Beating the Social Media Horse

by Ken Mueller on November 4, 2010 · 8 comments

Every once in awhile I see someone on Twitter, usually someone who is in my line of work, bemoaning the fact that we overuse words like: Engage, Dialogue, Relationships, Social Media, Trust, Transparency. I’ve seen these people say “stop harping on this and blogging about it…we all get it!”

But recently I caught a Twitter exchange between a friend of mine and another guy. The two were participating in some sort of marketing chat. My friend mentioned the word “engage”, and even referenced Brian Solis’s book of the same name.

The other person responded along the lines of “It’s pretty worn out, don’t you think?” I was impressed when my friend responded this way:

Twitter update

The fact of the matter is, you’ll hear me use the term “engage” over and over and over again. Why? For several reasons:

1) We DO need to be reminded of it – We all need reminders on a lot of things, and in terms of Social Media and business, I find that a lot of the people who talk about “engaging” are doing just that, talking. They aren’t engaging. Running a business is hard work. There are a lot of different tasks that we must fit in to very long work days. It’s easy to lose sight of concepts like this, and reminders are necessary to keep us on track.

2) It’s fundamentally different from “business as usual” – Over the past century businesses have gotten into some bad habits. We produce products and services and shove them on you. It’s been a very one-way process. Social Media forces our hand and requires us to “engage” and be more intentional about building and maintaining relationships. Because the old way of doing things is so entrenched in the culture of most businesses and organizations, and because established businesses often don’t embrace change easily or quickly, we need to beat the Social Media horse again and again.

3) Not everyone “gets it” – I meet with a lot of people from all sorts of businesses and organizations, from for-profits to non-profits, and from B2B to B2C. Yesterday I helped facilitate several round table discussions for a group that was comprised mostly of B2B companies. Most of those present were involved in some form or marketing and business development for their companies. As I looked around the table I was pleased to see a lot of people nodding in agreement, because clearly they “get it.” But there were several there who flat out admitted that they didn’t understand what it was all about. You’d be surprised how often I hear, “I’m not on Facebook, or Twitter, and I doubt I ever will be. And who is going to do the blogging?”

It is for this reason, that a large part of what I do is educational. I don’t just work with clients to build and maintain a social presence online. I work with them to teach them HOW to do this on a daily basis. And often I’m called in to explain to executives and others how this whole Inbound Marketing and Social Media things works.

Radio has been around for 90 years, and for decades the Radio Advertising Bureau has continued to educate businesses on why they should spend their limited advertising dollars on radio. Do we tell the RAB, “We get it…Radio is wonderful…now move on”? Of course not!

Social Media isn’t a fad and it isn’t going anywhere. Instead, it’s becoming a more integral part of our lives and businesses. And when things begin to blend in with the rest of our lives, we’re even more in need of reminders. So you’re going to continue to hear me, and others, talk about the fundamentals: engage, build trust, be transparent, word of mouth, build relationships, etc.

In what ways are you reminding yourself of the “basics” of Social Media?

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Wendy Edsall-Kerwin
Wendy Edsall-Kerwin

Even when we hear the same things over and over again, it doesn't mean that we're listening to them. It might take 5 times of reading the same thing before we decide to actually act on something. Sometimes we just need to hear it at the exactly right time for it to click. If it is something that is important and relevant, you can't talk about it enough.


Dear Ken-
I try to engage by commenting on blogs that I like! Thanks for the post. It helps to "be yourself" in spaces like Twitter and LinkedIn. You are more likely to engage in conversation with a potential customer or business partner that way. The naturally occurring conversations are usually the most fruitful.

Britt Brouse
SmartBug Media
An inbound marketing agency and Hubspot Partner


Barbara, thanks for your comment. I agree that to engage truly is to be yourself and utilize Social Media in the way you communicate with others face to face on a daily basis.

Kimi, Not sure how your content would be flagged as spammy. That's part of the beauty of Social Media...that you can be yourself and let your content do the talking for you.


Honestly, i don't use social media so much.

According to my niche or blog's topic, if i use social media to promote my blog's content, i will be flagged as spammy.

So i let my visitors to promote my posts if they find them useful.

Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach
Barbara Ling, Virtual Coach

I like using the word 'engage' as it means to me - simply be yourself and chat meaningfully with folks who can appreciate what you have to offer.

It's part of what makes the Internet go 'round....


  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Barbara Oliver, Ken Mueller. Ken Mueller said: New Post: Beating the Social Media Horse […]

  2. […] over and over again. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because I think we still need to beat the Social Media horse at […]

  3. […] OK, I don’t really say that, but I want to. And I’m fully aware that not everyone “gets it” yet. […]

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