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Is ANYONE Making Money in Social Media? I Say NO!!!

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Now I know this title may seem like a bold statement to make, but I think it is true. Let me tell you why I don’t believe anyone is making money from social media, at least not real money.

Most People in Social Media Calling Themselves Experts are Full of It!

In my experience, there are three types of people hawking their wares in Social Media right now:

  1. The Social Media Expert: The person who does not really know how to make money online by developing/marketing products people want because they
    No One's Making Money

    No One's Making Money

    simply do not know how to do so or are just too damn lazy to learn. These people typically will try to sell you consulting services” and call themselves Social Media Experts. If you are considering hiring some like this, ask a really simple question before you fork over your dough. Hey Mr/Mrs so called Expert, “Have YOU made any money directly related to what you are telling me to do?” If they say no, or worse, elude the question all together, don’t be an idiot. Do not give them your money! Instead, give it to my 13-year-old niece who can give you just as good if not better advise on how to use Facebook and Twitter to engage people.

  2. The Link Spammer: The person who is jamming a link down your throat at every turn
    The Link Spammer

    The Link Spammer

    and is just one spammy move from getting their account suspended or deleted. This person knows nothing about what they are doing and I can guarantee you they are broke. Don’t follow ANY links unless they engage you on some level first, and then ask you if you are interested, and then present an offer. Typically you will find the normal long form sales letter with assorted emotional triggers like scarcity and fear waiting for you on the other side of these links since this is the only way they know how to sell, by praying on the weak and innocent. These links are typically seen in Facebook or Twitter status updates. Note to Spammers: Don’t be idiots people, nobody is clicking on your damn links so take your smelly junk elsewhere!

  3. The Traffic Cop: This is the person who is using Social Media to divert traffic to other things they are doing in the more typical Internet Marketing arena. They will tend to be using social media traffic in amore ethical way and have a real chance to make some money. The good ones will be giving tons of value upfront, good actionable
    The Traffic Cop

    The Traffic Cop

    content that builds trust and proves their knowledge. It is this type of “business professional” that takes what they are doing very seriously, that knows their space, and is in the business for the “long haul”. They are NOT your fly-by-night jackasses just trying to sell you something to earn a quick buck. You will learn the difference quickly.

Show Me The Money

So the next logical question…is there anyone actually making money IN Social Media? Well, Yes and No.

Huh?

I know that sounds a little confusing, so let me explain. The are people making money directly related to either training people how to use Social Media sites (i.e. product developers or system developers) and those that know how to REALLY utilize the tools to engage people. Let me expand:

  1. The Product/System Developer: This is the person who really learns everything about a platform, proves a model or system through extensive testing, and then and ONLY then do they teach it to someone else. This is the true expert, who can point to systematic testing results and money earned results of what they have done
    The Idea Funnel

    The Idea Funnel

    utilizing a social media platform. I put myself into this category with the product I developed, The Twitter Traffic Machine (no longer available for sale). Results highlighted will typically NOT be the number of followers, but the number of people engaged that click on links (which are tracked), and that opt in to an email campaign and ultimately make a purchase decision. These campaigns will ALWAYS be followed by tons of valuable content designed to engage the audience and build the coveted trusting relationship, leading eventually to a purchase decision. It is not atypical to discover 10-30 follow up emails, multiple videos helping people learn these platforms, among other valuable posts and updates continuously being delivered by this person. A good example of a really well done product for Facebook is Crowd Conversion (this is an affiliate link) by Ian David Chapman and Robert Grant.

  2. The Edutainer: This person, as it sounds, not only delivers great content and teaching, but entertains the audience very well. Most people are NOT having a great time on a daily basis, so the Edutainer that can help lift the spirits of their audience, while providing value combined with well orchestrated follow up campaigns will do well, especially if they have mastered the art of product development. One of the most prominent people in this classification was Perry Belcher, who has now disappeared from the face of the Social Media earth. I think Salty Droid made him an offer he couldn’t refuse.  Perry/Salty, what really happened…?
  3. The Celebrity Edutainer: Gary Vee, need I say more. This is the person who has an electric
    Gary Vaynerchuk

    Gary Vaynerchuk

    personality that totally understands how to use Social Media, and in specific video technologies like YouTube.com and Ustream.tv to advantage of and drive massive amounts of truly rabid followers. The person has achieved status through a tremendous amount of hard, smart work combining many of the above characteristics.

