Social Media Marketing services pop up like mushrooms after rain, and most companies count Tweets, Likes, Shares etc to prove you are benefiting from their work. However, for a local business, the value of these simple stats can be inflated. What really matters is your marketing goals. If it’s about brand awareness, by all means, go ahead and use social. If it’s for lead generation, for some industries it’s a waste of resources.
False Focus = Bad Business
To see how big social media marketing is, just Google it. You’ll find tens of thousands of service providers that promise you the moon and stars at a bargain price. Most of these budget-friendly “marketing gurus” will boast like this:
- We can get you X new Twitter followers in 3 months for X dollars
- We can get you X Facebook Likes each week for X dollars
- We will make X posts per week for X dollars etc.
While this is a great way to track Work Done, it is questionable if such simple growth measurements will have any business value for your business especially if you’re not offering some super-viral products/services that can be sold worldwide.
Why Simple Social Metrics Don’t Work?
Simple social metrics like number of new followers (i.e X dollars per follower), number of Likes (i.e X dollars per Like) and posts per week (i.e X dollars per social post) are difficult to justify from a Profitability perspective especially for local businesses like car repair shops, hair salons, restaurants, home improvement stores etc.
If you’re a custom furniture maker that targets an area of say 50 mile-radius around say LA, getting Likes from teenage kids from New Jersey will have a very little business impact for your business.
Here’s a classical example of a local car customization company from Canada (target market: Canadian, male, 45-60 age group, +$80.000 annual income) that has a social marketing guru who’s obviously doing spammy Facebook marketing tricks to inflate the Likes and followers:
This is a profile screenshot from a person from Lahore, Pakistan, who has over 13.000 subscribers! After a quick run-down through the subscribers’ list, I found that most of them are from Pakistan, predominantly male, and in the 18-24 age group. This demographic profile of Likers is diametrically opposite of the target audience of the Canadian car customizations shop.
This marketer is only one of the thousands of marketers that resort to sexually explicit pictures and language (censored on the screenshot, of course) to get the link go viral and generate thousands of Likes for their customer, in this case, a Canadian car customizations shop.
Here’s how this spammy marketing works: The spammer places a sexually explicit photo and Title of the Facebook post, and adds a link of the target client (in this case, a car customization shop from Canada). Young people who want to use Facebook for entertainment then sniff up this post with a sexually explicit photo and Like it.
This way, the Canadian client gets tons of Likes, but in reality, all of them are Likes to a sexually explicit photo that has nothing to do with car customizations in Canada, and most of the Lakers are diametrically opposite of the target audience for car customizations.
The bad thing is that this Canadian car customizations shop has 53.119 Likes and none of them are from potential clients. Moreover, since these Likes are from sexually explicit photos and post titles, the company is in danger of being eventually hit by a Facebook version of Panda or Penguin (these are codenames for Google ranking algorithm upgrades that severely reduced the ranking of sites that used similar, spammy techniques).
So, be careful with simple metrics like counts of Likes, Twitter followers or alike. You may be getting into a lot of trouble in the long run.
Count What Really Counts For Your Business
If your expectations from your social media campaign is to generate more leads, then your primary concern are metrics such as:
- Social Conversion Rate
- Cost per Social Client
- Social ROI
If your focus is raising the Brand Awareness, then you’ll want to see how your marketing dollars are creating local awareness by targeting people from your area, and moreover, people of the age group that your business is targeting.
Depending on the business you’re in and the target audience, you’ll want to choose what social media sites you want to play with. Here’s a quick run-down of who goes where on the social sphere:
The image above points out who goes where based on age. In our Canadian car shop example, one would think that since the 45-65 age group is about 40% of the Facebook population, that is where the marketing dollars should be focused. However, another study pointed out that 65% of all Facebook activity is connecting with friends (real ones, not digital) and family.
Also, yet another study report points out that people mostly use Facebook for self-presentation, not for finding reliable brands and service providers.
So, before you get excited about the power of Facebook and similar social media sites, think of your target audience, where they go and what they do with their social profiles.
The Bottom Line: Expectations
For small and mid-sized businesses, getting the expectations clear is the first step in planning for Social Media Marketing.
Brand awareness, Lead generation or both of them together?
Each business goal will demand a different approach, and a different social media site too. People that visit Facebook won’t be overly interested in a local services business. They’re mostly interested in showing themselves to the world.
Don’t forget, Social is just one way to bring people to your business. Depending on your line of work, social can be a waste of marketing money. If your client base is 45-65, don’t bother with social. Focus on other venues like Email Marketing and SEO… but don’t forget off-line marketing. Word of mouth is still the best way to get new clients.
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