If I Were Your Social Media Parent …

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tough love

I always thought I’d be the “cool” parent growing up. You know, the one you see in movies eating ice cream in bed with their kid after they’ve snuck out to teepee a house together.

Boy, was I mistaken! As an employer, and a social media parent, I’m actually more of the strict kind. It’s not that I’m mean, it’s that I care too much, and I KNOW you can do better. I want you to be the best you can be.

social media tough love

Tough Cookie, Brookie

My parents gave me tough love as a child. I hated it then. But now … now I am more grateful for my stern upbringing than can be expressed in words. I know the value of a dollar. I know how to work hard for what I want. I know who I am. I know what boundaries are.

Sometimes I give that tough love to you, my blog readers, or to fans and follows of the B Squared brand. Guess what? It’s the same kind of love we give our clients, too.

It’s not mean (even though it may be snarky), it’s just our way of saying, “Hey! You can do better.”

Growing Up

Not too long ago in my social career, I wish someone were there to give me tough love; to tell me that counting fans and followers wasn’t putting dollars in the the bank, or that giving the ‘ol college try was not good enough.

To know a brand is one thing. To represent a brand — their voice, messaging, persona, nuances, etc. — is quite another. There’s no such thing as “try” when you’re taking on that kind of responsibility.

It’s time to grow up. Although many rules aren’t hard and fast, there are still too many “teenagers” out there giving social media a test drive and calling themselves “masters”, “experts”, “gurus” and “ninjas.”

Tactics are wasted without strategy. Social media is not a silo – it means aligning social goals with marketing and business visions. It means embracing it with all areas of your company, and creating amazing, ORIGINAL content.

You’re Grounded!


If I had even half a penny for every time I was grounded, I’d be a self-made billionaire. You learn a lot when you’re grounded … because you read a lot. Study a lot. And do a lot of soul-searching.

If I were your social media parent, I’d tell you that you’re grounded until:

  • You stop making simple grammar and spelling mistakes
  • You know what times to post (aka: your “Sweet Spot”)
  • You stop violating Terms of Service
  • You don’t over post or post too little; and you realize taking every weekend off is a bad idea!
  • You put the consumer first
  • You aim to help more than sell
  • You start responding to comments (yes, even negative ones)
  • You stop doing “paint by numbers” social and actually become social by nature
  • You realize strategy comes before tactics
  • You learn to measure/show soft and hard ROI
  • You integrate social into your marketing and business goals
  • You start to have goals for each piece of content you publish
  • You stop counting fans and followers as your only success
  • You learn what it means to be original
  • You realize how important visuals and design are
  • You stop plagiarizing (words AND/OR photos)
  • You realize memes are not a solid social strategy

Did I forget anything?! What would you like to ground your social media “children” for? Let me know in the comments below.

See you in the social sphere!


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Brooke B. Sellas is the in-the-trenches Founder & CEO of @HelloBSquared, an award-winning social media, advertising, and social media customer care agency. She's also the author of Conversations That Connect -- a book all about social listening and social media customer care. Brooke's marketing mantra is “Think Conversation, Not Campaign” so be sure to give her a shout on the socials!
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10 Comments. Leave new

  • Avatar
    Randy Bowden
    June 5, 2013 1:13 PM

    I like this, nice analogy to use. I guess I am a bit of a strict parent as well.

  • We must have had the same parents. Tough love in life and business builds a solid foundation. I learned the most during my career from the tough, but fair managers, who grounded me when it was appropriate. Great article and advice.

    • Firm but fair is what I’d describe my parents as, too (these days anyway!). I totally agree with you. Tough love builds a great foundation and really helps you to understand what’s right and wrong. It also teaches you boundaries – which I think people who violate ToS, or plagiarize, clearly were never taught (or maybe they just never learned?). Thanks so much for weighing in today, Nancy.

  • Great analogy, Brooke! I never thought of this. I agree with Randy that finding an analogy that works to give a more human feel to a post works great. Excellent!
    Robin Strohmaier recently posted…Why I Joined Google Plus – From a Writer’s PerspectiveMy Profile

  • The hardest part about being a tough/strict parent? The kids whining about ‘everyone else is allowed’. Guilt! Whether with social media kids/clients or real kids, the guilt is something you have to push aside and/or get over. 🙂

    • That’s a great point, Dorien! I can imagine someone saying, “But the XYZ brand is doing it!” I think that’s why you have to have data and case studies to back up why or why not “it” is a good idea. They hired you to be the expert (parent), so part of your responsibility as a parent/expert is to do what’s best for them – which as you know, is not always what they want. 😉
      Thanks so much for weighing in today.


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