Strike With the Sword of Truth and Let the Heads Fall Where They May

Your projected profit estimates are wrong. Your Return on Investment numbers are false. Your five year expansion plan is irrelevant. Your advertising money is wasted. You are fooling yourself into thinking that you, and people around you, know what the fuck you’re talking about.

And time will prove I’m right.

I don’t mean to get philosophical on your ass, but our psyche is fragile and the only way we seam to be able to maintain sanity is by lying to ourselves and others.

So how do you benefit from this?

Make sure you sound like you know what you’re talking about, back up your bullshit with cooked-up numbers and appeal to emotion.

People confuse confidence for competence all the time.

I say all this because lately I’ve been seeing a lot of talk about ROI and the effectiveness of Social Media advertising. So here is my 2 cents on the effectiveness of Social Media quantifyability.

Social Media is Unquantifiable

This is nothing new. Old media was unquantifiable as well. I forget who said it but they said it best.

I know half the money I spend on advertising is wasted, but I can never find out which half.

Now, that I’ve stated my position with confidence, let me throw some brain candy at you.

Following up with research after making a strong position is a great way to persuade your audience.

Information Resources studied the effect of advertising and concluded that “the relationship between high copy scores and increase sales is tenuous at best”.

They were being generous.

Is Social Media Advertising Effective?

The myth of advertising as an effective means of gaining new business is based on the fact that some people, in some way, at least to some extent can visibly measure the positive effect advertising has on their product.  However…

If advertising is not showing any effect on sales, then the explanation is that you need different advertising.  Now, isn’t that convenient?

Don’t be an Asshole

Now that I’ve stated my position with confidence and backed it up with research and logic, let me appeal to your emotion by saying something like “Don’t be an asshole.”

  • If you’re in Social Media because of ROI then get the fuck out.
  • If you’re in Social Media because your only drive is to make a sale, then get the fuck out.
  • If you’re in Social Media because you think you need to be in Social Media, then get the fuck out.

If you’re in Social Media because you have something to say, want to make this a better place and would do it even if you didn’t make one red cent, then get the fuck in.


Skilled writers and orators will often employ these (and similar) tactics to get their audience on their side. Confidence, research, emotion. Rinse and repeat.

I decided to pull the curtain and show that you can be swayed by these tactics and how easy it is to do it. And who else is easily swayed? All of us are. So beware.

The advertising line quoted above is by John Wanamaker. I left out his name on purpose so that I can get a comment from someone saying “hey Dino, John Wanamaker said it.” Did you fall for it?
  • Where do YOU draw the line between manipulation and influence?
  • Do you speak the truth internally?

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi 🙂

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  • Patricia Millman

    Hi Dino

    What more can I say other than….brilliantly put 🙂 You have exposed the myths of social media and told it like it is. So much misinformation out there in cyberspace; said often enough people seem to believe it!!!. Yikes, this needed to be said and you called it as it is. Way to go Dino. Really enjoyable read.

    Patricia Perth Australia

    • Dino Dogan

      Thnx Patricia. So true about something being said enough times and it becomes the truth. I say we all start chanting “Unicorns exist. Unicorns exit” …Im telling you..we can make some Unicorns.

  • Kira Permunian

    Oh this is my first to get here. I was amazed by your brilliant and brave style of writings. Wow I believe your style is effective. You’re hitting the bullseye in this post.

    • Dino Dogan

      Thnx Kira. Appreciate it. I checked out your blog…very nice…its in my reader now.

  • Jacob Varghese

    ‘ * If you’re in Social Media because of ROI then get the fuck out.
    * If you’re in Social Media because your only drive is to make a sale, then get the fuck out.
    * If you’re in Social Media because you think you need to be in Social Media, then get the fuck out.

    If you’re in Social Media because you have something to say, want to make this a better place and would do it even if you didn’t make one red cent, then get the fuck in.’

    Things I want to say to my clients but have to be diplomatic about.

    • Dino Dogan

      Varghese that Hungarian? I just finished a book called The Great Escape: Nine Jews Who Fled Hitler and Changed the World…awesome stuff.

      Anyways…I realize that all this is terribly boring to you unless you are in fact from Hungary lol

  • Reiner Bruns

    Thank you for this refreshing post, Dino. I enjoy the tone of voice. Some people just don’t want to understand and make work of social media workers difficult.

    I have frequently been told, that I’m too undiplomatic and I’m sure I have lost return clients because of that. Knowing to tell the truth is worth it!

    • Dino Dogan

      haha…yup…to undiplomatic. Thats me as well. I’ve lost a ton of client because of it. But the ones I gained…the ones I gained stay with me.

      I have a post coming out in few days showing the exact email (client’s questions and my answers) that they had and the way I responded. Sent them running for the hills because they didnt hear what they wanted to hear.

