Is it 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. Just how effective is it though.
Here are a few of my own findings and candid opinions regarding the state of SMM with regards to small businesses that have 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 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". The other main goal is growing the number of their members or 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 data to advertisers and resellers. This free use paradigm helped small business a while back before the sites became congested with low quality and spammy content that now buries the dwindling number of quality and genuine posts.
Due to this rising flood of posted content, in order to arrest peoples attention users are forced to come up with ever new gimmicky ways to click bait you into viewing their content. For this reason many of the genuine and integral businesses no longer bother as they know that the bloated number of likes, views and followers (vanity metrics) are essentially 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 to. After all how many regurgitated "5 ways to do this" and "6 ways to achieve that" articles does one need to read. On top of this Google's latest algorithm penalizes duplicate or regurgitated content, see what they are looking for in this article Google Webmaster Central Blog.
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 though. 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 businesses are outsources their digital marketing to Social Media Management professionals, then once again exactly who is it that is viewing your costly content? 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 targeted 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 well curated and administered and the garbage content is filtered out. 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 2 weeks later when you return and with no signs of engagement. Think about the late Google+ Groups or Communities as they were called, the majority have very little real activity. Google's recent decision to close down their public Google Plus service confirms this take on things. I administer 80 plus Facebook Groups in which I spend countless hours filtering out fake users and spammy or scammy posts. The real engagement and value in these groups is definitely on the decline unless they are actively curated.
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 quickly deleted, and the visits and views your posts and content receive are from real business owners - quality over quantity. Our goal is to provide a promotional 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, solopreneur or a small business owner you appreciate this vision, please join and share our service with like-minded individuals you know. Small business is the back-bone of our community, let's support one another in a sane and responsible way without having to default to the time consuming and wasteful habit of perpetual posting in the hope that someone notices before it is quickly buried out of sight.
View our Entrepreneur Articles on our vision to build up local small business.
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Regards, Justin Grounds.
Founder & Admin