For Businesses, Social Media is Still Marketing

Someone sent me “Why I Will Never, Ever Hire a Social Media Expert” this morning and asked me what I thought. In it, Peter Shankman talks about how he’ll never hire a “social media expert.” It’s a scathing article that touches on what’s happening right now in online marketing. Namely, businesses flock to a “tool” because that’s where the audience is, but they are missing something very, very important — that it is not a replacement for a unified, cohesive marketing plan and that it’s one piece of the puzzle.

There are companies out there who run different tools as channels. Their blog is separate from their newsletter which is separate from their social media. In my opinion, this is a mistake because it’s a lot harder to maintain because often there’s no cohesive message or brand identity. Unless, of course, this is intentional. (Even though, in most cases it’s not.)

The challenge with social media and other tools like it, is the cost of implementing them offers an attractive alternative to more expensive options. Compared to direct mail or other marketing tools, they can be pretty cheap for small businesses to use. However, the ease of using something (or its popularity) to reach customers is not a replacement for a marketing plan.

While Peter’s article is pretty ranty, I can understand his frustration. It’s easy to get distracted by the “shiny,” but no new tools will ever replace the core business principles needed to be successful. Just because you have a business focus doesn’t mean you know how to message it.

The same principles are true for authors, however that is infinitely more complex. Why? Because we’re often individuals who have multi-faceted lives. So, to come up with a marketing plan on our own, without the help of a publisher, marketer or agent, is a lot harder. Right now? I don’t have a marketing plan because I am focusing on production. (e.g. Writing, submitting, revising, etc.) In other words, I’ve decided not to “market” myself, unless it’s a specific project, because it doesn’t make sense for me right now.

Regardless, having a solid marketing plan and all of the details that come with that is something I continue to recommend and encourage business owners — small or large — to do. Having that plan takes the guesswork out of a lot of things and can avoid embarrassing mistakes, poor collaboration, and help channel creativity where it’s needed.



Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Shadowrun, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

Looking for Monica’s books and games that are still in print? Visit Monica Valentinelli on Amazon’s Author Central or a bookstore and game store near you.

Want to Interview or Hire Me? Send Fan Mail?

Would you like to hire me? Because my projects and manuscripts are in flux, I am always open to discussing new opportunities with publishers and studios. As a full-time writer, I spend a portion of my time seeking new gigs–so don’t be afraid to reach out. If you’re interested, please e-mail me via my Contact Page. I typically reply to work-related e-mails within one-to-two business days.

Want an interview? If you’d like to interview me or request a guest blog post, please connect with me via the contact page, too. Due to time constraints and other communicative concerns, I typically don’t follow up on requests via social media.

Keen on sending fan mail? I am also happy to engage with readers and fans. Please note that I am unable to reply satisfactorily to certain types of queries related to the companies I work for due to the agreements I typically sign. If you have a question about a TV show or a line of books, the best way to get your answer is to contact the studio or publisher directly.

Back to Top