Social Networking is all the rage right now. If you’ve got a business, you’ve got to be on Facebook, right? And a Twitter account is a must-have, even if you don’t know how to use it, correct? Oh, and LinkedIn, gotta be there too… oh and Google Plus is growing like crazy… and, and…!
Actually: WRONG! For the most part, if you’re marketing on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, LinkedIn, etc, etc, you’re wasting your time and money.
Now you’re questioning my sanity and the soundness of wpXPRESS as a company that specializes in online marketing, right? Just hold-on, and hear me out. This article is all about why we don’t suggest social media very often to our clients, and also to help convince you that you’re wasting your time and money on your business’ Facebook page and other forms of social networking marketing. If you enjoy wasting time and money, you can stop reading now.
Social Media Is Wasting Your Time & Money
Oh good, you’re one of the smart ones. Here’s the deal: study after study keeps revealing the same results, that people don’t engage companies on Facebook or other social media outlets. And it’s not just studies either, individual companies go on Facebook, do a big marketing push, look at the results, and pull-back, because they’re getting so little response and results from their efforts and money.
The Hype is Just Hype, Ignore It
Most of the problem is that there’s a lot of hype around social networking marketing. “Everybody knows you have to market on Facebook” is just common knowledge, right? Well common knowledge is often wrong.
In this case (and in much of business), all that matters are the numbers. If you invest 20 hours in Facebook marketing, and you get 1 sale out of it, with a profit of $100 on that sale, you’ve just paid yourself $5/hr. That’s a horrible return. If you invest $1000 in SEO (Search Engine Optimization), spend only 2hrs working with our SEO guys, and sell 50 products at a profit of $100, you just made $4000, or paid yourself $2000/hr. That’s exactly what’s happening. You can make money by marketing on Facebook, Twitter, etc. But for most small businesses, the return on investment (ROI) of time or money is horrible. You’re far more likely to loose time and money, than to grow your business in any significant way.
Let’s look at one example, so you can see what’s happening with the hype, and why so many people have bought into it. Along the right side of this article is a very nice infographic about Facebook from Smart Boy Designs. It makes some really awesome points, right?
- Facebook is the largest publisher of ad impressions!
- Business owners are going to spend lots of money on Facebook and social media campaigns this year!
- 27% engagement if you get in your user’s newsfeed!
- Exposure will surpass the actual reach of your Facebook fans!
Sounds pretty spectacular, right? But think about it:
- It doesn’t matter if Facebook displays more ads to more people, if nobody clicks them (they don’t). And, if you’re not paying for their ads, it means nothing to you.
- Who cares what other businesses are going to do!?! Don’t follow the herd if they’re headed off a cliff.
- 27% engagement doesn’t matter, because it’s not easy to get into a user’s newsfeed. And engagement is a far cry from sales.
- Exposure matters very little, what counts is conversions: people walking into your store, buying your product online, etc.
You Don’t Have to Take Our Word For It
Okay, so even though this kind of stuff is our specialty, maybe we’re wrong. I’ve been wrong before… once. And I’m pretty sure Kurt has been wrong 3 or 4 times… when he was a kid. Joking aside, you don’t have to take our word for it. Check out these articles:
- Jay Baer reviews and explains the statistics from a study that concludes that Americans hate social media promotions. Get it? They hate that your business is trying to get in on their Facebook experience.
- PC Magazine reviews a study that shows that even when people “like” your page, they still don’t engage. So if they don’t interact with your page, visit your store, buy your product, etc., what’s the point?
- Bloomberg tells us how lots of big brands like Gamestop, JC Penney, and Nordstrom, all closed their Facebook stores down. If people won’t buy directly on Facebook, what makes you think they’ll go from Facebook to your website or store, and buy? — added May 16, 2012
- Washington Post is now reporting that carmaker GM will stop advertising on Facebook because it’s “not effective enough.” If GM can throw hundreds of thousands (possibly millions) at it, and it’s still not effective, then for small business owners: “there’s nothing to see here!“
- NPR’s Planet Money helped a local pizza place with their Facebook advertising to see what they could do. They spent $240 in targeted ads, increased their Facebook followers by 200 people, but only made $10. Horrible ROI! — added May 30, 2012
- Search Engine Land has some great graphics and explanation of a recent report that shows both SEO and pay-per-click far outweigh social media when it comes to generating leads. Their graphic is below:
We know much of this was true from our own experience. And I’d like to publicly apologize to all my friends and family who had to put up with me promoting my business on Facebook when I first started full-time. Sorry all. That was that one time I was wrong about something.
Why All the Hype?
So if it’s not true, why does it seem to be almost common knowledge? It’s really quite simple: a lot of people like to jump on new things. They did that with social media. Many invested their time and money learning how to do social media marketing because they thought it was “the next big thing.” Now they want a return on their investment. But they can’t make any money, unless people believe it’s “the place to be.” If they told the real story, nobody would want to buy their services.
Everyone from individuals calling themselves “social media gurus”, all the way up to large companies like Facebook, stand to loose a lot of money if you know the truth. So, all this hype you hear may be true, but if you take a minute to look at what their claims really mean, you’ll see the story is very different. Social media marketing is a waste of your business’ resources.
Hopefully you’re convinced that you should stop wasting your time and/or money on social media marketing. However, you should know there are some exceptions to this rule. I can’t think of any, but I’ll let you know when I do….
Just kidding. Here’s the exceptions:
- Personalities: Authors, artists, athletes and other personalities are the main exception I know of. If you’re a book author (a couple of our clients are), or a music artist, or otherwise a personality where your fans need ways to connect with you, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc are great ways to connect with your fans. You can interact with them and build up a following that will respond when you ask them to. Why is this different than a business page or account? Because it’s more personal. People get on Facebook for the personal interaction. They don’t want to interact with a business, but they’ll interact with an author/artist/athlete that they love.
- YouTube: if you can afford to produce awesome videos that people will want to watch, this can be an extremely good ROI. But, you’ve got to produce extremely good content, that people will keep coming back for. Orabrush (watch their excellent “story of” video) and the Piano Guys are two very good examples of this. Both have gone from small and local to huge and national through very good YouTube content.
- Communicating: Facebook, and especially Twitter and Google+ can be excellent ways to communicate with your clients. Don’t try to sell new products, just pass on information to your clients. Speaking of, you should follow us on Facebook, or Twitter, or Google+ so that we can keep up to date on issues your site might have, if we’ve made updates to your site, etc.
We hope you find this useful, and that it will save you some time and money. If any of this ever changes, we’ll definitely let you know.