Social media ain’t for the faint hearted

March 7, 2011 at 7:30 am | Posted in social media | 12 Comments
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
social media

It takes wisdom to conquer social media.

Recently I was asked to meet an entrepreneur who wanted to ‘do’ social media.

On the phone, it soon became obvious he had BIG expectations of the outcomes, but no understanding of the process.

This was fine: I don’t know how to run multi-million dollar factories. It was wise for him to seek advice.

However, as we’re both very busy people, I didn’t want to waste our time. So I composed the frank (nay, brutal) email below.

To his credit, this man is now working through my documents and preparing the answers I seek.

When I do meet him, I expect we’ll proceed in leaps and bounds.

‘Dear Fred,

Betty tells me you wish to harness the power of social media to promote your new products.

This is doable, but not easy.

In two years of studying social media daily, I’ve learned that it’s a demanding, fickle, content-hungry, slow-burning beast of a strategy.

When it works, it really works.

But you have to put in.

To this end, I must see if you can give me what I need to help you.

If you can deliver, we can do business.

If not, it’s best we don’t waste our precious time.

Here is your mission, should you choose to accept it:

  1. Cast your eye over the following blogs and tell me which one/s (if any) you like and why:
  2. Complete the attached blog post questionnaire.
  3. Read the other attachments and tell me what you think of how I operate.

Being a writer, I need your responses in writing.

I can then review them carefully to ask you intelligent, relevant questions when we meet.

Naturally, refusal won’t offend.

Better a clear NO now than a fuzzy future MAYBE.

I look forward to your frank response.

Best regards,


Watch this space!

Paul Hassing, Founder and Senior Writer, The Feisty Empire.


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  1. Paul,
    Great approach! If your prospect works through the assignment you and he will hit the ground running. I’m sure not everyone appreciates this kind of candour but I guess that’s the point.

    • Thanks very much, Susan. You’re dead right. Many clients flee the prospect of doing a good brief. But those who stay are worth working with. Best regards, P. 🙂

  2. PAUL,

    Greetings from rural Australia.

    Very pertinent post.

    And email.


    Unless I was really gung ho about social media, it would be filed away in my too hard basket.

    Which, I’m sure, is precisely your intentions.

    Be serious. If not, you don’t want to hear from them again.

    Business is NEVER for the faint hearted.

    But social media is tougher to crack than most other endeavours.

    What started out as a social get together online between friends has morphed into a hard to understand and relate to gorilla, with lots of fleas trying to feed off its back. And not knowing why this back should be so much more delicious and preferable.

    Social media will remain difficult for most businesses. Because they rarely make friends with their customers.

    And social media isn’t always very social. Or friendly. Just looking at some of the obscene and abusive comments left by some people is enough to turn off any faint hearted executive.

    It certainly causes me to be shocked.

    Yes. Born and bred in New York City. And lived next door to a trendy pub in Balmain for 9 years. And I’m shocked at some of the language I read online!

    Unless you’re a celebrity or public figure or huge corporation or otherwise well known, social media for business is a very steep learning curve.

    With few tangible results in the short term.

    Money and time spent on it is hard to explain and justify to senior executives and shareholders. Who look and review mainly short term results.

    Investment to them is similar to a bet on the horses. Within a few minutes you know if you’ve won or lost.

    I do my own social media.

    And find it difficult.

    I’m a natural on Twitter and have made many true friends there. The 140 byte conversations are my soul mate! And yes, some of these new friends are now my customers. And others are part of my network that I keep in touch with by email or SKYPE or Telstra.

    Facebook isn’t my medium. Yet.

    LinkedIn is touted as the best for business. But I find the people there too strait laced. I’m not looking for a job so perhaps that’s why I don’t resonate with their corporate speak.

    I don’t envy you trying to give advice on social media.

    It’s like a virus. It mutates so rapidly from minute to minute, the prescription given yesterday may not be effective today.

    Always love your thought provoking posts, Paul. And do admire anyone who is willing to advise on social media.

    Best wishes and take care,


    Carol Jones
    Interface Pty Ltd
    Designers of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover

    Ironing Diva’s stories are at

    • By jingo, Carol you are one generous commenter! Thank you for this fascinating analysis of your approach. I do see that you’re very popular on Twitter and I always enjoy our interactions. Facebook freaks the hell out of me; I must write a post about that soon. I agree that LinkedIn may not be ideal for you. I look forward to watching your quest unfold, that you may continue to fund your amazing life among the wildlife. With best regards and MANY thanks for your response. 🙂

  3. PAUL,

    Greetings again from rural Australia.

    Your comment about Facebook struck a chord with me.

    Most people DON’T get Facebook.

    Blogs and forums are full of the anxiety most businesses express about not getting the gist of this social media platform.

    And I wonder why we bother.

    And certainly ask myself why I bother.

    Is the hype around the importance of Facebook the result of social media consultants and Mark Zuckerman, the Facebook man himself, drumming up business?

    Much like pharmaceutical companies turn symptoms like shyness into a treatable disease called social anxiety disorder that can only be cured by taking their latest antidepressant?

    I remember when adult shyness could be overcome with a stint at Toastmasters! Or simply taking the hors d’eouvre tray around at a
    party and meeting people on neutral ground.

    The current buzz is the importance of Facebook comments appearing in Google. And the pox on your business if Facebook comments don’t appear in a Google search of your pride and joy.

    And next is the importance of your business appearing in a Facebook search.

    To me, Facebook isn’t a patch on Google.

    I’ve tried many times to search on Facebook for businesses, products, etc. and come up with pure garbage and nothing that was relevant to me. It was a waste of my time.

    Care to address this in a post, Paul?

    Best wishes and take care,


    Carol Jones
    Interface Pty Ltd
    Designers of The Fitz Like A Glove™ Ironing Board Cover

    Ironing Diva’s stories are at

    • Hi again, Carol. You sure are spoiling me this morning!

      I’m drafting a Facebook post as we speak. I’ll be delighted to get your input when it goes up.

      I’m expecting a VIGOROUS debate! With sincere thanks for your thoughts and views. 🙂

  4. Hi Paul
    I love this efficient and effective approach. Nick named it – “Business On Purpose”


    • Thank you, Ensha. I always love your input and think ‘Business On Purpose’ is a ripper name! 🙂

  5. This is an interesting approach to doing business with a potential client. I think that in order for social media to be successful for any business it requires a lot of work. A client that isn’t willing to put in the work to answer your questions in writing most likely won’t be willing to put in the work that a successful social media strategy needs.

    • Many thanks for your comment. I think you’re dead right. This prospect still hasn’t responded in writing. They want to do everything verbally, which is a recipe for disaster. So I’m sticking to my guns, even though this makes me look like I’m being difficult. I’m certain my approach will save everyone a lot of tears in the long run. Best regards, P. 🙂

  6. OMG, Paul! You’re here too? Why didn’t you tell me – I’d have brought pizza! *Subscribed*

    • Great to hear from you, Spike. Yes, I’m here too. This blogging caper can be rather addictive! P. 🙂

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