Basics of digital marketing - Social Media is crap
Social Media Marketing has absolutely no relevance to Marketing. All social networks are built by programmers who have no idea about the concepts of marketing. The phrase “social media marketing” came up when a few geniuses figured it was an easy way to con companies. Show the marketing guys a few numbers to get more money out of them. Do you use social network advertising as the core for your digital marketing strategy? It is a mistake. Social networks are no longer what they used to be. Before, social networks were essential, they had to rely on generic traffic to grow. Not anymore. Now, it is just a financial pit and a waste of time for very small businesses.
Just a few years ago, there wasn’t a business that did not have social media accounts. Beyond being a powerful showcase, social networks were a significant source of traffic and allowed to generate leads (most of them were crap too), and even win customers. But that was before.
There has always been targeting and retargeting, add cookies in your cache and basically your social network knows more about your spouse than you. They sell this information access to advertisers. If social networks allowed you to “target” all “your followers”, they wouldn’t have food to eat. Ethics aside, they need the money. You do not get to convey any message to “all your followers”, unless you pay the network.
Another angle, the person looking at his network feed, pays 0. S/he uses it for their amusement. Most have stopped caring about their data. They click on random links, send random messages because it is free! And, if anything is free, people assume that it is meant to be abused.
Just look at the numbers
Ten years ago, social networks used to assist a small business client, to attract between 1,300 and 1,500 visitors each month. At the time, social networks needed users; they had to justify their idiotic valuations. Today, social networks only bring the same client, a maximum of 100 visitors every month.
Social networks are therefore not what they used to be. At least the way you use them, but we'll get to that.
Some brands, big brands, make the decision to shut down their social networks. Should you do the same? And above all, how can you modernize your digital marketing strategy to generate a real return on investment?
On social networks, reach is no longer available. Put simply, reach is the influence of your publications.
There is one important thing to remember on social media. There is only a minority of your fans or subscribers - depending on social networks - who sees your posts.
A client has 5,000 fans on their Facebook page. On average, only 500 people see their daily posts. Another client has around 12,000 followers on Twitter. Tweets are seen "only" by 1,000 people. And it's getting worse and worse.
Reach decreases with algorithm updates on social networks. The reason is simple. Programmers can’t build marketing tools. The “Social Media Platforms”, are optimized algorithms that have to be manipulated, to achieve desired results.
All social networks have similar features, like the sign up, 2 factor authentications, groups and then some differences as in Facebook pages, twitter lists, Google plus groups (which did really bad; forcing people to segregate their friends into groups, ultimately killing it).
Social networks favor content that allows them to keep users on their platform as long as possible. If your posts link to your website, then they are not interesting for social networks.
There is only one case, in which these posts are of interest to social media: if you pay them.
On social media, you have to pay to win
As we have just seen, algorithms on social media mean that even our own fans or followers do not see our posts. Especially when these refer to external content. Your website in this case.
If you want to attract visitors and generate leads with social media, I do think you know and maybe you have even tried it before, you have to run Ads campaigns. Facebook Ads, LinkedIn Ads, Twitter Ads, xyz ads.
In itself, this is not a problem. The possibilities of targeting, by all types of criteria does make Ads on all social networks much more interesting, that is if you have worked well on your “creating your campaign”.
Where it is problematic is that more and more companies are using Ads on social networks. The competition is increasingly fierce. What are the consequences to that?
Acquisition costs - visitors, leads or customers - are exploding. Not only is it becoming more and more difficult to attract the attention of an increasingly solicited buyer, but the investment represented by Ads on social networks is exploding.
If we summarize:
- Being visible on social networks for free is impossible.
- You have to spend on Ads to reach your target audience.
- The costs of acquiring audience through Ads, increases.
- Competition makes it always more difficult to attract and retain the attention of the buyer.
All of this contributes to the lower return on investment of social networks. And this is the reason why some companies have decided to shut down their social media accounts.
Few “famous” people, like the top 10 most followed people, of any major social media website should probably be earning a few millions for every advertiser sponsored post. The advertiser will see a huge spike in sales, for the duration of the feature, and then it’s back to normal sales. And, the advertiser normally ends up making a loss, as they overspent by paying for a post.
Marketing to become famous should not be encouraged, compared with marketing your skill, and then “being” famous. When you market, to become famous, you are basically just buying advertising space, for a very short while.
You can buy anything, but customer loyalty. This should be the definition of Marketing. Irrespective of it being social or not. People will always buy the same rice, coffee, chocolate, etc. because they like it or are familiar with it. You can’t get that out of one or multiple post with a celebrity!
What you may be able to achieve is, to get the customer to “try” your product/ service. The customer will always revert back. The only way to get the customer to switch is by, traditional methods of marketing, which is a sustained effort in conveying the message that you, as a company, stand by your product. The best example for this is the Amul butter weekly cartoon.