So, here is the sum up.

  • There are very few people making money in Social Media, period.
  • The ones that are making money are those that came from other disciplines like Internet Marketing whereby they have built and understand the extensive backend work that is required to build trust with people.
  • Most people that call themselves Social Media Experts are probably broke. Make sure you ask the simple question from above if your are planning on hiring someone to help you with your business.
  • And if you want to acheive the Celebrity Edutainer status, get to work, and it can’t hurt to follow GaryV

As always, please comment below, good bad and ugly.

Cheers,

Bill

Comments

  1. Great post with some strong views.

    I think people should look at the achievements of what the “Social Media Expert” has done themselves i.e what projects have they worked on (or “shipped” as my Guru SetH Godin calls it).

    What projects have they worked on? Social Media (Twitter/Facebook is now mainstream so starting up peoples FB/Twitter and saying that I’m an “expert” isn’t going to work) so we’ll see more posts like this which question the value.

    I think a SM Expert alone cannot function unless he’s got something of value to show whether it’s App design, digital publishing services, game design, blogozine design and countless others. JUST showing people how to use Twitter/FB is a farce, though there is still so much uncertainty with some clients I speak to on how to use/leverage these tools properly-JUST showing how to use these alone won’t last long as far as a “consultancy/specialist service” goes.

    Also, beyond just money, do SM experts know how to capture their own audiences attention properly? More and more the “experts” need to start falling into the third category you’ve listed. Need some amazing creativity of their own which they’ve implemented into something that has achieved some level of success rather than just a blog and “I will show you how to use Twitter”.

    GO CREATE SOMETHING AMAZING YOURSELF which captures peoples attention…BE A LEADER..people will automatically follow if you’ve got something to show for yourself

    Cheers
    Praz
    Socialwizz.com
    Cloud9comix.com

  2. i think there are more good link !

  3. BillCrosby says:

    Fantastic, glad you enjoy the content!

  4. johnpanico says:

    Bill,

    I don't think that ANYONE is an expert on social media in the same manner that no one is an “expert” on internet marketing. There are those that have done things that have worked for them and then try to pass that on as a “one size fits all solution”

    Since I am in the Social Media “Consulting” business, I guess you would classify what we do at http://www.socialmediadudes.com as edutanment.

    We are not in Gary Vee's stratosphere as yet. But we do walk our talk. I agree that if someone hasn't managed themselves in the social media arena, never mind someone else, that it is probably best to look elsewhere.

    I don't agree that your neice could do a better job than me with a social media campaign! While sites such as FB and LinkedIn are some of the heavy hitters or low hanging fruit, until I speak to you about your objectives and where you are at currently, I can't give you an answer. Check out my article Is Your Social Media Consultant Qualified? http://socialmediadudes.com/category/social-med

    I think there are people making money in social media. That is both good and bad. The good is there is money out there to be earned. The bad is that some of the types you describe above are giving those who work at it seriously a bad rep.

    That's my thoughts. Would love to hear your feedback! Thanks Bill!

    • BillCrosby says:

      Thanks for the comment John, and I totally agree with you on the reference requesting advise in your aforementioned blog post.

      Now about my niece, who knows how to connect and engage people (albeit most are her friends) as good as the bests, I still do hold that because she is passionate and cares about people (i.e. GaryVee lingo), she could run a GREAT social media campaign.

      Thanks again and look forward to reading more of your post!

      Bill

  5. found your site on del.icio.us today and really liked it.. i bookmarked it and will be back to check it out some more later ..

  6. Social Media Marketing is highly dangerous to brands and must NOT be embraced at all. Too many cooks spoil the broth! If you are ‘engaging’ in customers who mix business speak along with playful banter and perhaps rude comments, you are making your brand common as muck. Even seeing your brand logo along with potentially harmful comments on a twitter feed, blog, facebook page can tarnish a brand. Seeing customer complaints being posted on twitter is not good. Customer services depts speak to customers one on one without the world watching. Social media, just like the .COM bubble will burst with a catastrophic bang. People who have jumped onto the band wagon and are embracing social media are dancing with danger and damaging their brands. A brand is NOT about engaging with people on twitter. If you inteligently analyse what the MAJORITY of twitter feeds are about – it is merely internet ‘GURUS’ promoting some dodgy eBook via an equally dodgy looking one page sales-letter website. If you then look at twitter inteligently, you will find that millions of people are all talking millions of different things all at the same time – this causes a catastrophic information overload and achieves nothing. Social media does NOT improve productivity or sales at all. If you really look beneath the covers you will find that employee man/ woman hours are utterly wasted on facebook and twitter. Furthermore the ROI of twitter is no where near as high as the ROI of a traditional advertising campaign. This is because in the LONG -TERM (what really matters) – the brand will be damaged beyond repair. Engaging in social media is like making every one of your clients/ customers a brand manager – and when this happens it is a case of too many cooks spoil the broth or in this case – the brand!

