The Difference Between A Social Media Pro And A Celebrity

How do I have the time to respond to all mentions, retweets, comments and shares on social media? I make the time, because it is important!

I have written previously about social media being a parallel universe to the real world. In other words, whatever you would do in the real world, you must do in social media. Whatever you would never do in the real world, you better not do it here either. Sounds simple right? You’d think so…

I experience two things over and over in my daily social media activities. 1) People surprised I answer them on Twitter and the like AND 2) Stories they tell me of other “industry experts” and Brands that never do respond. If we are to believe that social media IS in fact properly used online as you might act in other social, business and life settings, why is this occurring so frequently?

Answer: The celebrity factor.

As Brands and Individuals obtain levels of social media celebrity, there are two things that occur:

1) They get big heads and decide that people connecting with them makes them awesome, so following back and/or responding to them is not necessary, because they are “cool”. You know, a celebrity. I call this arrogance, no matter how you try to defend it.

2) Due to their offline fame or newly discovered social media guru status, they have too many followers/fans and are far too busy to respond to people.

Both represent serious problems…

If you or your brand are too busy to respond to people, maybe you are in the wrong venue. Would you ignore one of your customers at the order window? Would you ignore a fan at a book signing? You either need to hire more help to ensure you are engaging the audience or be forced to continually recycle fans/followers with new ones that are willing to start the cycle over. Eventually, that cycle will stop though. So if you want more time to engage, you will eventually get it if you approach social media with the celebrity arrogance.

Recently I was pulled into a conversation my good friend Aaron Biebert of @AttentionEra was having with such a celebrity. This is someone Aaron respects and has met in person. As I watched the conversation unfold, my buddy Aaron was taking this individual to task for this same scenario we are discussing here. You see, he had met Aaron previously, yet often ignores his comments. I won’t mention the “celeb”, but let’s say I jumped into the conversation after reading excuse after excuse to throw my two cents in.

I really don’t care how many followers you or your brand has. I don’t care how many books you’ve sold or where you spoke on stage last. I don’t care how many people read your blog every day. The fact is, if what you are saying and telling others about social media isn’t represented by your own actions in your feeds, then you are now a celebrity, not a professional.

Social media is about people. It’s about building long term relationships with them, identically as we do in the real world. The main difference is that social media enables this process to be done far more quickly than in real life and at much higher volumes. You would think that most brands and celebrity types would understand this already, right? Guess again. Here is an article I shared several times this week that clearly shows they don’t – “Survey: 70% of social media complaints ignored“. A travesty no matter how you look at it.

So in short, the difference between a social media celebrity and someone or a brand that truly gets it, is that pro’s are being real, responding to everyone and focusing on the long term customer/prospect relationships that go deep, not just wide. Most celebrities come and go with the wind. Simple…


69 thoughts on “The Difference Between A Social Media Pro And A Celebrity

  1. There are WAY too many people who are recognized for their “guru” status (or whatever) who do social wrong. Drives me batty.

    Great post, Robert! Social IS about connecting! No one is THAT important that they can’t respond to direct mentions.

  2. Yes you do! :-) and very glad you wrote this artice. had such an experience on my early steps on twitter which kinda made me realise that person was a charm on presentations but a horrible pratitioner of a tool that makes him money. Shame!

  3. Totally agree! I’ve had so many conversational @’s and RTs go without a courteous reply. What would their mother’s say if they knew? Tsk, tsk.
    Another irksome habit is those who don’t folow back, even though I’ve followed them for months and had several long Twitter conversations with them. Sheesh, what does it take to rate a follow in their eyes?

    1. why do you feel someone MUST follow you back when you follow them? I take issue with this thinking. We follow those that inspire, we enjoy talking with or whatever our reason. You followed because you felt you got something form the relationship of seeing them in your stream. That does not oblige them to follow you back — and that is not reciprocity, it is expectation and a forced relationship.

      While I understand and agree with a lot Robert discusses we want to be careful that we do not start placing our personal judgments in to our arguments. It makes for a flawed conversation.

      I have been an early adopter and talk with everyone. AM I expected to respond to everyone, even when I know they are fishing for attention in my stream to leverage my hard earned community? I think not. That is not social engagement that is blackmail.

      1. You’re exactly correct Michele, we do not agree. I don’t believe you are accurately framing some of what I wrote either. Of course I would not respond to someone abusing me, but yes I do respond to the majority, even if questionable at times.

        I will always place my personal judgement in my writing, that’s why people read them. Because I don’t do the typical writing that the rest of the people in this industry do and they appreciate that I actually say what many think and that I do exactly what I say. I make no apology for that.

