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I was speaking with one of my clients earlier today and she mentioned that, while she saw the value and benefit of social media, there were times where it also felt icky. When I asked more about “icky”, it came out that this client was struggling with the “no-traction” factor of social networking.

What’s the “no-traction” factor? When you put content out into social media and it falls flat. Nobody dialogues with you. Nobody retweets or shares. Nobody seems to care.

And while that happens to all of us at times, it never feels good when it does. I wrote a book on overcoming rejection, and in researching that book, I found that social rejection creates the same sensation as physical pain. So, in essence, when we feel that our social networking efforts aren’t working, we feel rejected, experience pain, and that increases the huge ick factor.

The reality is that there are multiple ways to engage in social media, aside from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. While these sites are great for giving you immediate response and feedback- when they do- the silence can be deafening and embarrassing and horrible when they don’t.

You’ve just mentioned this blog post that you’re super proud of. Nobody responds. You mention that you’re being interviewed on the radio. Nobody cares. And so on.

There are three reasons for this. First, most of the people online are lurkers– they will never respond or dialogue. So your actual market of responders is lower than you think. Second, there is a lot of activity and a lot of fragmentation on the social networks, so people just may not be seeing your updates. Third, it may be that your content format can be tweaked or improved to generate more interest.

While all the social media experts almost constantly focus on the value of the original holy trinity of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and now of course Pinterest- the truth is that social media has room for everyone. So you’re not getting all that you want from the social networks. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you. It just means you might need another plan of action.

The problem with anything that feels icky is that you either won’t do it, or you’ll do it unhappily.

Actually, the better answer is to find other ways to harness social media- such as for traffic, search engine positioning, backlinks, and to build authority status. When you take a larger view of social media, you’ll find that the individual value of any one tweet or status update shifts drastically.

You start to look at the bigger picture of social media, and see it as a long-term sustainable traffic generation strategy, not some high school popularity contest that you keep on losing.