I know I’m not the only one to come up with this oh-so-clever headline. But I think it’s true.
Social media is dead—at least for small businesses. Whoa, what? But not without a caveat…social media is alive and well. I’ll explain in a minute.
I finally found some evidence of what I’ve long suspected…that marketing budgets spent on social media is a waste.
According to a recent study by Monetate, just 1.55% of web traffic comes from social media (31.43% comes from search engines).
And the conversion rates are even more depressing. It’s less than three quarters of one percent—0.71% to be exact. Compare that to email, with a 3.19% conversion rates, and search, at 1.95%.
One touch isn’t going to cut it.
So on one hand, if I were a small business owner, I’d probably look at these statistics and throw in the towel on social media. And I’d probably be right. I do believe, if you’re a small business owner (or any business owner really), that money spent on social media marketing could be better spent elsewhere.
The problem with investing in social media, is that you may or may not see a return for your dollar. But even if you did, it’d be almost impossible to measure.
This is because of the “seven touches of marketing” principle.
Basically, it takes an average of seven touches, or interactions, before someone takes action to purchase from a brand.
For example, say you bought some advertising on Twitter. Bob sees it (first touch), and goes about his day. Later on he talks to Jill, who recently used your services and recommends you (second touch). That night, while surfing the web, Bob comes across your website (third touch), and so on.
Eventually Bob might call you, and you ask, “So how did you hear about us?” to which he replies, “I saw your website.” He completely forgets or doesn’t realize he first saw you on Twitter. So was that ad you bought a waste? You tell me. It didn’t lead to an outright conversion. But it did factor into one of the marketing touches that got them to you.
Don’t follow the lemming stampede
Obviously social media is important, but maybe not as important as marketers make it out to be. It does factor into consumer’s buying decisions, but is in no way, shape, or form the Holy Grail of marketing.
I know Twitter keeps bugging me to throw money at their advertising. I know my husband is considering buying some ads on Facebook. But spending money on advertising is not the same as spending time on social media. I’d argue that one is a complete waste of resources. The other one, when done right, can be a boon to business.
This is where the “long live social media” part comes in. Most businesses would benefit from being active on social media. But not for the reasons they think.
I’ve found a lot of my own clients want to hop on Twitter, LinkedIn, Tumblr, you name it, just because they think they should. Or their competition is doing it. But just because everyone else is doing something doesn’t mean you have to, too.
The problem is, my clients never stop to ask themselves what they want to get out of social media. Or even if the channel is appropriate for their business.
They think that if they advertise on Facebook, they’ll get instant leads or customers. It doesn’t work that way. Or they believe that Twitter would be the best platform to use, when really it should be Pinterest. So they throw thousands of dollars into social media advertising, or the wrong social media, and most never see any results.
Repeat after me: You’re doing it wrong.
Social media is just that: social. People are on there to communicate, to share, to relate. Companies are notoriously bad at doing all three.
No one wants to be friends with a giant faceless, impersonal corporation. No one wants an endless stream of self-promotion in his or her feed. I’m sorry, but people don’t care about your business. All they care about is what’s in it for them. The sooner you embrace this, the better off you’ll be and your social media efforts will not go unnoticed.
Social media is a great tool if you want to bolster your brand, create awareness, establish authority, and build a following.
It may or may not lead to actual sales, which is why that shouldn’t be your top priority. Instead, look at social media as a brand-building tool. If you do that, and have an attitude of connecting with people and sharing, instead of selling g, your brand will be a hit. And social media, for you, will be long lived.
What about you?
How do you feel about social media marketing? Are you on it? Do you have any success stories?