  7. Bill,

    Couldn't have said it better myself.

    Though everyone has the right to freely do what they want to do, it is still annoying and down right blatant that a person is on these social sites for one reason and one reason only.

    I once was guilty of this and plan not to ever repeat it.

  8. Hi there Bill, I see myself as a Traffic Cop, and I stay away from “expert” in my vocabulary. The only expert I am in, is myself. I know that technology is in constant flux, so it's important to stay in the game – reading,sharing, and see how trends change or transform into a different life of it's own.
    I have made some new friends, and am hoping to gain some business partners where I am contributing to their success. You keep up the great work!

  9. I own GoogleSEOExpert.com and SocialMediaDude.com I have people I work with every week to bring value to their brands through social networks. I think you're right in one regard, but the point is people can make money doing anything – utilizing any method and such a broad statement in my opinion is ridiculous that anybody marketing products or services is regarding to as “snake oil salesmen/women.” I've gotten that from many people just because they're misinformed. Have you had a negative experience with us?

    • BillCrosby says:

      Not at all Rob, just wanted to make certain people are well informed with it comes to the “Social Media Experts” and are asking the right questions.

  10. Bill, bonjour from France…

    The problem as I see it is that most people don't know the difference between Social Media Marketing and Social Media Networking. The average bussinessman, interested in social media, is convinced (by others) that the best way to use social media is to build profiles at Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, etc., and then to network (i.e. prospect) for customers.

    The “experts” call this “Marketing”, but in my view it's “Networking” and in most cases a waste of time… plus, any results are completely unmeasurable.

    Besides which, this kind of prospecting can have the completely opposite effect to that desired… people frequent the social networks to be sociable and having “one way shouters” bleating at them all the time is a complete turn off.

    I recognise that the Search Engines pay a great deal of attention to the Social Media Networks, so I take advantage of that…

    Every time I write a blog post, web page or article, I create a Marketing Campaign. The campaign is to submit the item to several social networks where members may vote and/or comment on the submission.

    I then garner voting and comments on the submission, as well as having the submission bookmarked on several different bookmarking sites.

    All of the above “buzz” serves up interest from the search engines who interpret the activity as an indication of relevance – thus giving authority to the post. Results of this recognition can usually be measured within a matter of days, sometimes hours.

    The result is that people come and visit my blog, i.e my social network. This is the place where I do my social networking – I only network in one place, not many.

    I see a kindred spirit in this, your blog, as I view a blog is not the place to advertise your goods and services. It is the place to be sociable.

    I don't buy traffic, I don't participate in traffic exchanges, I don't send out spam emails, I don't engage in questionable or black hat tactics, I seldom seek JV partners, I never seek inbound links, I blog when I feel like it, my SEO happens automatically,

    I don't solicit sales, sales just happen.

    Regards,

    Kevin

    • BillCrosby says:

      Kevin,

      So very eloquently said in your comment! You truly have captured the process for doing well with Social Media. Thanks for your post!

      Bill

      • Bill, salut… I'm pleased that you found my observation constructive.

        Following on from your previous post “Social Media Syndication: Get to the Top of Google in 27 Minutes”, here is a small example of the power of such syndication for you and your readers ;)

        Google: superspindle strategies

        Read and employ… you won't regret it.

        à toute

        Kevin

  11. Hi Bill
    At last someone is sharing the truth with us. As long as you put the truth out there I will read your posts.

  12. Very frank and very honest post. Thank you!

  13. Without giving specific examples of hundreds of individuals, it's hard to identify a trend. From my perspective, I don't see people using social media for sales as opposed to marketing – two totally different things.

