My Top 25 Social Media Quotes for Business

My Top 20 Social Media Quotes for Business to Inspire You to Do MORE with Social Media

Over the course of speaking to tens of thousands of professionals at a few hundred events over the last decade as a social media speaker, I’ve seen more and more of my attendees mention that certain things that I said resonated with them about their strategies and digital footprint. I’ve also seen more people tweet out soundbites from my presentations of their favorite social media marketing quotes for business that I have given. For those of you who have never seen me speak, I wanted to take advantage of this content marketing opportunity to create a resource by publishing these social media for business quotes and offering my own personal explanation and often longer story into the background of each of my content marketing quotes and the marketing strategy they inform.

In the visual social media marketing fashion of the times, I also created my own “visual voice” by utilizing images for these social media marketing quotes that would be in the most authentic of ways: All background images you will see are from personal pictures that I have posted on my Instagram account and have utilized as part of my own set of marketing efforts for my business and brand.

Without further ado, here are my personal favorite social media marketing quotes in alphabetical order.

I have tried to include only those social media marketing quotes that I originally created unless noted, but since there are so many social media speakers out there, it wouldn’t surprise me if you have heard someone else say the exact same thing. If that’s the case – or if there is a favorite quote you have heard from a social media speaker – please drop it in the comments below!

1. A Blog Gives Your Company a Social Voice

I said back in 2010 that a blog is an essential aspect of a social media strategy, and the growth of content marketing has undoubtedly influenced the increase in blogging since I wrote that post. But blogging isn’t just about feeding more content to the search engines and social media: It’s about giving your company what I call a social voice, or a way of speaking socially about your company and industry that is very different than the sometimes anti-social rigid requirements of branding guidelines. It is allowing your company to simply become more human in many ways in its online presence to improve customer experience and engage more authentically with your audience. Blogs are an excellent vehicle for the voice of entertainment companies, brands, and more, and give you the perfect place to showcase your killer content.

"A blog gives your company a social voice" ~ @NealSchaffer #quotes #socialmedia #socialmediaquotes
Image: Oxford Circus, London during a European business trip. What will your company say on such a busy street to get people’s attention? Social media is no different.

2. Asking which social media site you should have a presence on is like asking next to which freeway should we put our billboard.

I distinctly remember being asked during a book signing event for Maximize Your Social in La Jolla, California as to which social media sites a company should focus on. If social media is about being where your customer is, so should your social networks. To illustrate the point, I made this analogy vis a vis the three freeways that run through San Diego: I-5, I-805, and I-8. Each run through distinctively different parts of the city with varying demographics. If you had a limited budget, next to which interstate would you place a billboard? If you answered all three, you have a lot of work to do to effectively leverage your content marketing strategies! To avoid making customers unhappy or confused, make sure you are utilizing every opportunity you have to cultivate a direct relationship with your audience.

"Asking which social media site you should have a presence on is like asking next to which freeway should we put our billboard." ~ @NealSchaffer #quotes #socialmedia #socialmediaquotes
Image: Taking while driving on Interstate 40 between Flagstaff, Arizona and Los Angeles, California. Not many billboards nearby this particular patch of highway ;-)

3. Before You Contact an Outside Agency, Look Inside Your Company for Great Social Media Ideas

The world is finally waking up to the potential that employees have as brand advocates as part of an employee advocacy program. However, utilizing internal employees as part of your social media strategy is more than simply having them help share your brand messages: It is about giving employees a role to participate in and contribute to every aspect of what your company does in social media. I think this quote of mine does the best at embodying that spirit. Your existing employees may have an aspect of creativity toward your brand and company that an outsider may not have. Digital relationships are important, but make sure you are not neglecting the relationships you already have within your company and recognize the potential idea generator you have in your existing body of employees.

"Before You Contact an Outside Agency, Look Inside Your Company for Great Social Media Ideas" ~ @NealSchaffer #quotes #socialmedia #socialmediaquotes
Image: This picture was taken at Facebook Headquarters. Yes, there really IS a Facebook Wall at Facebook! Curious as to what Facebook Headquarters looks like inside? Check out this sneak peek video!
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4. Content is One Key to Help Build Relationships in Social Media

Anyone who has seen me speak or read Maximize Your Social knows that I have talked about the convergence of communication and information and how that allows businesses many opportunities in social media. At the end of the day, though, what are you going to talk about, as a company, in a world that was created for people to connect with each other on? The answer comes from posting content, whether it be something resourceful, playful, or sharing someone else’s message about your brand. This is why a content strategy is one of the essential ingredients of a social media strategy.

