she doesn’t feel that this is the right way for her students to go at the present time.

  6. Diane Hochman on December 15th, 2008 12:45 am

    Hello Larry,

    To be clear…

    I do not think Social Media is over…

    Far from it.

    Most people are just learning about it.

    What I was conveying to our mastermind group is that the #1 rule of business is that you need to PROFIT and that social media is not the low competition field it was a year ago. Spending the day twittering and posting notes on Facebook (or on blogs for that matter) will not yield a profit for the average novice marketer. So as in the finance world…it is very important to DIVERSIFY one’s marketing and be REALISTIC about the results you are getting…and by that I mean looking at the BOTTOM LINE.

    Me..I make lots of money on social media sites and will continue to do so. But I have almost 10 years in the game and started honing my skills back on all the old forums and bulletin boards (remember Prodigy!) I am an old pro at this stuff. New folks have a learning curve in the communication area and in social media EVERYTHING is communication.

    My main message was and will ALWAYS continue to be that we all must run our businesses like businesses. Not look for a magic pill and do what we must to get where we want to go.

    Over a year ago I saw a clear playing field ripe for TOUCHDOWNS and I shouted about it to let everyone know what I saw.

    Today I see a field full of players waiting to tackle you so I shouted “LOOK OUT” to my colleagues.

    Me…I prefer to play on the open field.

    In this case I believe working offline and bringing your new buddies ONLINE to sniff you on YouTube, Twitter, MySpace and Facebook is the play for 2009.

    That’s where you’ll find me.

    Introducing THE REST OF THE WORLD to the wonders of marketing and the social arena that exists online.

    Best to you Larry,

    Diane

  7. David Reynolds on December 15th, 2008 1:16 am

    Can’t some of the “downturn” possibly be caused simply by the proliferation of e-marketers nowadays?

    I’m a seller, but I try to establish credibility and make relationships solid before pitching products and books at people, but when I add a group of 20 from FB or the Twit, I get “pitched” about 30% of the time. I don’t even know these people!

    Sometimes I think that’s all we are on social sites… and like piranhas, we’ll eat anybody who wanders by.

  8. Stacey Chadwell on December 15th, 2008 4:34 am

    Good article Larry!

    Daily I’m bombarded with messages to join this or that, try this or that, buy this or that, etc. So I definitely feel the fatigue that I think is going on here. There is too much spam out there coming through new outlets.

    Would I change it? Go without? No. I like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, et al. I do try to limit how much I put out there into cyberspace so I am not guilty of the same.

    I don’t think there is a time when you shouldn’t be trying to connect on a deeper level with your clients. Those who take the time to develop their relationships will do well over the long term. Those interested in the quick sale, won’t find one in the masses.

    Keep up the good work. Look forward to your next article!

    Best regards,

    Stacey

  9. Eunice Coughlin on December 15th, 2008 10:52 am

    The cream always rises to the top of the crop in every instance and I think this is true of social networking as well. If all you’re doing on Facebook and Twitter is posting about what you had for dinner last night or pitching a product that everyone else is pitching without any credibility, you won’t last long. Good content is King and people will respond to it.

  10. Larry Brauner on December 15th, 2008 12:55 pm

    I appreciate very much that Diane Hochman took the time to clarify her position and to elaborate on her marketing strategy.

    I want to underscore a key point Diane makes, “to DIVERSIFY one’s marketing and be REALISTIC about the results you are getting…and by that I mean looking at the BOTTOM LINE”.

    You may or may not recall that in Critical Success Factors regarding diversification I wrote:

    Big corporations employ a wide variety of media and messages to bring their product to market. They advertise on television, radio, in print and through direct mail. They experiment with many versions of their ad copy.

    You cannot do everything a giant company can do, but why not learn from their example?

    If you use half a dozen methods to reach out to your potential clients, you’ll enjoy these benefits:

    • You’ll achieve success with some approaches, even if others fail.
    • You’ll attract a wider variety of clients than using a single method.
    • You’ll be able to see which methods perform better relative to each other, so that you can refine your marketing plan.
    • You’ll lower your overall risk through diversification.

    Regarding the bottom line I wrote:

    If you want to make informed business decisions, you must track your results and analyze your data. If you can’t do it yourself, then you must get an expert to do it for you or show you how to do it.

    Tracking and analysis are not something optional.

    Keep your eyes open for upcoming articles about offline business networking and marketing.

    I recommend that you subscribe to this blog, so that you don’t miss any posts you might like to read.

  11. Debbie Morgan on December 15th, 2008 2:21 pm

    Thanks, Larry, for another great article.

    I can clearly see where Diane Hochman is heading. Diversification is always a good idea.

    Putting one’s eggs in the proverbial basket can be a bad move. With so many marketing options available to us, we should absoltely be branching out.

  12. virtual millenium on December 15th, 2008 8:21 pm

    Thank you for this very interesting article.

