Social media is worthless

Social media is worthless. We hear this too often from individuals who don’t fully understand the digital space and from prospects with unrealistic expectations. One of our biggest challenges is to manage expectations clients and prospects have about what social media can do for them. The reality is that it’s difficult to establish any valuable connection in a 40 character world. As the social media space becomes more crowded it’s difficult to stand out.

We have these conversations often with new businesses and entrepreneurs. You would think it goes without saying but it still bears repeating; “Do your research.” Before you begin to invest heavily in any marketing campaign, search the landscape and find the leaders in the space. If there aren’t any, as we’ve mentioned before, that may not be because nobody thought about that idea before, but rather that the idea is not tenable. And if there are other people in that space how established are they? In other words did somebody else “get to the party first and is everybody already dancing?”

Social media works because that’s where virtually all of your audience is. But posting generic search engine optimized posts once, three times a week, or even daily is not enough to reach above the noise. In many cases posting every day for six months also will not be effective in generating widespread interest in your cause, product, or service. But that doesn’t make it worthless. In small markets with little or no competition we find that it takes 18-24 months for an organic only message to take hold. “Organic” equals posts only and no media spend. Understanding that Google and Facebook make their money from ads, it stands to reason that it will take longer to build buzz for your brand if you don’t spend any money with them. The algorithms are built that way.

Too many people, businesses, and groups have unreasonable expectations about what posting alone to social media will do for them. Like most everyone who’s started their own business and is now cash flow positive, the journey to profitability is fraught with unexpected detours, expenses, and challenges. And most of them know that they are not the only ones in the space. What’s separates them is that they have a unique sales proposition which they’ve been able to successfully communicate to their target audience.

The point is four things:

1. DO YOUR RESEARCH. We offer an affordable digital asset review to educate our clients about where they stand in the digital landscape, who are the leaders in the space, what makes them leaders and how much time and money we project it would cost to establish a significant foothold.

2. ORGANIC SOCIAL MEDIA IS ONE PIECE OF A LARGER DIGITAL MARKETING STRATEGY. Your website must be mobile, quick loading, easily navigable, optimized for search etc. Your social media networks need to be embedded on your website and updated daily. Yes daily. The content has to be optimized for search and it has to be compelling. That will lead to engagement which leads to conversions. Invest in paid digital ad campaigns with the right platforms for your message. Push your message directly to leading media outlets and the people who are already writing about your industry or cause.

3. BE REALISTIC ABOUT TIMELINES. You absolutely have to commit to digital marketing over the long term and for the life of your brand. SEO takes time and 18-24 months of social media posting alone is often not long enough to make a visible impact. Consider Amazon’s commitment to their model which is just now reaching profitability.

4. SOCIAL MEDIA IS WORTHLESS if your messaging does not connect with the right audience, if your targeting the wrong audience, or if you expect too much too soon.

For more information about digital asset reviews or digital marketing in general contact us.

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