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Social media: you get what you give

by Frank Strong

It never ceases to amaze me: people that say social media isn’t working for them also put very little effort into it.

That’s my opinion, because I’ve seen this over and over anecdotally,  but there’s also data behind it.  The proof can be found in the results of a scientific survey, which shows, companies that hardly try social media, get frustrated with the results and quit easily. 

People give up on Twitter because they don’t see a lot of retweets or followers.  They give up on Facebook because there’s few fans and fewer likes. They’ve opted not to experiment with Pinterest or Google+ — after all if the first two sites didn’t work why would these?  But it’s not the sites, it’s the user.

If someone asks, “How come I don’t have more followers?” Answer this question with a question: “Well, when you first walk into a party are people lining up to chat with you?” If they aren’t then you’ll probably have to work a little harder at Twitter. 

I read somewhere recently a workplace story about employees and flexible hours. I cannot find the link now, but the quote when something like this:  flexible hours is like banking, you’ve got to make some deposits before you have an expectation of withdrawing on credit. In other words, demonstrate your commitment to the organization before making requests for additional benefits. This struck as applicable in so many other areas:  relationships, marketing and social media too.

If you work for a company or a person that’s frustrated with its social media impact, that is to say it’s returns, then start your analysis by examining it’s input.   Social media isn’t a panacea; it can be effective, but it takes a dedication and time.

Keep working on it:  you get out of social media what you put into it.

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So right, you have to give a lot to get a little and then give a lot more. Personally, I don't think companies (small/midsize) have the manpower or willpower to support the amount of energy required to truly manage multiple sites or  a strategic approach.


I have interviewed with several companies and they just don't understand the value for the efforts. Their first question is what can I deliver in terms of media access, not media relations. Many still working on advertising ROI and can't make the equation that  PR/SM  not measured like advertising. 


 @annelizhannan I agree, I think it's like a fly wheel, too.  If you want big wins, you have to push momentum.  All the time! Things move over months and years, not days!

Frank_Strong moderator

 @annelizhannan I think a small company can bit off one social site and work it over time.   As they say in the investment world, "focus to build wealth; diversity to defend."  Thanks for the comment Anneliz.


  1. […] Some people are using multiple social networks professionally in order to reach as many audiences as possible. Organization’s need to make a name and a face for their company and that’s important. Some industries are finding the inner workings of social media to be too complicated and they don’t really understand why, even though there could be many reasons affecting their social media feedback. […]

  2. […] away from new media these days, but, as an article I read today from Frank Strong aptly indicates, “you get out of social media what you put into it.” It is what it […]

  3. […] going to get anything in return. There is a perfect analogy that I recently read about to explain social media. It goes something like this “social media is like banking, you have to make your deposits […]

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