You could say that each house depicted in the image below represents a social media user … how are you going to start a conversation with someone who’s house you’ve never been to? Content holds the key. Mediocre marketers forego making content that resonates with real people, but a truly gifted marketing team will forge strong customer relationships by creating engaging, relatable, and useful content. This is called inbound marketing, and unlike outbound marketing, inbound marketing will keep your customers coming back for more and will avoid making customers unhappy with you lack of voice and engagement.

"Content is One Key to Help Build Relationships in Social Media" ~ @NealSchaffer #quotes #socialmedia #socialmediaquotes
Image: Flying over Foster City before landing at San Francisco International Airport on one of my many trips to or through the Bay Area.

5. Does Your Company Leverage Employee Advocacy? Your Employee’s Network is Bigger Than You Think!

I don’t know how company cafeterias hold 6,099 people like the one below does, but even if it holds 100, the potential to amplify your brand’s messages is 100 times that of your singular corporate social media presence. If you’re looking to create an employee advocacy program, make sure you download my free book I co-wrote with the folks at PeopleLinx: How to Build an Employee Advocacy Program. Digital marketing quotes often focus on external actions and bringing ore people in from the outside, but true marketing essentials involve looking inward first–something a true marketing expert should leverage whenever possible.

"Does Your Company Leverage Employee Advocacy? Your Employees Network is Bigger Than You Think!" ~ @NealSchaffer #quotes #socialmedia #socialmediaquotes
Image: Taken at the Moscone Center cafeteria in San Francisco, California during Cisco Live! 2014. Imagine the potential shared power that 6,099 occupants could have in social media!

If you’re still confused about employee advocacy and the positive impact it could have for your company, I think you’ll enjoy this interview:

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6. If You’re Not Regularly Experimenting with Your Social Media Efforts, You’re Not Maximizing Your Social

I often show a slide comparing social media to one big experiment, because who uses social media, how we use it, and the functionality being provided by each platform is always in flux (this is actually a separate quote that you’ll find further down in this post). This is why I always say that experimentation is an integral part of successful social media: you’ll never truly Maximize Your Social without it. I first blogged about social media experimentation back in 2011, and I still think it’s as important then as it is now. Learning how to best manage and implement your social media strategy is not without its metaphorical labor pains, but let this quote serve as a powerful reminder to step outside of the box and get to know what digital marketing practices work for your company! 

If You're Not Regularly Experimenting with Your Social Media Efforts, You're Not Maximizing Your Social
Image: On my most recent trip to Osaka, Japan I was surprised to see that my old tempura rice bowl restaurant had experimented by adding a new ingredient, avocado, to their traditional fare. The result: Refreshingly delicious! The ROI of experimentation ;-)

7. Proactively Engage with Relevant People – Reactively Respond When Relevant People Reach Out to You

Most companies focus on the “reactive” engagement in social media, but there is a completely different side called the “proactive” one, which gives companies the ability to not only find their ideal audience in social media (the topic of my recent Social Media Success Summit presentation), but also to proactively engage with them by sending them one of any number of potential social signals. Most companies are missing out on this huge opportunity, but a marketing agent should be paying close attention to any opportunities available to reach your business objectives. Any social media strategist worth their salt understands that a successful company is one that does not just pop into the conversation–a successful company starts the conversation. Human history remembers those who take the first step, and the same is true of business ideas. 

"Proactively Engage with Relevant People - Reactively Respond When Relevant People Reach Out to You" ~ @NealSchaffer #quotes #socialmedia #socialmediaquotes
I use this picture from the speaker’s podium at the Social Media Marketing World before my panel on Twitter Marketing Success Tips from Brands as a good example of proactively engaging with relevant people who are attending the conference but also the importance of reactive engagement. Sure, I was able to meet some great people that attended the event, but there were more people that were talking and sharing the event online in a completely searchable way on Twitter. Proactively engaging with them and thanking them generated many new invaluable relationships. It’s not just about posting on social media – it’s equally about engaging in a proactive way from the results of your monitoring!

