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This article is originally published on Democrat & Chronicle, a USA Today network
If I hear one more time a social media “expert” saying “It’s the engagement that matters. People just want to join the conversation”, I will vomit.
“Social media marketing” has become a buzzword. More businesses jump onto the bandwagon because they’re afraid of “missing out”.
But really, it rarely works, nor pays for itself.
An independent poll by Gallup suggested that social media has no effect at all on Americans’ purchasing decisions. According to the poll results, “Although many companies run aggressive marketing campaigns on social media, 62% in the U.S. say Facebook and Twitter, among other sites, do not have any influence on their decisions to purchase products.”
Enough said about social media’s influence on buying decisions.
I see businesses waste time and money on social media with little monetary results.
A Google AdWords experiment I had early this year got me great results, but even so I can’t say I know the ROI (Return on Investment).
After all, I didn’t know the Lifetime Customer Value, churn rate, or average transaction size for that experiment, how could I measure its ROI?
Unless you have a thing for image and brand focused advertising which is often divorced from factual measurement of ROI, you should be paranoid.
According to a USA Today report, 61% small business owners could NOT see any direct return on their investments in social media activity, yet 49% said they were increasing time and money on social media---and only 7% said they were cutting back on it.
Social media folks insisted the latter business owners were wrong and that they (those vested in social media) do get returns, but, they just don’t know what they are when they see them.
It’s like these folks are telling you that you shoveled down a 10-inch apple pie today but you’re just not smart enough to know it.
Another report from USA Today reported a 40% increase on social media campaigns by big retailers like Amazon, Sears and Walmart, but less than 1% of total online sales and traffic were driven by social media.
Of course, those trolls jumped out again “While it may be hard to track how this drives sales, but it’s better to have people talking about your business than not.”
Huh, so business owners went into their businesses because they don’t care about sales?
Unless you’re confident that you can pay your bills, your employee's’ salaries, your kid’s college, your mortgage with Facebook “likes”, with “people talking about your business”, with “engagement”, or with “awareness”, rather than cash, it’d be wise to think twice about how you measure social media marketing results.
If you must choose one of the two following situations, which one would you prefer?
Choice #1: Customer spends $50, but is not engaged, or
Choice #2: Customer spends $0, but is highly engaged
In God we trust, all others bring data.
---W. Edwards Deming