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This could be considered a trick question but let’s run with it anyway:

Are you successful at social media?

See, it was recently brought up to me that “the little guy” is dying off in social media. That the only way to be successful in social media is if you were a business there to promote something.

And, here’s where things get tricky…

There are some folks who believe you can’t be successful at social media unless you have a business to build, a product to pitch, or service to solicit.

Purists run screaming

The thought may tick off the social media purists (remember when businesses first started blogging?). But, if it’s true, then Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and the like will revolve around corporations. Want to know what’s going on at Amazon? Check their social media outlets.

With the amount of time, effort, and energy that social media requires it makes sense that the ones who invest that kind of capital are businesses that have something to gain by it.

Consider the Twitter accounts with the largest following, or the Facebook pages with the biggest fanbase. All businesses. Even @aplusk is promoting his celebrity.

The end of the line for “the little guy”

Have we reached the end of the line for “the little guy” in social media?

Before you answer let’s flip things up:

Remember, the question was whether or not you are successful at social media. On the scale of CNN or Zappo’s you may not have the same level of success, nor should you. Those businesses aren’t the same as yours so you shouldn’t be using the same criteria or metrics they use to measure success.

New metrics for success

Your success is defined by you. Is it 100 visits to your blog from Twitter, 10 retweets of a blog post, 5 social media referrals a month, 10 direct messages about a property?

Maybe it has nothing directly to do with business. Maybe you’re measuring the discussion of a cause such as breast cancer awareness and are looking to trend the discussion upwards.

The measurements of success are different for each but the important takeaway is this:

To be successful at social media you must have something to measure.

And yes, it can even be how many followers you have.

So, let’s ask the question again:

Are you successful at social media? How are you measuring it?