8. Social Media is a Never-Ending Experiment, Because the Users, How They Use It, and the Functionality Provided by Social Networks is Always in Flux

Having written two books on LinkedIn – and always needing to edit them before publication because of the constant changes going on with the site – is just one way in which I have seen this ever-changing world of social media. When I presented on Facebook five years ago, there were obviously very few professionals on the site. And what we creative people can do in social media today just wasn’t possible until recently. This is the background as to the importance of experimentation in social media, and why I use W. Edwards Deming‘s PDCA as the basis for my social media strategy framework as outlined in Maximize Your Social. Posting relevant content is vital, but the internet marketing game is constantly changing, and the marketing department of your company–be it 1 employee or dozens–must understand that relevance constantly shifts and online marketing shifts with it.

"Social Media is a Never-Ending Experiment, Because the Users, How They Use It, and the Functionality Provided by Social Networks is Always in Flux" ~ @NealSchaffer #socialmedia #quotes #socialmediaquotes
Image: Taken with family during the Christmas season at Universal Studios in Los Angeles, California. Universal Studio’s experiment with creating a Dr. Seuss-inspired area for the holidays is one big reason we ended up visiting the theme park. Also love their creative play on the traditional structure of the Christmas tree!

9. Social Media Replaces Nothing – But Complements Everything

This is probably my favorite and most retweeted quote out of all of these 23. It is so simple to understand that I don’t think it needs an explanation!

"Social Media Replaces Nothing - But Complements Everything" ~ @NealSchaffer #quotes #socialmedia #socialmediaquotes
Various plugged in devices at an Apple Store. The intent of this image was to mimic what a networked hub would look like. Social media, like the network or the Internet, is merely a channel or communications infrastructure that replaces nothing yet augments everything.  

If you want to hear more of my views on this subject, you’ll want to listen to this podcast interview below:

YouTube video

10. Social Media is Half Science Half Art: I Can Teach You the Science But You Need to be the Artist.

After I published Maximize Your Social, there was one critical book review that  said that the book was almost like a “Cliffs Notes” of social media marketing.  That’s when it hit me that the concepts and tactics that I covered in my book were very much what I refer to as the “science” of social media marketing, based on best practices gained from my professional social media experience.  That being said, there is an extremely creative side to social media which is similar to that of being an artist: The need to engage with people. That other half of the equation is the challenging yet fascinating and exciting part of working in the field of social media! Cost-effective marketing, from email marketing to posting on social, fully engages with both the scientific and artistic aspects of social media marketing by engaging creative people and creating a compelling story for the business and its marketing efforts. 

"Social Media is Half Science Half Art: I Can Teach You the Science But You Need to be the Artist." ~ @NealSchaffer #quotes #socialmedia #socialmediaquotes
A divine honey soy latte at Kean Coffee in Tustin, California. Latte Art is the closest analogy to the concept embodied by the quote that I could find.

11. Social Media is One Grand Experiment. We Never Know How We Will Perform Until We Try.

I’ve already referenced the importance of experimentation in social media. Here’s another way of looking at it: You have a “family” consisting of your social media followers. What call to action will they respond to? How will your images perform on Instagram? On Snapchat? On Pinterest? In your email marketing campaigns? We simply won’t know until we try, and this is why experimenting in social media is so important. Only through experimentation with different marketing ideas and creating a compelling story for your sites and platforms can you truly Maximize Your Social.

"Social Media is One Grand Experiment. We Never Know How We Will Perform Until We Try." ~ @NealSchaffer #quotes #socialmedia #socialmediaquotes
Holiday cookies I baked for a year-end party. Cooking is a great analogy to the fact that you never know what wonderful flavors you can cook up until you try!

12. Social Media Isn’t Rocket Science; It’s Muscle Memory

I usually show an image of an elephant balancing itself on a ball when I introduce this concept in my presentations after showing the varying tasks that a social media professional does on a daily basis. A workflow for a social media professional can look like someone trying to keep a dozen plates spinning simultaneously. However, once one gets accustomed to the various tasks in social media, it really is something that anyone can be taught to do. That’s why I call it muscle memory: the more you do it, the better you become at it as a marketing strategist.

"Social Media Isn
My Tom Seaver Rawlings baseball glove that I have been using ever since I was a kid and still take when I go to Dodger Stadium with my children.

