I am not a brand. I am a "Peter".

I have been a "Peter" since 1958. And online, since 1999.

I raise this because people say I have a "brand". No. I am Peter, and whatever I do is congruent with that, not with some image I want to create.

I tried to change my signature this past week to better reflect my "Peter". I realised most of my work has been serving people, rather than trying to get famous. The point of a "brand" is to get famous fast for folk to find you faster.

A brand is a fallacy, an illusion. People can have integrity. Companies cannot. A company's integrity, that brand it tries to build, depends on the behaviour of the leader. The person at the top drives how the people in the firm behave. It's the behaviour that reinforces the image it tries to create.

I bumped into this as I dug for answers to questions people ask me about Facebook or LinkedIn, or Instagram or 25 other different social media they hope will improve their social media reach.

I don't measure my social media reach. I measure my sales. It's an honest metric which tells me where I stand at any time. I understand this number. I don't understand the complicated jargon these social media mavens mutter.

I do know my social media reach has little to do with how much money I earn. If anything, it gets in the way, because I reach people I don't want to. Don't get me wrong. I like people. But I don't want to reach people who will never buy from me because they aren't my market.

Brand "Peter" doesn't want to take over the world. I want to add enough value to enough people to earn enough money to support my family.

During my research, I bumped into a page about the top 25 social media sites. You can read the first paragraph below. I didn't understand the passage. This after decades of writing, and reading a book every two days since I was four years old,

Whether you are a seasoned social media marketer, a marketer looking to venture into social media marketing, or a business owner looking to leverage on social media, it's helpful to know the most popular social media sites around. This will allow you to maximise your brand reach on social media, engage with the right people, and achieve your social media goals.

I did understand the phrase "social media goals". A better word might be "distraction".

If they'd ended the paragraph with something like "which will increase your sales by 28.3%", it might make sense.

Some years ago, I launched a course on small-business marketing. A previous client told me he did not need my course. He had hired a team to double the number of "likes" on his Facebook account within six months. Total cost was R15000 x 6 = R90000. That was 20 times more than my service cost for a year. It was real marketing he told me.

I contacted him after six months. I asked whether he had achieved his goal.

"Yes, they doubled my likes," he said. I asked how many extra sales came from this effort.

"No extra sales." Which often happens when you measure the wrong metrics.

I'm not saying that social media is a waste of time. I'm not saying you shouldn't do it. But, we small-business players should focus on one critical metric, "sales". Sales define our survival, our growth, and our future. We can't measure our "brand" is not measurable in a way which makes cents.

You are your brand. Act with integrity, and you will prosper as long as you're watching sales.

You don't need a logo. You don't need fancy offices. You don't need great artwork. Treat people who want to buy from you with the respect they deserve. Do the same to people who don't want to buy from you. It's more effective than any other approach.

I will up follow up next week, talking about where social media is useful. It's about marketing, not selling. Selling is as different from marketing as men are from women. Same species, different planets.

As Mrs Carruthers reminds me each time I look at her.

Warm regards

Peter