Disney’s cartoons are so damn good, that their target market will spend 10$ for a 1$ shirt, just because it has their favorite character’s image!
Should you close your social networks?
The Lush case
Lush is a British cosmetics brand specializing in bath products. In early April, Lush announced on social networks the closure of his accounts.
It is a decision all the stronger as it is the social networks that have allowed the brand to develop. Lush has hundreds of thousands of fans and followers on social networks. But as the brand puts it: “It's getting harder and more tiring to fight against algorithms and we don't want to pay to appear in your news feed!". One thing is certain; this decision made people talk on social networks and gave the brand a great spotlight.
But was the game worth the candle? Has Lush completely quit social media? Well, no, and she is very skilled, lush has stopped overspending on social media.
Like Lush, stop overspending on your social networks but don't use them alongside with your website, to drive traffic and generate leads for marketing your business. Social media has really evolved into a farce, where nothing makes sense anymore. Social media platforms keep changing algorithms, without having the interest of users at heart. It is now a pure business setup, where you overspend, without your ads being directed to your potential customers.
And that is indeed the key. To communicate well on social networks today, you have to focus on engagement. To engage your community, you have to interact with it.
Next to that, Lush announces that the company's social media accounts will disappear but that there will remain employee accounts. Much more human communication.
Finally, Lush will continue to conduct Influencer Marketing campaigns. Influencers will talk about Lush on social media. The brand will therefore gain in objectivity and therefore in performance.
Close your social networks or review your digital marketing strategy
Creating and managing a business page on social media is no longer enough to generate leads and win customers.
Faced with that, you have 2 options: either you close your accounts, like Lush or you adapt your strategy to bring more value to your target.
Lush can afford to shut down its social networks: it is a brand with a strong reputation.
If you are an SME, even more in B2B, this decision could negatively impact the return on investment of your digital marketing strategy. For a business like yours, all acquisition levers are good to exploit. But not just any old way, you must stop spending on social media ads and only use your social media accounts as a connector between your audience and your website.
The challenge for your business today is to review your social media strategy to adapt to focusing on having a decent website for your business, and using your social media link to send traffic to your website, while meeting the expectations of the modern buyer.
Never change your social media strategy, overnight. It makes no sense, but you must stop spending on advertising on social media, as it is absolutely a waste of time.
There will always be a section of people who like/ prefer the present strategy/ posts of the customer. Let’s say you post 1 weekly meme for a client about his sector, about any particular topic. It will definitely have some sort of traction which will go a long way in getting your audience to your website, without you having to spend on social media advertising.
People assume that social is fickle and users will gravitate to the latest trend. This is not true, for everybody. You can check the daily Twitter trends, majority of the users create noise around trending topics, to get more followers, that’s it. No value added to the network.
Here are some more reasons while social media is a big NO for your business growth:
Social Media Marketing is time consuming
While social media is a great way to promote your business, you need to be as committed as possible. This is a time-consuming process and requires constant work. Otherwise, there will be no results.
The days when people followed a brand without a second thought are long gone. Building fans is much more difficult today, and if your goal is to build a strong and recognizable brand, be patient and work hard.
The amount of work to be done is enormous. Content creation, post preparation and scheduling take a lot of time, but getting it right is important. If you work, but at random, without a clear strategy, then even a daily 6-hour run on social network will not help you achieve the desired result.
Experience is needed
Social media marketing has gotten really hard, so it takes experience to create working ad campaigns. Of course, you can set up and run everything yourself, but you will not attract “enough” people. In addition, you need to know how to properly interact with your audience and regularly monitor trends on your social media channels.
ROI is difficult to calculate
Do you know what ROI is? Do you know how to define it? 89% of digital marketers have a hard time calculating an accurate ROI on social media. At the same time, 37% can give a more accurate answer, 35% say they are not sure of the correctness of their calculations, and 28% do not know at all how to measure the level of profitability.
Most importantly: Social Media Marketing is laborious and a lengthy process. Generically, it will be months before any measurable results begin to appear.
When it comes to maintaining your social media presence, always remember to never change dramatically. It never works. Tweak what you are doing. You won’t lose existing followers. This is a major advantage when comparing building yourself as brand/company vs managing a client/ company.
The absolute best example of never changing your strategy is that, you/ your client will absolutely miss out on gems like this; (http://bit.ly/2X4wg9e).
We do have a YouTube channel; evidhya, where we have listed how to create/ manage different social media accounts. The only use of social at the moment appears to be to share your website links in every post, in an effort to get a few extra visitors to your website.
Learn how to game social media (It is after all only code). One post a day, check data for when you get the most engagement and post at the same time every day, upload as much content as possible on your 1 post, follow back, videos longer than 8 minutes, etc.