So here’s a question I saw posed over the weekend… is social media a net gain, or a net detractor? Are we collectively better off with it, or without it?

I personally believe that social media is a net gain for people above a certain age. I’m unsure exactly where that age is. (Perhaps 25?) But below that age, I think it’s a net detractor. You need life experience and nerves of steel to dip in selectively and purposefully!

At individual level, social media can be a net gain OR a net detractor for anyone, of any age. You get to purposefully decide how your business will show up, too. (If your personal brand differs from your business brand, which it may do slightly).

Conventional marketing wisdom is to appear everywhere, as often as possible, with snippets, insights and wisdom customised to each channel. If you own or work for a big brand, that’s certainly what you need to be doing. But for most founder-led businesses that’s a recipe for marketing burnout.

In your business you will have one of two social media approaches:

1. Organic engagement and growth. You spend a lot of time building connections, interacting, adding value and providing insight. You probably post a lot and shout into the abyss most of the time.

2. You view consistent exposure as a pay-to-play situation. Your preference is to pay for ads.

Those two points should be viewed as a continuum, and I lean very much towards the latter. Neither is ‘better’ than the other; there’s no value judgement here. But running paid ads forces you to think hard about your offer, follow-up and the overall economics of what you’re doing. There are benefits beyond your direct ad results.

You should be clear at the outset that the ad networks are rigged against you. In any given ad auction, the only guaranteed winner is the ad network! The answer to “do LinkedIn ads work?” is “Sure, 100% of the time… for LinkedIn!” However in the long term, advertisers and end users must benefit too. But in any one instance, the only guaranteed winner is the ad network.

All of my work is really geared toward tipping the balance in your favour. With robust, authentic follow-up systems in place, running ads becomes a valid way to grow your audience.

My emails this month will be heavily oriented around LinkedIn ads for B2B.

I now believe LinkedIn has a good advertising platform for B2B marketers. It’s not demand-driven, i.e. you can’t target search queries, like you can on Google. But you CAN target people based on who they are, what they’re interested in, where they work, their level of experience, and a host of other factors.

You can follow along with these emails (and hopefully get a lot of value), but I’ll be running a hands-on mini-course for my Story Selling Lab members, too.

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About the author 

Rob Drummond

Rob is the founder of

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