    I do believe that Web 2.0 will end simply because everything has an end, and things always evolve to the next step.

  13. Mizé on December 16th, 2008 10:38 pm

    Hello,

    Thanks for your comment in my blog.

    I´m still trying to fix my notebook.

    This good article made me think about the way people are using social networking. Maybe many users are already overloaded.

    Like David mentioned, he “gets ‘pitched’ about 30% of the time. I don’t even know these people!”

    It happened to me too, I was using a social site and I quit because of that “piranha” effect.

    Regards.

  14. Friend Adder Elite on December 17th, 2008 3:38 am

    It’s far from being over. With lots of subscribers on social networking sites, and their recent upgrades to enhance their services.. the word over ain’t going to happen today or few years from now…

  15. Marketing Business Review on December 17th, 2008 11:30 pm

    Hi Larry,

    I personally think that still some juice to take out of social networking, but I do think as well that search engine traffic it is better for business, it is more targeted and more willing to act (buy).

    Thanks for the info,

    BTW, Larry, Have you seen the differences in the Alexa ranking from the widget in your blog and the Alexa tool bar for Firefox?

    Right now I see you have 124,033 in your site widget, but in my Alexa Toolbar says 85,278. Even in the Alexa site itself, the ranking it is the same as the widget. Thats strange, Which is the right one?

    Same happened to me, yesterday I had 182,702 and still have it on my tool bar but the widget shows 288,896. What I cannot believe is the sudden drop from yesterday ranking on Alexa.com and today 500k+ less, How come?

    Did this have to do with social not being working good anymore, LOL.

    I think the toolbar it not working good anymore. Anyway I dont trust Alexa ranking much.

  16. Larry Brauner on December 17th, 2008 11:42 pm

    It looks like Alexa has some problems to work out. I’m not going to worry about it. I’ll leave it in their hands.

    As far as social networking is concerned, I believe we’re just getting started… tremendous growth and change lies ahead.

  17. Michelle Price on December 18th, 2008 1:25 pm

    Social networking without a strategy is definitely losing it’s edge (LOL - there’s the BIG secret I just let out of the bag - STRATEGY). You have to tie your overall business objectives to your social media strategy. For me, it’s building my community of like-minds connection by connection - my “tribe” …deciding I want to be their long-term “solution” for life vs. a “hit-it” and “quit-it” mentality.

  18. Larry Brauner on December 18th, 2008 1:41 pm

    You “hit the nail on the head” Michelle.

    It’s imperitave to develop a strategy that matches one’s short and long-term objectives and is workable as well.

  19. Interpreting Entrecard Statistics on December 18th, 2008 5:43 pm

    Larry,

    I believe we have to consider return on investment for all our marketing activities. I’ve been participating less on social networking sites because it just doesn’t seem to provide much return.

    We have to calculate the time we spend and decide if the return is worth it. After all, our time is limited. So we have to use it wisely and get the most return possible.

    If your readers would like to see how I calculate the return on my Entrecard time, I’ve linked to it above.

    Warmly,

    Linda P. Morton

  20. Larry Brauner on December 18th, 2008 6:11 pm

    Thank you for your comment Linda.

    I agree 100% that we need to consider the ROI for each of our marketing strategies.

    That’s what Diane Hochman was referring to above when she used the term “bottom line”.

    There are however at least a couple of complicating factors.

    First of all, some activities entail a learning curve or a wear-in period on the front end. It’s not easy to know whether we’re still operating in this front end mode or whether we’re already operating in a production mode.

    Second, the activity might have the potential to be profitable, but we might have to experiment to learn the best way to do it.

    It’s also very possible that the product or business model needs to be tweeked or re-worked rather than the marketing strategy.

    For these reasons it’s not easy to evaluate the effectiveness of a social networking or social media campaign, at least in the short run.

    We can only apply our intuition and basic common sense.

  21. Robin Rotfleisch on December 19th, 2008 8:02 am

    Hi Larry,

    One of the reasons that I have not answered sooner is that I have been “un-subbing” from some of the social networking sites that I belonged to!

    I feel that I was very often spending way too much time on things that were not productive, albeit pleasant.

    I mean, it is nice to chat with people on Facebook or leave messages on MySpace, and it is all very “social”. There is nothing wrong with that. We just have to pull in the reins a little and look at the clock.

    My suggestion is to check out some of the leading networks and truly go hunting on the site to see who could be prospective customers or business partners.

    Post info that will attract questions and create curiosity…Ask what what people are looking for and see if what you have to offer then is a fit…If not keep looking.

    So far as online social networking being a thing of the past, I highly doubt it. We just have to learn how to properly use it to our individual benefits.

    Have a peaceful weekend.

