I was recently reading an article by a LinkedIn consultant who said that, when it’s necessary, he advises clients to close their LinkedIn accounts. And he said that he does so when the client has nothing to gain from LinkedIn or when the time spent on the account outweighs the benefit gained. When you think about it, this is good advice for all social media.

If your regular business is keeping you busy and doing well, why would you spend time on social media? If you’re on social media just because “it’s the thing to do” or because everyone else seems to be there, you probably shouldn’t be there. If you’re caught up in the “number of friends or likes” you have, you’re there for the wrong reason. You’re focused on the wrong metric. If you’re in business, the only metric that counts on social media is, sales. It doesn’t matter how many “friends” you have on social media if they’re not buying stuff from you.

All of this reminds me of a lesson I learned from the late Mike Yearwood. We were in New Orleans for an SGIA show (remember those?) and one night a group of us had just been seated in a small jazz bar on Bourbon Street after lining up outside for some time. It was packed. The place was dimly lit except for the spotlight on a small stage in one corner where three musicians were blasting out a jazz number. The waiters had to walk sideways like crabs to get between the crowded tables. I looked around and noticed that there was no ceiling, just bare beams and a network of ventilation ducts, pipes, and wires that had all been sprayed in black paint to somewhat disguise the mess. I pointed it out to Mike and said that if I owned the place I’d spend a few bucks putting in a decent ceiling. He said: “Look around. The place is packed in spite of the mess up there. Spending money on it wouldn’t bring in more business because there’s no room for it. It wouldn’t make sense.”

He was right of course. So, the question to ask yourself is whether the time you spend on social media brings in enough business to make sense.