  14. jessicanorthey says:

    I wanted to leave a comment for you. First of all I am still grateful for the information I learned from the Twitter Traffic Machine.
    I was a long time Broadcast Non-Traditional Revenue Manager who handled everything from social media to events to web initiatives.

    I don't see myself as a “Social Media Expert” and not sure what qualifies someone as a Social Media expert. All I know is that I am making money from working with people who are making money or building relationships with people that are helping them make money using Social Media. Whew…follow that and you get a cookie ;)

    I worked in Broadcast advertising/marketing for over 19 years and have learned that there isn't a “one-size-fits-all” answer to Marketing/Advertising and that spills over to Social Media. I think that it is all about attracting and not pitching.

    I teach people to attract, not pitch. My client list is eclectic with a couple of celebrities, radio stations, a national music label, an online country music industry magazine, a local pub, a couple realtor's, 3 authors etc….none of them have the same social media plan and GET YOU NEED A TWITTER FACEBOOK wasn't the only plan LOL. The key has been how I develop their Socialality. Whether they have 500 followers or 500,000 it is about how they relate back to them(the product, brand or service).

    I love that you are a Social Media Evangelist and admire the work you are doing. Sheesh…some of these self proclaimed experts are just killing me. I just look for the people who are walking the talk. I am not fancy and always under promise and over deliver. It is easy to look at what someone is doing and decide if you want they have.

    Anyways, thats my story and I am sticking to it!
    Hope you are having a great week!
    Regards,
    Jessica Northey
    twitter.com/jessicanorthey
    facebook.com/jessicanorthey

    • BillCrosby says:

      Thanks for your comment Jessica. You are so right that it is not about numbers, but the quality of the relationship and that is excellent advise to be giving you clients.

  15. nice article!!!

  16. waynehenderson says:

    My buddy, Cliff Ravenscraft, at http://Gspn.tv , is making over $3,000 a month, JUST on his podcasts (not to mention the good money Cliff makes from Consulting on Social Media).

    • Thanks for the mention Wayne.

      I am making over $3,000 a month from people who pay for additional content, above the TONS of free content that I've produced. (Well Over 1,700 podcast episodes and counting)
      http://gspn.tv/episodeguide

      I make an “undisclosed” amount from a sponsor to one show that is enough to pay my mortgage payment each month. This is just one of the 23 podcasts I produce.

      I charge $95 per hour to train people how to podcast (over 300 clients served since 2005) and my rates are about to increase to eiether $150 to $175 per hour on November 1st because my schedule is Too Full each week and my clients are telling me that I'm not charging them enough.

      I sell audio equipment to my consulting clients. I've sold more than $70,000 in podcast audio equipment. This IS NOT affiliate marketing. I set up a contract as an official equipment dealer through the largest professional equipment suppliers in the US.

      And as for Celebrity Edutainer status. I'm not sure I'm at “celebrity status” but I do have 47,000 subscribers to my various shows. And no, I did not come from TV or a Background in internet marketing.

      I was just a simple Insurance Salesman from Kentucky who had a love and passion for tech.

      I left my career in insurance where I was making $87,000 a year. I left that career behind and went into podcasting FULL TIME in January 2008.

      I am married and have three kids ages 4, 7, and 9.

      While I agree that “not many” are making money in Social Media… There are a few of us out here who worked from the ground up….

      Just sayn'

      • BillCrosby says:

        Cliff, that is absolutely phenomenal what you have done. Clearly you studied the landscape, tested a ton, and provided a whole lotta value to get to where you are. kudo to your success, and I am sure you realize you are one of the few!

        On that note, why don't you come on my weekly show, http://SocialMediaLive.tv as a guest? We have a great time…

  17. This article is right on target I believe

  18. Finally someone said this other than me…and much more eloquently. I’d use all sorts of evil words if I wrote this post. Hooray and Bravo!

  19. @MirkoGosch says:

    Bill.

    Excellent, straight to the core post.

    And I totally agree on what you wrote about the edutainers.

    Gary Yaynerchuck is brilliant when he uses video or him being life on stage.
    Iam just reading his book “Crush It” and have to admit that it doesn´t come up to his stream performance skills.

    And what exactly happened to Perry Belcher. There is a lot of misterious silence around the block of all his (former?) friends. Must have done a lot of things wrong in the supplement crap area I guess, before he became a star on twitter.

    Enjoyed reading your article.

    Mirko

  20. Bill,

    What category do I fall in ;)

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