      Reiner my friend. You and I dont seam to be in the business of telling people what they want to hear. And dont get me wrong. Thats a great business to be in…people loooove hearing what they want to hear. Its just not the way we roll…and I woundt have it any other way.

      • Reiner Bruns

        True, I wouldn’t have any other way either!

        The clients who hire me for pursue well-scoped and planned out projects are the ones who turn into success stories. IMHO The other ones are just failure waiting to happen.

        It’s a really great idea to publish your conversation with a client as a type of best practice approach. I’ll keep my eyes peeled for it!

  • Leo Widrich

    Dino, this is exactly the kind of posts DIYblogger is such a great destination. Just like Reiner said it really is refreshing and should bring us all back to the right track as regards our intentions with Social Media.

    Loved the quote about “don’t know which half” and exactly expresses how it works. If you get a feeling it works, you can never tell what made it happen. In a way this is not cool if you try to get your figures right, but it also teaches us a great lesson that we need to stick to an overall mindset and not to figures.

    Again, great stuff, Buffered it is! 🙂

    • Dino Dogan

      Thnx Leo. Its so easy to lose ourselves in numbers. We often believe our own conclusions from those numbers. And we are often wrong.

      I dont mean to go Biblical on your ass, but here it is: The race is not to the swift or the battle to the strong, nor does food come to the wise or wealth to the brilliant or favor to the learned; but time and chance happen to them all.

      Time and chance happens to us all.

  • stacey

    Hi Dino,

    I was reading Griddys round up post and enjoyed the Judith Shapiro Adage article “Why I have begun to hate the term social media”. I found it interesting that even amongst the top brains in the field, there was still some ambiguity as to how the term was used, and what it actually mean’t.

    She said this:

    “So right there in the middle of this “exuberant” discussion, my frustration with the term “social media” reached a tipping point. I had come to hate the term because it has become so undefined and unusable resulting in much confusion. In short, for me, the term had outlived its usefulness”

    What do you think?

    • Dino Dogan

      ahh..I can take it or leave it. Web 2.0 might be even worse. But these are just shorthands for what we really mean. And ideally, SM/Web2.0 is Technology Enabling Humanness. But that might be too Philosophical to catch on lol

  • Robert Dempsey

    Marketing is all about relationships. Social media is all about relationships. Business is all about relationships. Customers for life (the best kind btw) are not created out of thin air and empty promises. I was really happy to find methods of doing affiliate marketing that are based on relationships, which is the way I operate, rather than selling purely on emotion. Yes there’s some in there but it’s not 100% of the strategy. And that is where the line between manipulation and influence comes in.

    If your only tactic of selling is pure emotion, in the long run you’ll lose because you haven’t given any value, or made any case of the value at all. I see this in Internet Marketing all the time. And the more marketing I do the more I can no longer use those tactics and examples in my marketing – it isn’t creating the connection, it’s pushing the emotional buttons to make the sale.

    Basically it’s bullshit in a box. It works great, but you have to keep it up. And that’s harder than just getting real and making connections with those customers for life.

    • Dino Dogan

      Its amazing how some can keep up the bullshit, inst it?

      Yesterday I was watching a Doctor on TV saying that people food is bad for dogs. I found myself yelling at the screen “SO WHAT HAVE DOGS BEEN EATING FOR HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF YEARS BEFORE KIBBLES WAS ON THE MARKET???”

      Sure enough, come commercial time, Purina Chow 30 seconds long spot is played….oi vey.

      • Lauri Flaquer

        With a long background in TV News at a major network and it’s affiliates in NY, I don’t believe a word I hear or a thing I see in the media or on the tube. The message is subliminal and the delivery is crafted to stimulate latent emotional reactions. A branding term sums it up nicely, “Brand recognition for future activation.” It was very interesting to be inside the machine during Desert Shield and Desert Storm. Very easy to see a superior system at it’s best.

        Its not the journalist fault, they haven’t much choice. When someone speaks out they are soon unemployed.

        At least with the commercials, we know we’re being fed a line.

    • Lauri Flaquer

      The “client for life” goal is a good one. People who deliver real value will come out as winners every time. I love working with you and can’t imagine recommending anyone else.

  • Lauri Flaquer

    HI Dino,

    Right on! When people come into my office they start asking about Business Plans and projections and I want to jam my fingers into my eyes. I’m so sick of all the BS on which marketing and advertising is based, I could just scream. I tell them to forget the fantasies and let’s get to “The Real Deal.” Money is where its at. Not just projections but actual sales!

    We need more people willing to tell the truth about this so they stop looking at us like we’re crazy. Keep up the good work and know you’re telling a story everyone needs to hear. Thanks

    • Dino Dogan

      Thnx Lauri…appreciate the feedback. And believe me..I know that feeling 🙂

  • Anonymous

    A brave-hearted post, Dino. Well done.

