Social Media: Chasing Likes or Chasing Sales?
by Erin Harris and Peter Polgar, Intimatology
Social media has been receiving lots of negative press recently, regarding fake accounts, fake news, Cambridge Analytica and most recently a massive drop in Facebook’s valuation. Let’s discuss some key takeaways we have analyzed over the last few months:
Marketing agencies have done a great job convincing brands they need to be on social media. As early as 2008, the savviest of brands started appearing and capitalizing on social media platforms. Ever since, countless agencies have been born out of this social media movement and have helped brands create an online social presence by signing up on multiple social media platforms. Social media was a great way to gain free exposure and connect with your audience but are those same early strategies still in place today or has social media changed so much that those strategies don’t prove as fruitful as they once were?
Let’s examine the website traffic of two well-known brands using free online tools that compare the number of visitors from social media and organic search.
- June 2018 Website Traffic: 557,000
- Social Traffic: 40,400
- 24,200 of that came from Facebook
- 15,750 came from YouTube and Reddit
- Top Traffic Source: Organic Search
- Total Traffic: 300,800
Hanky Panky (Estimated)
- June 2018 Website Traffic: 96,000
- Social Traffic: 1,820
- 900 of that came from YouTube
- 700 came from Instagram and Facebook
- Top Traffic Source: Organic Search
- Total Traffic: 57,000
What does this tell us?
After analyzing hundreds of social media clients we’ve managed, we kept coming back to the same conclusions. We realized the focus was on popularity over profitability. Chasing “likes” and “comments” rather than focusing on sales had become the norm. Everyone believed success was building content that people engaged with, but did that engagement turn into sales? The answer: Yes, and no. Social media can be very effective at creating awareness, but does that really affect your bottom line? This data is measured indirectly and the metrics are largely speculative, but what we know with certainty is that social media channels do a great job keeping people on their own platform, not driving them to your website.
What can you do about it?
If you’re in business to grow and generate money, these facts should be making you consider how you divide your digital marketing budget/efforts. Consider how long it takes you to create your social media content calendar. If you’re not managing your own social media, how much does it cost you to have a social media team? Now, compare that effort to those activities that can be measured directly such as email marketing or digital advertising.
Here’s what Intimatology is doing about it:
We’ve stopped drinking the cool-aid and removed the rose-colored shades. Now that our perspective has shifted, we’re taking the time to analyze the data differently and ask all new questions. Some of the answers present huge opportunities, while others create a whole new series of challenges.
Intimatology is in the business to help our clients grow through digital marketing services. Why are we advising our clients to reduce their social media services? We’re in the business of creating value for our clients, that’s why.
After facing up to the truth, we repositioned our clients towards different marketing channels. Some of our best decisions were to focus more on search engine optimization (SEO), content marketing, paid advertising and marketing automation. A lot of the channels we started to expand on are not considered “sexy” marketing, but they are fundamental for building a strong foundation. It may appear basic or boring, ultimately, such marketing work has turned into profitable decisions all around. More importantly, the metrics are measurable and repeatable.
Are we giving up on social media all together?
Not at all. We’re just taking a step back, waiting and watching. We will continue to work with our clients on their accounts, but our focus has changed.
Let us leave you with this: take some time to analyze your social media data. Then, ask yourself if you could make better use of your time or budget by focusing on other marketing activities?
If the answer is yes, then you should start to build your brand on channels you own, rather than channels that are owned by the social media giants.