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Thinking Things

Stop Wasting Your Time

“You’re wasting your time on social media.”

As a casual Alec Baldwin gets ready to address a group of disinterested real estate salesmen at the start of Glengarry Glen Ross, he suddenly screams at Jack Lemmon to “put that coffee down!” A few seconds later, he asks, “Oh, do I have your attention now?”

With not quite the theatrics or the anger, Patrick Schwerdtfeger, author and speaker, grabbed the attention of MPI’s Westfield Chapter last night with the statement, “The vast majority of business professionals spending time on social media are just wasting their time.” Referring to statistics from Pear Analytics about Twitter, he noted:
  • 40 percent of tweets are “pointless babble”
  • 38 percent are conversations between users
  • 8.5 percent are self-promotions or promos
  • 8.7 percent have pass-along value

The message – there’s plenty of opportunity for those who can create relevant content on a regular basis.


“Conversations are markets,” says Schwerdtfeger. “If you want to access your market, you’d better participate in the conversation – that’s how you create awareness.” The center of your online identity should be your blog.

And the world of content is an open door. In fact, Schwerdtfeger noted while the first criteria for interest used to be the source (“If it’s in The New York Times, you’ll want to read it.”), now the first criteria is the content, regardless of the source. At the recent Folio Show for publishing and media pros, it was noted that only 3 percent of all blogs are written by media professionals.

Schwerdtfeger’s book, Marketing Shortcuts for the Self-Employed, is chock full of tips and examples of how businesses can effectively use social media to enhance their brands and develop more business prospects. One example he mentioned was the idea of following the Twitter conversation about a competitor, especially keeping an eye out for unhappy customers. These people may represent opportunities.

The essence of any strategy to gain an edge through social media revolves around three questions:
  1. What do you do that is remarkable?
  2. How do you demonstrate that in a visual way?
  3. Will the content come from you or perhaps a customer or “ambassador” of yours?

Answer those three questions, he says, and you’re on your way to establishing online credibility.


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