My friend Robert Caruso agrees with me that social media isn’t rocket science ;-)

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13. Social Media Wasn’t Made for Business, It Was Made for People. Businesses Will Always be at a Disadvantage Engaging in Social

More than five years ago, when I introduced the concept of Windmill Networking in the broader concept of social media marketing, I said,

because social media revolves around social networking sites, businesses really do need to understand the social aspects of how users use these sites in order to adapt and be successful in business

Taking that concept one step further, we can safely say that social media was made for people, not businesses or even business strategies. When businesses operate in social media, they are on the turf of social media users. Understanding that disadvantage that businesses have, from making it difficult to engage at a human level to what some would call being discriminated against in Facebook’s Edgerank, is essential to being successful in social media marketing. Social media is not the place for mass marketing efforts, but is instead where your marketing method must learn to adapt and move with the times.

"Social Media Wasn
This picture is a great reminder of the people who are central to social media. These are the organizers of #ConnectOC, a grass-roots group of social media users who put on multiple networking events in Orange County, California to build awareness and raise money for nonprofits. Pictured in the middle is me ;-) … as well as contributor Debbie Miller!

14. The Challenge for Every Business is That Everyone Sees and Uses Social Media from a Different Perspective

This is a lead-in to the quote that follows, but no two social media users are alike and a marketing company must realize that social media needs to target many different users. Even users of a specific social network in one country will differ in how they use that given site compared to users in another country. This is another challenge for businesses, in that how can you speak to such a wide variety of people at once and engage them all equally and effectively?

"The Challenge for Every Business is That Everyone Sees and Uses Social Media from a Different Perspective" ~ @NealSchaffer #quotes #socialmedia #socialmediaquotes
Image: Mount Fuji in the winter as seen from inside a Shinkansen bullet train. In Japan, Facebook has become the social networking site for professionals and thus the “LinkedIn of Japan.”

Hopefully this social media quote requires no explanation. By the way, I read this quote in the blogosphere a long time ago in 2009 or 2010, so I hope the author of said blog post will comment and take ownership ;-)

"There is No Cookie Cutter Approach to Social Media" ~ @NealSchaffer #quotes #socialmedia #socialmediaquotes
Actual cookies of social media icons given away to guests at the Genworth Canada booth I spoke at at the Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals (CAAMP) conference in Toronto.

16. Without a Social Media Strategy, You’re Posting in the Blind

When I talk about the PDCA cycle and social media strategy in my presentations, I talk about how most companies are really good at the “D” or doing part of social, but they never had a “P” or plan and thus don’t know what to “C” or check to know whether or not they are achieving their objectives. There can be no room for improvement either, because such a social media program was never aligned with business objectives in the first place. It’s as if the social media program existed in a blind silo – or the company was simply posting in the blind. From email marketing strategies to strategies generated to target current customers and potential customers, you must have a designated plan for your social media efforts.

"Without a Social Media Strategy, You
A staircase which leads to a walkway which leads to the ocean in Osaka, Japan. That sea is the huge unknown that will toss your boat around in unless you have a firm vision, map, and compass to lead you on your journey.

17. You’re NEVER Too Late to Get Started on Any Given Social Media Site

We have seen the rapid growth (and demise) of social audio like Clubhouse while TikTok has surpassed even our wildest of expectations. Some may be thinking they need to rush into every new social network, but my advice is quite the contrary. I’ll never forget joining Twitter in late 2008 thinking I was late to the party. The same for Facebook in early 2009. No, you’re never too late to join any of these social networking sites, although you always need to understand the unique characteristics that each community has and learn to leverage them.

Coming late to the party on a given social network may seem to be a huge disadvantage, but you can take the time to comb through authentic stories about what others have learned during their time on social media, and develop the tools and strategies needed to become an award-winning marketer. From taking a customer survey to learning more about what your audience wants to see, to engaging with your peers to learn how to best go about engaging, the mistake is not coming late to the party, but not showing up at all.

This is a picture of a scenic tunnel in the community I live in in Irvine, California. Just as in this picture, there IS light at the end of the social media tunnel for those just starting on the journey…

18. There is Nothing Social About Social Media Advertising

I go to social media marketing conferences where there are tons of talks about Facebook Ads and the like, but what is “social” about social media advertising? It’s Paid Media, pure and simple. Whether they realize it or not, your target audience is buying something because their favorite model or influencer wants them to–and that favorite model or influencer is being paid to encourage sales. Understand this, and make use of it in your social media presence. 

