5 Reasons Why Social Media Needs Us to Ask “What’s In It For Me?”

balancing-actHow many social media services do you actively use?

How many social media services have you signed up for?

Could you teach a friend how to use every service you’ve signed up for?

A recent study by Pew found that 83% of Millennials online are using social networking sites. The Millenial generation includes ages 18-33. Only two years ago (12/2008), 67% of Millennials were using social sites. Millenials consist of 35% of the entire online population.

Think about that… there was a 16% growth in a population that is over a third of total Internet users. That is a massive shift. So massive, that there is a bunch of rah rah and fluff within social media. A new product is released and all us early adopting Millennials run out and try it.

OneForty is the best source I could find of aggregating many of the social tools out there. Let’s look at a few segments…

  1. There are 117 different ways to checkin to your local gas station or restaurant with location apps.
  2. Currently, I can access Twitter with one of 285 different apps.
  3. I have 61 choices for shortening URLs.
  4. Track your brand with one of 125 brand tracking apps.
  5. Social CRM is real and you can choose from 117 different apps for that.

If we keep using a little of everything, we will continue to be over-saturated with hundreds of different social media apps, tools and services to choose from. We need to start finding the benefits for ourselves and letting the non-beneficial services disappear. Here are five reasons we need to start asking “what’s in it for me?”

1. You can’t drink from a fire hose

We have too many tools, companies, consultants and options today. It is impossible as a practitioner to use everything out there to find what works best. In an entirely unregulated industry, this won’t change unless we force it to change. Pick what works and has value and ditch the rest.

2. Competition leads to better products

The more selective we are, the more power we have. By not buying or using everything, the proverbial fit will survive and evolve to become even better. Things of little or no value will ride off into the sunset. Competition won’t scare the good people, companies or products away. They’ll embrace the challenge. They’ll listen to their users. They’ll take that advice and make their “stuff” even better.

3. A Master of One > A Jack of all Trades

One of the best criticisms I’ve received in my career was that I had a hard time saying no. I tried to do everything. Be involved in everything. I’m information hungry by nature. But, are we stretching ourselves too thin? If we are, our quality of work will immediately decline. Using 50 tools poorly just makes you an idiot. Being a subject matter expert for one or two makes it easy for you to get paid.

It is great to be well rounded and understand lots of things. But, at the end of the day… we have to absolutely dominate something. If you can do both, well played friend. If not, pick your thing and crush it.

4. Accountability is needed

There is way too much anonymity in social media and new marketing these days. Gradually, the top performers (consultants, strategists, services, apps, tools, etc.) will rise to the top… but this takes some digging currently. Until there is more accountability, mediocrity will continue to hide and those not doing their due diligence may end up with a negative perception of the industry. I’m not advocating that we hand-hold folks through their decision making process, but by being more selective and using / sharing the choice few… it tightens up and refines itself.

5. Social media is a business and needs to be treated like one

This is a fun environment to be in. Everyone thinks that social media and community management is a dream job where we play Candyland and check-in at all the cool restaurants and conferences and hang out in trendy cities. While some of that may be true, this is bizness man. Most of us are measured. Most of us do have accountability. Most of us have targets that we have to hit to get paid. Most of us don’t even have 100% of our time dedicated to social. Weeding out the crap in the industry will help illustrate the fact that social media is real, it works (and there are ways to show it) and there are people busting their humps to continue to take it even further.

What social media tools or services can you eliminate by asking “What’s In It For Me?”

An example: I’ve phased out several of the location apps I used to frequent. There isn’t really a need for me to check-in on four or five different apps anymore. I wasn’t getting any benefit there. There are times where certain LBS apps are extremely helpful for me (major conferences), but daily use just wasn’t cutting it. I’ve lost at least seven mayorships in the past month alone. 🙂 And it hasn’t cost me a penny…

Why I was totally wrong about Quora and now love it

I was skeptical.

I have too many things to keep up with already.

Half the time I suck at the things I do keep up with.

I routinely fail at Twitter and checked my Google Reader and Tumblr for the first time in three months today.

Enter Quora.


I like good marketing books as much as the zombie kid likes turtles. I asked this simple question.

Now, I honestly can’t keep up. I’ve had incredible responses in minutes. Including Dave Morin, Ramit Sethi and other folks that I look up to. Minutes.

I’m getting an update notification per sentence typed in this post.

Which leads me to my main point…

I am an idiot.

I refer to myself as a dumb guy, but I honestly doubted Quora. Purely for intelligent Q&A alone… this is gold. Consider me sold, hooked, signed, sealed, delivered. This is awesome.

Now I have the best marketing and product book list there is and it is being added to as I type.

Join in with your suggestions.

How to use Twitter and LinkedIn for business in 20 minutes

Yesterday at Internet Summit (follow the conversation on Twitter at #isum10), I had the opportunity to co-present with Myles Kleeger of Buddy Media about using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook for business. I tackled Twitter and LinkedIn and Myles focused on Facebook.

We had a short amount of time, but I opted to offer five things to do (I like easy takeaways from presentations) and one thing not to do for each network. My presentation can be found below.

