Maybe it is now time to seriously reconsider your Social Media Marketing strategy.
It goes without saying that Social Media Marketing plays an integral and growing role in marketing strategies today.
Here are a few of my own first-hand findings and candid opinions regarding the state of SMM with regards to small businesses that are on a shoestring or zero marketing budget. Frankly, without paid advertising, the ability to reach a quality and targeted audience is very challenging and time consuming, this I believe is for the reasons below.
The handful of giant social media sites that we are all so familiar with make it their primary goal to lock you into "their way of doing things" and to "keep you busy on their site". Their other main goal is growing the number of their members ⁄ users. They are definitely not interested in promoting you unless you pay for it. Fair enough, they provide a free platform for you to post on and they also do need to generate income for themselves by selling their users information to advertisers. This paradigm helped small business a while ago before the sites became congested with low quality and spammy posts that now bury the dwindling number of quality and genuine posts. Of course everyone thinks that their content is valuable and quality.
Due to the ever-rising flood of content posted, in order to arrest our attention people are forced to come up with new gimmicky ways to click bait you into viewing their posts. For this reason many of the genuine and useful businesses no longer bother as they know that the bloated number of likes, views and followers (vanity metrics as they are referred to) are basically meaningless. Even on professional sites like LinkedIn with hundreds of thousands of members in their business groups, the engagement level of those group posts are negligible and therefore almost pointless posting on. How many regurgitated "5 ways to do this" and "6 ways to achieve that" articles does an intelligent audience need?
Social Media Management has become a hot industry, and businesses feel they need to be in on the action for fear of losing out. Losing out on what? Auto posting services mean that your carefully designed and worded messages are posted by a bot at the recommended times when peek user engagement is anticipated. The logical conclusion is that if more and more business are outsources their social marketing to Social Media Management professionals, then once again exactly who is viewing your expensive to produce posts? I'd be interested to hear from any business who has had a good ROI from Social Media Management campaigns that they have run that did not use paid advertising.
Are you wasting your time and money? Most likely, at least for small businesses posting to business related groups and pages, unless those groups are administered well. Your time would be better spent simply visiting your target markets websites and engaging them there. This may appear to be a cynical take, but experience suggests it, why post to pages and groups where your post falls off the page almost immediately, or on the flip side your post is still there 3 weeks later when you return and with no signs of engagement. Think about Google+ Groups or Communities as they are now called, the majority have very little real activity. Google's recent decision to close down their Google Plus service confirms this take on things.
What is the solution then? Our solution is to keep it simple to network and promote, and where you are also personally promoted without being manipulated, blocked or patronized. This way, you don't have to constantly post to get noticed, porn, spam and scams are easily filtered out, and the visits and views your posts and content receive are from real people - quality over quantity! I must confess that only recently have I decided to reinforce this approach on our platform. My goal is to provide a free advertising and promotion platform where genuine and engaged entrepreneurs can network and benefit each other without all the noise and garbage that now chokes the bigger platforms.
If as an entrepreneur or a small business owner you appreciate this vision, please join and share our free service with like-minded individuals you know. Small business is the back-bone of our communities, let's support one another in a sane and responsible way without having to resort to time consuming and wasteful perpetual posting all over the place in the hope that someone somewhere just happens to notice us at just the right time.
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Regards, Justin Grounds.
Founder & Administrator