        Thank you for providing your opinion as well Michele

      2. Personally I want a two way conversation on Twitter. If I’m reaching out to hear what someone says, I think it’s polite for them to do the same to me. If we don’t connect, then fine, we can always unfollow – either one of us. If I follow someone and they don’t follow back, it gives me the impression that they feel their tweets are somehow more interesting and engaging then mine are. I actually do follow about 200 people who don’t follow me back. A small handfull of those have such amazing info that I’ll probably keep them, the rest I’ll eventually unfollow.

        I always follow-back, even the spammy guys. It doesn’t do me any harm, isn’t any great bother to me, and I feel it’s the polite thing to do. I’ve met some really cool people that I wouldn’t have otherwise. I won’t reach out to follow anyone who has a greater ratio than 1.1. But obviously, to each his/her own.

      3. great input Deb. I agree with your entire first paragraph. How can you build a relationship with someone that does not follow you also? Pretty arrogant in my book. I follow every single follower that is my target audience. Simple… :-)

        Thank you for the comments!

  4. Robert, I’m so glad you addressed this. I have dealt with this in the past and it really makes you want to delete that person that always ignores you. I get that we have a lot going on, but it only takes about a second to show appreciation. It’s about remaining engaged, and you are the world’s best at that. I appreciate you. I hope I always acknowledge that. :)

    1. You are so kind Susan. I appreciate you too. Your amazing wit and humor is priceless hun. How bout we just lead properly and not worry bout all these #fauxperts? :-)

  5. I can say you practice what you preach. You have always responded to me, and I really appreciate & respect that about you. I believe your one who actually knows what he’s talking about. As much studying as I do, I see I LOT of guru ninja know i all’s who are really just nothing but talk. So, I appreciate you & your example. :)

  6. Gulp! Hurry up and train me Robert so I don’t come off as a nincompoop in Social Media!. My errors are from ignorance today…may they not be from stupidity in the future!

  7. This is great. First of all thanks for the @AttentionEra love Robert! Secondly, not only did that “celeb” take forever to respond, if at all, but when he did it was meaningless garbage. 6 HaHa’s in a row is nothing to be proud of.

    You on the other hand carry on conversations and interact like a normal human, which is exactly how it should be! So kudos to you my man!

    1. You guys are awesome! I am NOT perfect by any means, but I sure do understand and try. Some comments only deserve a haha or a smiley depending on who they are and the context. Doing it over and over in a conversation isn’t advised. It’s about the intent and mindset behind it all. Celebrity mentality is easily spotted.

      Thanx for jumping in James!

  8. I’m a relatively new blogger. And I recently wrote a post that proved incredibly popular by my standards. It took time to respond to each post and email. But why would you not? People are showing an interest in what you do. Appreciate their time. Great post

  9. Imma gonna disagree a bit Robert. Do not obsess about replying and responding to everyone as it will cause you huge stress. Be supportive and responsive for sure but be random. Do as much as you can and be regular but do not obsess

    1. Thanx for jumping in Michael. I don’t believe I said anything about obsessing at all. I am saying if you want to build relationships it requires responding. No difference than in real life. Not thanking someone in real life is rude and unacceptable and leads to them not sharing your stuff over time or attempting to engage with you. It is the same in social media. In fact, once I realized you never responded to me on twitter, I stopped trying. That is the truth man.

      If I stopped, how many others that do not realize all of this consciously stopped sharing and engaging with you also?

      One mans experience and view my friend…

  10. Another home run, Robert. Comes back to the need to relinquish self importance and never forget about that inner human need to be acknowledged and feel like you matter.  I email my patients personally through my secure portal daily. They love it. Humans are the same no matter where you are. Thank you for reminding us about the importance of good manners!!!

  11. I absolutely agree with EVERYTHING you’ve said and I try to reply to everyone that is kind enough to use their time to share something I have said somewhere, whether that’s on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook or my blog. It is simple courtesy at the end of the day and without it the world becomes a slightly greyer place. One tip I use though is to create lists so that I can manage the twitter stream .. otherwise it become un-manageable and frustrating, that way I can check on what others are doing to see who I can help out in return. It’s worth remembering that what goes around comes around even if it’s from a slightly different direction than you might expect. :-)

  12. I’m going to have to disagree here, as someone who has been blogging for over 10 years now, long before the multiplicity of networks overwhelmed us. 1% of the web creates content that 10% interacts with that the other 90% just read. In addition to creating content for everyone, you’re suggesting that the 1% also commit to fully responding to the other 10%. The math behind it is impossible.

    There are experts that are very good at responding. That works for them. There are experts that provide very important insight that disable comments and don’t have Twitter accounts. That works too. Both kinds of people pull in hundreds of thousands a year, and both have something to offer.

    And then there are the engagement freaks who treat social media interaction as marketing. They build a personal brand building followers and responding to them and speaking at conferences (for free), writing for newspapers and blogs (for free), and when bill paying time comes, they’re broke. It is easy to build a following for yourself when you don’t have to ask them for anything. It’s very hard to do it for someone else.

