You Get What You Pay For: Why Social Media Isn’t A Strategy

​Too often, we find businesses that have drank the “social media is all we need” Kool-Aid. They’ve gone to seminar after seminar. They’ve listened to Chamber members tell them they need to be active on Facebook. And yet, they’ve done everything they think they’re supposed to do, and nothing’s bringing in the revenue.

Does this sound familiar?

Everyone’s talking about social media’s importance, but no one seems to know what they’re talking about.

More than 60% of small business owners can’t prove a return on their social media activity – yet half of them will dedicate increased time and money to social media instead of cutting back.

Our question is – WHY?

We understand the power of social media. We built Insilico on our last $100 – investing in business cards, a web server, and our email addresses. And in just over 3 months, we had 8 clients. We built a business that brought in over 60 clients within the first 2 years, and had the opportunity to bring on eleven talented individuals to represent our brand.

However, we coupled our social media marketing with search engine marketing, email marketing, and good old fashioned guerilla marketing tactics, including sales calls.

Companies that are relying on social media because it’s “free” are missing the point of social media. Social media should compliment your advertising strategy. It is not a strategy. It’s not a standalone medium to advertise.

Small businesses have flocked to social media because it’s free. Who doesn’t love to cut costs, right? But what they’ve forgotten is that social media is free, and you’ll get what you pay for (or don’t pay for).

Social media’s increasingly making it harder for brands to be successful. Even if Facebook didn’t continually make changes to their algorithm to “keep it social on social media”, local Mid-Ohio Valley small business owners forget one important battle they are fighting: social media hoarding.

Think about how long Facebook has been around:
2004 for colleges and universities, 2005 for high schools, 2006 to anyone over 13 with a valid email address.

Since then, users have began a digital hoarding pattern.
Friend hoarding – who doesn’t love seeing how many “friends” they have on social media? So much so, that Facebook had to limit “friends” to 5,000. And many people have at least 1,000 “friends” on this social platform. Though Facebook says the average number of friends (across all users – worldwide) is 338, that’s still a lot of friend status updates to compete against, as a small business!

“Like” hoarding – users accept requests from anyone who sends an invite to “like” a page. Facebook users “like” an average of 70 pages. That’s a lot of pages to compete against.

Think about all of the activities people can be exposed to on Facebook:

  • Updates from friends
  • Updates from people they’re not friends with, but “follow”
  • Updates from brands they “like”
  • Updates from brands they “follow”
  • Updates from the groups they’ve joined
  • Updates from the groups they’ve been added to
  • Updates from events they’re “going” to
  • Updates from events they may go to
  • Updates from events they’ve been to
  • Notifications of people who have interacted with them

Additional statistics that may open your eyes:

  • 49% of users like a Facebook page to support a brand they like
  • 40% of users don’t like any brand pages – meaning paid adverts are the only way to reach them
  • Average time spent per Facebook visit is 20 minutes. What this means for you: You could have a short time period to make your impression, so use it wisely with relevant, interesting and unique posts and offers in order to get the most return on your efforts.

To be successful in today’s oversaturated social media-reliant world – you’re going to have to use social media the way it’s meant to be used: to socialize with your potential customers.

You can’t rely on social media as a standalone marketing strategy.

by Nicole Sheridan