In a strange twist of fate, this presentation ended up featured on the slideshare.net homepage and was a spotlight presentation on the How-To and DIY section (even though all the content is really verbal :).

Backlinking’s impact on marketing – an open discussion with Garrett French and Al Scillitani

Any sane marketer these days is trying to be in tune with SEO (search engine optimization), SEM (search engine marketing), as well as social media. The combination of all of those elements together gets you the most bang for your buck. Think of it as a product portfolio… technically, you could go with just one, but why not diversify to broaden your earnings and lower your risk?

Backlinking is a critical element of any solid online marketing campaign. The ability to identify the appropriate link sources, reach out to them and acquire a backlink with great anchor text is an art. Personally, it is something that I’m trying to improve.

I had the chance to chat with Garrett French of Ontolo (one of the smartest backlinking dudes around) and Al Scillitani of Phonebooth (analytics genius, colleague and all around nice guy) to learn more about backlinking.

Learn about backlinking in less than 20 minutes:

  • An introduction to backlinking
  • How backlinking impacts marketing
  • How social media is changing backlinking

Are you experimenting with backlinking and integrating it into your marketing campaigns?

5in5 Episode 4 with Todd Simon, Senior VP of Omaha Steaks

Five questions. Five minutes or less.

5in5 is a video interview series to ask smart people five questions in less than five minutes. It gives me the opportunity to learn about them and get answers to tough questions in a short amount of time.

5in5- five questions in five minutes with chris moody

Why the name 5in5?

Simple. Five questions. Five minutes or less.

What did you ask Todd?

1. Being a family owned company for five generations, how do you keep your culture and values consistent?
2. As Senior Vice President, what do you do to make sure you’re in tune with your market?
3. What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
4. How has social media changed your business?
5. What did you want to be when you grew up?

As I discussed in my Blogworld 2010 recap, I had the pleasure of meeting some of the folks making Omaha Steaks run smoothly in Vegas. Todd Simon is Senior VP and a key member of the Simon family that is on their fifth generation of running a highly successful business. We caught up to answer five questions in five minutes. Follow @omahasteaks on Twitter.

What I learned at the NC State MBA Blogging Panel

Ginnys three main points

As mentioned previously, I was fortunate enough to moderate a panel with the following folks:

  • Ginny Skalski – @ginnyskal
  • Damond Nollan – @damondnollan
  • Dan London – @danlondon
  • Patrick O’Keefe – @ifroggy

As always, I learned a ton. First off, thanks to everyone who was there… especially the panelists and Claudia Kimbrough. It was an awesome topic and a fun and informative night.

Tell stories.

Anyone can repost a popular article and add a bit of commentary… and this isn’t a bad thing. However, to take your blog and readership to the next level, you need to tell stories. Stories help us relate to others and are a better means of communication than regurgitating content.

Be yourself and be consistent.

I have several soapbox posts about being passionate about what you write, but too often we find ourselves straying from who we really are. Don’t do that. If you want a smarter person telling you that, read what Amber Naslund wrote about it and how her presentations were impacted. Consistency is also extremely important, both in your delivery and in your process.

More is better, but less is too.

This seems counter-intuitive, but stay with me. More posts will yield more traffic, so keep grinding and get content out there. However, niche is better. If you’re passionate about something specific… be the expert at that. A good example is my main man Greg Ng. Freezerburns.com is the leading frozen food review site, but if Greg had chosen to do food reviews… it might be a different story and would definitely take more time to become the leading expert in a more generic and competitive space. This is similar to SEO and long-tail keywords.

Brain crack kills.

If you’ve worked with me, you’ve heard me say “analysis by paralysis” and I probably advocated to go ahead and get something out there. Patrick led me to a wonderful video by Ze Frank about how sometimes it is best to put ideas into play rather than trying to make them absolutely perfect.

Check out the slides I put together to guide our discussion below.

A sweet blogging panel at NC State for the MBA program

I’m excited to be a part of an awesome panel assembling tonight at 6pm to discuss all things blogging. I’ll be moderating some insanely smart people (note: insanely smart != insane).

  • Ginny Skalski – @ginnyskal
  • Damond Nollan – @damondnollan
  • Dan London – @danlondon
  • Patrick O’Keefe – @ifroggy

Rumor has it that the event will be live-streamed or recorded (maybe both). I’ll be sure to add those details as I get them and will post a recap and some slides later this week. Watch the live stream at 6pm EST.

Props to NC State for understanding the importance of social media and incorporating that into their MBA program.

5in5 Episode 1 with Scott Stratten (@unmarketing)

5in5- five questions in five minutes with chris moody

5in5 is a new video interview series I’m launching to ask smart people five questions in less than five minutes. It gives me the opportunity to learn about them and get answers to tough questions in a short amount of time.

Why the name 5in5?

Simple. Five questions. Five minutes or less.

What did you ask Scott?

1. What is one thing we can do daily to make us better marketers?
2. What do you consider to be the most important marketing metric?
3. How has social media changed the way you do business?
4. How do you balance your personal and professional lives?
5. When you were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?