    Robin in Israel

  22. Jeffrey D. on December 20th, 2008 12:41 am

    Larry,

    I do not believe social media has lost it’s edge. I also do not believe that Diane Hochman is the one claiming offline advertising is more effective than online advertising.

    I do believe, however, social media is suffering due to the increased amount of SPAM delivered into people’s mailboxes. Every time you check your email someone is either trying to tell you “How GREAT this business opportunity IS” or “Come JOIN ME on Fill in the Blank”. It has gone from, as you say, “ANNOYING” to completely “UNBEARABLE”.

    I am much happier to crumble up a flyer put on my vehicle or to throw away a post card than to constantly try to figure out how to get rid of “hundreds” of unwanted emails per day. And believe me, I have lots of social media friends that agree fully with me on this issue.

    I received an email today saying that Mike Dillard is sick of people operating in this fashion. Even HE is fed up with the bad name people are trying to give to social media!! This is BIG.

    When are people going to WAKE UP and realize that until they start studying Eben, Kern, Reese, Sieg, Dillard, Jeff Johnson, Jeff Walker, Ryan Higgins and Diane Hochman they will NEVER succeed online?!

    I think that Ning social network operators and creators that are ENCOURAGING and ALLOWING all of this nonsense are at fault and are RUINING the Online Social Media Experience for newer people trying to create an online business. Luckily, guys like Mike Dillard and women like Diane Hochman are promoting successful ways of conducting online business, while the Ning social networking sites continue to get worse.

  23. Larry Brauner on December 20th, 2008 8:27 pm

    Hi Jeffrey,

    All I said about Diane Hochman was that I was on her conference call when she recommended that we focus on offline marketing and on face-to-face meetings with people. I suggested that we use online social networking to connect and meet up with local people, and Diane thought that was a good idea.

    Spam is definitely a major problem. One thing I love about Twitter is that if somebody spams me, I can easily un-follow that person.

    As you know I have my own Ning social networking site, Critical Thinking Outside the Box. A few former members blatantly violated my no spamming rule. I went into my control panel and banned them — sent them straight to the dungeon.

    I believe that online social networking and other social media are in their infancy and that the best is yet to come.

  24. Jeffrey D. on December 21st, 2008 3:43 pm

    Larry,

    Face-to-face meetings. Hmmm…. Sounds great!

    It’s too bad that it has to be locally. I find that many people I talk to and that read my material come from many different states. I believe you could have a much stronger NETWORK if you could find people to gather with and attend calls IN PERSON. Unfortunately, it is not as easy to execute as many would say.

    I believe that YOU, Larry Brauner, should start a training course in Web 2.0 and Social Online Media Techniques. You have a very strong following of people that highly value your opinions and a style that is unique within yourself. I can see a bestseller in the making. Think about it, how did Jim Rohn get started?

    I would buy it in a New York second!

    Jeffrey

  25. Larry Brauner on December 21st, 2008 6:01 pm

    Thank you Jeffrey.

    I’m not so interested in starting a course, since social media and marketing are changing so rapidly that the type of in-depth course I’d develop would be obsolete as soon as it was finalized.

    I’m happy to guide people to others’ courses and mentor them to help them implement what they learn.

    I found an excellent structured social media and search engine marketing training program geared toward successful affiliate marketing. They are offering free Twitter training in order to show people the quality of the training material.

    I will be using that training program as a foundation for group and one-on-one mentoring.

  26. Jeffrey D. on December 21st, 2008 11:49 pm

    I am in complete agreement with your thoughts Larry!

    I too, have just started my Twitter training. This guy, Bill Hibbler, is the real deal! I think that he offers great advice that everyone can use in an easy to follow format. McKay Earl and Mike Klingert do the same thing, but they’re too much focused on Ann Sieg and Mike Dillard.

    We need to learn how to MONETIZE on our own, and Bill Hibbler may be the first to teach new people HOW.

    I know that we are all left out to dry after reading all these GREAT e-books and motivational programs. Finally something realistic has come along to help train people who are not interested in joining business ABC. Thank you for recommending Bill Hibbler’s Affiliate University training!

    By the way, you have a good point. Yes, by the time you finalized your program it would be obsolete. Yet a better reason to keep all of your fans and followers on AUTO-SHIP! :)

    From one of your students for life,

    Jeffrey Dietsche

  27. Larry Brauner on December 22nd, 2008 11:39 am

    I appreciate your kind words Jeffrey.

    I too like that Bill Hibbler is showing people in Affiliate University how to do everything step-by-step, and that he’s strongly advocating mastermind groups, so that people can support each other to grow and progress.

    Because Bill is hoping that we’ll promote Elevision, he’s providing an enormous amount of training for a nominal fee.

    I will be supplementing his training with a tele-clinic to help people work through anything they might be struggling with.

  28. Vic on June 2nd, 2009 12:21 pm

    I say socializing should be based on dedication and not in mere marketing and popularity. It should be built with true relationship.

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