19. Influencer Marketing is About Investing in People, Not Advertising

A big difference between collaborating with influencers and simply paying them is that people are not programmable ad units. Sure, you can throw money at them as if they were ad units, but the long-term ROI of influencer marketing comes through the building of relationships with – and investing in – people. Your entire audience is looking for authentic connections, and a target audience will be better able to make those connections if you maintain long-term relationships with your influencers and they are able to take on an active participation role. 

20. Influencer Marketing Should be a Long-Term Relationship, Not a One-Night Stand

On a similar note to the previous quote, too many companies leverage influencers for one “campaign” and then forget about them. All of the time you invested in educating them about your brand and converting them into becoming a brand advocate have gone to waste–and your target audience will take notice that the influencer they came to know and trust is gone. Always take the long-term relationship-building approach to working with influencers for the best results and to convert the most active users to long-term customers of your brand.

So, what are you waiting for? Which social media authors, speakers, and bloggers’ quotes, or social media for business quotes listed above, have inspired YOU?

Hero photo by CJ Dayrit on Unsplash

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Neal Schaffer
Neal Schaffer

Neal Schaffer is a leading authority on helping businesses through their digital transformation of sales and marketing through consulting, training, and helping enterprises large and small develop and execute on social media marketing strategy, influencer marketing, and social selling initiatives. President of the social media agency PDCA Social, Neal also teaches digital media to executives at Rutgers University, the Irish Management Institute (Ireland), and the University of Jyvaskyla (Finland). Fluent in Japanese and Mandarin Chinese, Neal is a popular keynote speaker and has been invited to speak about digital media on four continents in a dozen countries. He is also the author of 3 books on social media, including Maximize Your Social (Wiley), and in late 2019 will publish his 4th book, The Business of Influence (HarperCollins), on educating the market on the why and how every business should leverage the potential of influencer marketing. Neal resides in Irvine, California but also frequently travels to Japan.

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  1. My favorite quote is: “Social media is 1/2 science, 1/2 art: I can teach you the science, but you need to be the artist.”

    Great post. Still relevant in 2022. shared with my Webtalk community.

  2. Hi Neel,

    sorry, but I couldn’t understand meaning of this proper “The Challenge for Every Business is That Everyone Sees and Uses Social Media from a Different Perspective”

    do you mean that use of social media become a problem for business.

    Social Media Wasn’t Made for Business, It Was Made for People. Businesses Will Always be at a Disadvantage Engaging in Social

    its mean that business always face problems due to social media.

    • Hi Paramjeet!

      “The Challenge for Every Business is That Everyone Sees and Uses Social Media from a Different Perspective” means that you need to put yourself in the shoes of a social media user and adapt to the way the use it, not the way you want to use it, to be most effective.

      “Social Media Wasn’t Made for Business, It Was Made for People. Businesses Will Always be at a Disadvantage Engaging in Social” means that it will be harder for businesses to make emotional attachments in social media than people. so businesses will need to work harder than people to make impact.

      Hope these explanations make sense!

  3. Hi Neal

    I wanted to ask on which page of your book I can find the quote “Social media will leave no Industrie untouched”?
    Would be very helpful.


  4. “Without further adieu?” That made sense to you? Mistakes like that really undermine your credibility.

    • Thank you so much for your feedback … that is an error I have been making for a long time … and I would have not even realized it if it weren’t for your comment! THANK YOU!

  5. Invaluable. I’m a SM coordinator for an art gallery/museum and it’s been a random, unpredictable trial and error situation for once 2006. This sets some clear directions and parameters. Printing and taking notes in the sidelines and applying these concepts to the plan I developed. Thank you!

    • You’re very welcome Heather! I have found little guidance myself and thus want to offer something as a reference to others. Hope it serves you well!

  6. The quote about knowing what NOT to do is probably the most important lesson in social media. It’s so obvious that companies need that advice given the number of stupid or insensitive tweets that show up. The 9/11 posts with people leveraging that day to sell stuff was just gruesome.

  7. Great post!

    My favorite is “Social Media Replaces Nothing – But Complements Everything”! So important.

  8. I love this Neal! All of quotes are perfect and as you know, true. This is bookmarked to refer to when I need a good quote to share :)

  9. Brilliant! I just pinned it to my ‘social media quotes’ board and I shared it on Twitter,too. What a wealth of information. :)

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