Unless you happen to be in the search engine optimization (SEO) or social marketing business, then you are probably wasting a lot of time on SEO and social…time that would be better spent on your business.

Are those gasps I hear from the audience? Was that heresy I just spoke? Yes, I said stop wasting time on SEO and social. Why? Because, for the most part, small businesses waste a lot of time on activities that bring little or no results, and they do so because they are told by marketing “gurus” that is the way to build their businesses.

Here is the truth — you build your business by building YOUR business. You don’t do it by building Google or Facebook’s business. Spending time on the things that matter to your customers will build your business; improving your working conditions will build your business; providing outstanding customer service and great products will build your business. SEO and social will not build your business.

I see so many small business owners attending conferences, hoping to discover the secret sauce for driving traffic to their website or increasing engagement on their Facebook page. They walk away with a few notes, but mostly they walk away disappointed. Why? Because none of the solutions fit their business.

The reason the generic solutions provided don’t fit the business you are in is because you aren’t in the digital marketing business, you are in whatever business you are in. If you had wanted to be a digital marketer that would be the business you would be in.

Now, I am not saying that you don’t need a website, or a Facebook presence or a Twitter account, nor am I saying that you don’t need to understand some aspects of using them effectively. What I am saying is that they shouldn’t be the focus of your marketing efforts.

More and more I see posts from fellow consultants telling small businesses how they will never survive without Facebook or Google Plus or Twitter or whatever the next social network is, and I am amazed, because at the end of the day these posts are not about giving great advice to small businesses they are about selling their consulting services.

You see when you read those posts that start to emphasize the importance of this platform or that platform, think about the perspective of the writer – what is in it for them? They are selling you their services. Google and Facebook don’t build platforms for people, they build platforms for advertisers; they aren’t charities they are businesses. So, of course, they want you to believe that without them your business won’t survive.

Don’t ignore your marketing, but don’t ignore your business either. Do what it is you do well, do it better than your competitors and you will be just fine — with or without SEO, Facebook or any of the other social networks.