Social Media Budgeting (Cars, Not Trophies)

Social Media

Bill CammackPeople always want to know how to make money with social media.

The problem is that social media doesn’t make money FOR you. Social media ENABLES YOU to make money…. maybe.

Everybody wants to know how their sales are going to increase once they hire you to create a website or set them up with a presence on Facebook or Twitter.

In Fact… Your sales are NOT going to increase unless a) YOU know what to do with your own internet presence, or b) you HIRE SOMEONE ELSE that knows what they’re doing to handle that aspect of your business for you.

Buying Trophies

In contemplating social media strategies, you have to see yourself as the owner of a race car team and your goal is to win races, thus receiving trophies.

As the owner, you have to decide where you’re going to allocate your budget (money) so you achieve your desired outcome.

If you’re racing in a legitimate organization, you can’t BUY TROPHIES. If you could buy trophies, your competition would be able to buy them too and there would be no reason to run any of the actual races.

Similarly, in social media, you can’t BUY SUCCESS. If you could, everybody would pay some money, receive a positive ROI and there would be no need for professionals at any point of the process.

Unfortunately, this is how a lot of people sell social media to you. They know you know less than they do, so they give you useless tidbits of information and charge you handsomely for “consulting” with them. This is usually the best thing for them to do because if they told you what you REALLY needed to do to be successful with social media, THEY wouldn’t get very much of your money because most of them don’t’ have any of the technical skills necessary to actually DO any of that process for you.

Winning Races

In reality, you have to actually WIN RACES to receive trophies.

What’s the process involved in doing that? o_O

  1. You get the trophy by winning the race
  2. You win the race by finishing in first place
  3. You finish the race by starting the race (driving)
  4. You enter the race by having something to drive (a car)
  5. You have a car and a driver because you spent MONEY on them

As you can see, you spend your money ENABLING yourself to potentially win. You don’t spend money directly on the WIN.

What does this look like in social media strategy?

The part that people TELL YOU is that you need a website and a Facebook account and a Twitter account. The part that they TELL YOU is that you want people to follow you and the more the merrier.

Budgeting Maintenance

The part that they DON’T TELL YOU is that they’re selling you a car, not a trophy. They’re selling you the ability to MAYBE win.. POSSIBLY…

They also don’t tell you that this isn’t a car show, it’s a race. If it were a car show, you could bring your car to the venue and potentially win a prize for “prettiest car”, or “best paint job”, or “best-built engine”… Being that this is a RACE, it means that you need a DRIVER. o_O

If you’ve already spent money on the car (website), someone has to drive it (maintain your presence). That’s either going to be YOU or someone you hire to maintain your online presence for you.

If you’re going to do it yourself, you’re going to have to spend HOURS each week interacting with customers and potential clients, reading blog posts, writing blog posts, updating your inventory on your site, searching the internet for positive and negative references to your company, checking your statistics to see which items and pages are the most popular and which aren’t doing well, reading and replying to emails, paying attention to the endless flow of twitter posts from the thousands of people you “followed” because some idiot told you to, fielding phone calls and returning voicemails from people that got your number from your website, reading and intelligently replying to comments you receive on your blog, keeping spam and other dumb comments out of your comment section, reading up on the latest technologies for maintaining your presence, spending time on trial & error with new and potentially exciting products…

Thanks For The Money

THIS is what they don’t tell you. They’re’ just like “Give me your money. Here’s your website. Peacebeyotch! :D”. This is why so many people have garbage internet presences, because nobody told them that after you make a blog, you have to populate it and constantly update it. Nobody told them that if you make a site where you’re selling products on the internet, you THEN have to spend your time advertising your product or you need to hire someone else to do that for you.

Nobody told them that if you make a Facebook page and then you don’t actively participate in conversations, you don’t build any rapport and you don’t make any sales. Nobody told them that they needed to participate in conversations that are important to OTHER PEOPLE and not just those that revolve around your being able to sell something and get some money.

Nobody told them that if you follow 3,000 people on Twitter, you’re going to have so many updates that you can’t possibly read all of them, much less contemplate them and reply to them. Guess what? 😀 .. If you can’t read everything from the 3,000 people you’re following, the people that are following 60,000 people don’t see what YOU WROTE either. o_O

Are You Qualified?

Even if you tried to maintain your own internet presence, how good are you at doing that? How good are you at socializing? How good are you at holding conversations with people? How good are you at SPELLING and GRAMMAR? HAHAHA How good are you at knowing which posts to weigh in on and which to leave alone? How good are you at finding out where people are talking about you or your company, what they’re saying and how you can respond to them? How much time do you have to monitor the internet and respond quickly, giving yourself the appearance of caring as opposed to the appearance of someone that built a car that they don’t know how to drive or built a store that they don’t have time to stock and maintain?

So.. Next time you’re thinking about incorporating social media into your business strategy, recognize that you have to budget not only to BUILD your site, but also to MAINTAIN it.

If you don’t have money to pay someone to maintain your site, either it’s not going to get done or you’re going to have to pay yourself to do it during time that you could have spent billing clients and making your money back.

Either way, nobody’s going to hand you a trophy because you got a website built or because you made a Facebook Fan Page or a Twitter account. That’s not where the work ends. That’s where the work starts. Bill Cammack email subscription Bill Cammack RSS feed

Join the Conversation


  1. Excellent insight. Social media maximizes marketing strategy. Without a product or service and a marketing plan, social media will become a black hole for your time. At the least, social media should be used to create awareness or enhance expertise but even that requires an understanding of your target audience and how social media can be used to market to them most effectively.

    1. Thanks for the comment and the props, Iceman. 🙂

      Aside from creating awareness, social media SHOULD be utilized to build actual, honest RAPPORT with people. This is way too often missing completely from people’s repertoires and they look like they’re shilling… which they most definitely ARE! 😀

      Some people ALMOST get it by advocating building rapport in order to make sales. That’s still a gimmick. REAL rapport is built when you have respect for what someone else has to say and they have respect for what you have to say so that when you finally turn around and say “I have this product or service that you can purchase if it fits your company’s needs”, they see you as a PERSON they would do business with as well as an authority in your field and they’re way more likely to “listen to your demo”.

      The point is the opportunity for authentic connection between people that otherwise would never have met each other. If it’s clear that you don’t care about that and you’re just socializing to try to sell a few toasters, nobody’s going to hop on your bandwagon… except maybe the people who are doing the exact same thing to you! o_O

  2. I like your analogy of using the car and trophy to get you view point across. SM is new, exotic and also complicated. It seems like you have your arms wrapped tightly around this concept. In fact it you own it. Looks like you have invested a lot of time in building you presence, thanks for the insight and keep on doing it.

    1. Thanks, Ken. 🙂

      I’ve met a lot of people through social media that I’m glad to call my friends & acquaintances today. To me, that’s the KEY take-away.

      Even from a company standpoint, you can utilize social media to sell a couple of items or you can use it to create passionate readers/viewers/listeners/consumers who will follow what your company’s doing and tell their friends about it when they feel you’re doing something right, cool or useful.

      Also, what happens when you’re not selling vacuum cleaners anymore and you’re now selling widgets? 😀 If people were interested in your product, they’ll all disappear. If they’re interested in your company, your ideas, your people, they’ll stick around for the next show. 😉

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.