    Few do the research because it costs as much or more than the campaigns. Online and Offline: they cheap out.

    Few do real measurement because it’s expensive, it’s takes time, and, shocker, the results are likely to suck bad. I got some stories that I can’t talk about in public. But remind me in a chat…

    It’s sooo bad that IAB conspired with online industry leaders in Romania (perhaps elsewhere) to fake traffic reports and online ad metrics. That’s kinda scary considering IAB is the leading global association for the online advertising and marketing industry with huge backing from Microsoft, Google, etc.

    Just to be clear: that happened after my time in IAB.

    • Dino Dogan

      haha..I know just how you feel…I used to work for Accenture, otherwise known as Andersen Consulting which you may remember from the Enron fiasco.

      These fuckers are forcing us to apologize to each other as we talk about our past. Just because of the greed and unethical business practices THEY decided to engage in. How is that fair?

  • Anonymous

    Hey Dino, first time here, and I hope the rest of your posts will continue to deliver as much punch as this one!

    There are always conspiracy theories flying around. Apparently some Republicans believe Obama shouldn’t be President because he might not have been born in Hawaii! Who knows, but the point is, we can do either two things:

    – Continue to listen to conspiracy theories and get bounced from pillar to post
    – Choose what we listen to carefully, and cut out that which doesn’t serve us

    I live an increasingly simple life. I’ll only take something on board if it serves me, or helps me to serve others. Why gather excessive baggage when you don’t need it? Let’s all keep it simple 🙂

    • Dino Dogan

      Simple is beautiful. Im with you.

  • Steve

    It’s a shame that such a good and pertinent post is plagued by inappropriate language and poor spelling.
    Obscenity Is a Crutch for Traffic Drives. Hope that’s not the case here. Keep up the good posts but lets all try and be more professional.

    • Dino Dogan

      Dino Dogan Liked This :-p

  • Karen Bice

    “If you’re in Social Media because you have something to say, want to make this a better place and would do it even if you didn’t make one red cent, then get the fuck in.” This says it all, Dino. BTW, I’m one of those who prefer that softer language be used, but sometimes you have to use unpretty language to get a point across. There’s one word that kind of drives me up the wall, but it wasn’t used in this post, and I am trying to be more accepting. 🙂 Great post, Dino!

    • Dino Dogan’re right Karen…sometimes it takes strong language to get the point across. Im curious..whats the word? lol

      ..its ok, you dont have to say it 🙂

      • Karen Bice

        Douchebag. And, I realize that meanings change over time. 🙂

  • Janet Callaway

    Whether the descriptive word is used as an adjective, noun or verb; passive or active; past, present or future tense–I’m in, staying in, making a difference and having fun!

    Mahalo for a fantastic start to my day and week. You are _____ Fabulous! Aloha. Janet

    • Dino Dogan

      haha..thnx Janet. I thought I was overcorrecting at times for all those that say things can be measured, but Im glad you enjoyed it. Of course, the truth is always somewhere in the middle, but it doesnt make for an exciting narrative 🙂

      Did you notice the commentary that went with the post as I was laying out my case? 🙂

  • Kristi Hines

    I like the three reasons why you should get out of social media. While there may not be a measurable result of whether your tweet brought in a sale or not, I bet what we will see in the end are businesses that are socially engaged (truly, not just ad blasting) will be the front runners, and ones who are not will be closing down shop.

    • Dino Dogan

      There is a saying back in the old country. From your mouth into God’s ears.

  • Julie Nutter

    This post takes the in-your-face style to a whole new level. I mean, WOW, Dino; I was reading this at work and standing there, wide eyed, at my table…. It completely blew me away.
    This post completely blew me away.
    This post is so freaking cool. I love it. I love it. I love it.
    And I want to hand you this book I have on statistics and how … well, your post paints a nice picture about the reliability and accuracy of statistics, period. …Not just a something unquantifiable like social media, but in general.
    I’m still reeling.
    You should do more totally-in-your-fragging-face posts. You rock at them.=]

    • Dino Dogan

      YAY!!! Ju-uuu-uuu-uu-lie 🙂

      Thnx …I took that old saying about writing to hear. Write drunk, edit sober. (figuratively speaking of course)…worked out it seams…Im stoked you liked it 🙂

  • Christian

    I want to get in. Especially if I’m being led by an individual who takes social media by the horns and shows it who’s boss. Social media is a slow process. So is the growth of a beautiful redwood. The best things in life usually take time and dang long to produce.

    • Dino Dogan

      haha…well then…get the fuck in man 🙂

      Oh wait…nevermind…you couldnt get out if you tried lol

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