    My analysis of social activity, from someone who actually gets paid to find experts, is that most social folks have never taken a check for their work. When they finally do get that first check, their personal activity drops to almost nothing.

    1. Well I disagree as well. Though I may not have blogged for as long as you, I have some experience in the social space and get checks quite frequently. My view on the matter is simple, proven and I do it every single day…

      Content leads to conversations, Conversations build relationships and relationships result in ROI/Revenue/Results.

      Appreciate your experienced perspective man!

      1. Robert – you’ve found a way that works for you. That’s great. It doesn’t work for a lot of people, and the idea that social celebrity requires constant interaction is not true.

        Now, if you’re on stage talking about the wonders of social and how important it is to respond, and yet fail to do so yourself – then you’re 100% right. Those people are frauds – selling something they haven’t figured out how to do for themselves.

        And if you’re a company in social not responding to social complaints, that too is problematic, and a failure of the social media department.

        Maybe they need Bundlepost at that point…

      2. Yes!!! Now we are on the exact page my friend. THOSE are the people I am referring to. Practice what you preach!

        Hahaha, yes Bundle Post is why my social media is so effective and why I have time to engage always and write and do all the other things we do that drives revenue.

        So glad you replied again and we nailed our thoughts out more clearly man. Thank you for that!!

  13. I have had clients who instruct me that they do not feel the need to follow people back and thus when managing their profiles my company is not “allowed” to do so. I stress to them time and time again that you need to interact with your fans and followers. You cannot take the celebrity stance!! Social media is about being social.They get really upset when they lose fans/followers and eventually get on board with engagement. However those clients who are “divas” I normally let the contract run out and move on!! Great post Robert!

    1. Wow Lynn! That’s a tough client. We used to fire clients like that, or not sign them to begin with if they did not trust we understood how to get results. You are a patient woman! lol


  14. Do you think any part of this is that we need to earn a response? I totally get what you are saying and love the fact that you respond to everything (frankly I dont know how you do it!). I am hurt often when I take the time to ask a question or leave my thoughts and the author doesnt write anything back. I am even more hurt when I see other comments/people being responded to and interacted with and my comment is just sitting there.

    I left a comment on a blog recently leaving my opinion on the topic and asking a question. I kept checking for the response. As I received email after email on the comment thread that included everyone else – it seemed – I was really confused. I like to contribute and comment when I can and when I have something to add but this type of ‘engagement’ (ha!) leaves me wondering why I bother.

    Thanks for breaking the mold Robert! I know there are others like you who see the value in not letting things go to your head. I just wish there was more…

    1. No I think it is arrogance. Added poor time management, tools and frankly knowledge, but the arrogant celebrity mentality is at the core. Proof?

      Again, does a prospective customer on the car lot get ignored unless they earn a response? Does a customer walking into your restaurant for the first time not get attention when they ask about the menu?

      I don’t make excuses for things, I just make them priorities and get them done. I use the tools that give me the time to do what is needed and in our case where the tools didn’t exist, we created it. Bundle Post. I spend my day managing the company, helping others and engaging. What is more important than those things in a space called social media?

      I appreciate you and your thoughtful comments and it is my responsibility to show you that. That’s how it works in real life and also in Social Media!

      TY hun!


  15. I have seen this so much on Twitter, it’s terrible. True fans who respect their favorite artist, and would love to hear back, are always ignored. Why such disrespect? I learned my lesson from it. Excellent read, cheers!

  16. “I really don’t care how many followers you or your brand has. I don’t care how many books you’ve sold or where you spoke on stage last. I don’t care how many people read your blog every day. The fact is, if what you are saying and telling others about social media isn’t represented by your own actions in your feeds, then you are a celebrity, not a professional.”

    This is excellent. I’ve experienced this actually where the Guru contacted ME first LOL and after a few responses pertaining to his subject -nothing. I don’t care though I just laugh at it. I’ve been a singer and performed as some of the biggest celebrities of all time, before I went Marketer /Entrepreneur full time.

    So I find the entire “social media celebrity” thing really ridiculous. You are so right that social media is about connecting and relationships. Isn’t that the very definition of being “social”? But if you have to go through 50 “impersonators” to find one read deal like you- well it’s totally worth it. I try to respond to everyone who DM’s or needs me. Sometimes I miss a person but at least I work on it daily. So glad we’ve connected!

    You are definitely a professional.

    1. You are too kind Lisa. Appreciate the input, responses and personality you bring to the social graph. Looking forward to working together!


  17. Reblogged this on analyticalsolution and commented:
    I really don’t care how many followers you or your brand has. I don’t care how many books you’ve sold or where you spoke on stage last. I don’t care how many people read your blog every day. The fact is, if what you are saying and telling others about social media isn’t represented by your own actions in your feeds, then you are now a celebrity, not a professional.

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