In Business, Social Media Marketing

Social Media Marketing

“Social media marketing is a must!”  This is what we hear all the time in our industry.  Far too much in our opinion.  It’s not that we don’t think social media marketing is not a viable marketing strategy, it is.  However, we believe it’s a marketing strategy that is best handled in house and not by an agency.  This is our opinion and people can feel free to disagree with us nevertheless I wanted to write this article to share my opinion as to why we don’t think social media marketing is a must.

Does Social Make Sense For B2B?

When talking with both prospective and existing clients they struggle with how to make social media marketing work for them.  When they are looking for help with their overall digital marketing strategy most companies out there are pushing hard for them to invest in social media but deep down they can’t seem to make the marketing connection between their business and their customers.  Yet, here are these marketing people pushing them and trying to convince them that if they aren’t social they’re missing out and if gaining followers is the holy grail of the online marketing world.

So they end up paying hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars a month to promote themselves on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest while their social media marketing firms show them how “engaged” and how much “reach” they achieved with their posts, meanwhile it seems as though they aren’t really generating any more leads.

Now, I’m not saying that this strategy doesn’t work but the reality is most small and mid sized companies have limited budgets for marketing and limited time to allocate to these activities.  If “engaged” and “reach” isn’t generating new business then it’s not a good strategy if you have limited resources.

Consider the accompanying graphic.  35% of consumers in Canada turn to a search engine to help them make the right purchase whereas only 3% depend on social media.  So many companies concerned with an online marketing focus primarily on social but neglect the importance of website and web presence.

Are The Metrics Trustworthy?

Here is one big issue we have with social media marketing, especially on Facebook.  The campaign metrics, which we as marketing people depend on, are constantly being changed due to errors in how they are calculated.  In the past year, Facebook has had to apologize to marketers for no less than 10 major errors that have often inflated metrics to make them look much larger than they really were, often to the detriment of the paid advertiser and in favor of Facebook.

We happen to agree with Professor Scott Galloway at L2 Inc, that when mistakes are constantly in your favor they aren’t mistakes, they are lies.

The Carousel Of Mistakes

September 2016 – Inflated Video Views

For over two years, Facebook overestimated the average time users spent watching video on Facebook.  Facebook’s numbers were as high as 80 percent off.

November 2016 – Organic Traffic Miscalculation

Facebook was counting users multiple times while they viewed organic posts. Facebook also counted users before the organic posts appeared on their screens.

November 2016 – Video Ad Completion Rate Error

Facebook was showing that video ads were watched to 100% completion.  This error lasted about 28 days.

November 2016 – Inflated Instant Articles Visit Metrics

Facebook had trouble properly calculating how much time users were spending on Instant Articles per visit, which led the platform to overestimate average time spent by about 7 percent.

November 2016 – Overestimated Referral Traffic

Rather than only measuring how often Facebook users were driven to an advertiser’s own properties, Facebook also counted clicks that were driven to the advertiser’s Facebook page.

December 2016 – Inflated Likes & Shares

Facebook miscalculated how often users reacted to Live videos and how often users liked and shared links posted on Facebook.

December 2016 – Miscalculated Likes For Live Videos

Users were only supposed to be counted once whenever they engaged with a video, but people who responded with multiple likes to shared videos were counted multiple times.

December 2016 – Undercut iPhone Traffic For Instant Articles

From September 20th to November 30th, Facebook was shortchanging iPhone sessions for Instant Articles publishers who had not yet moved to HTTPS protocol.

May 2017 – Mistakenly Billed Advertisers For Video Clicks

A bug caused Facebook to miscalculate how often users clicked through its carousel ads.

People Ask Google

So, if you’re a business with a limited budget and resources you typically need to go to the bottom of the potential sales funnel. That is the people who are most likely in need of your product or service now. Search engines, such as Google, are where people go to find what they need right now and will ask Google those buying questions such as:

Where can I buy camping equipment in Calgary? or How much do cleaning services cost in Calgary? or Locksmiths near me.

By going after these key words you have a better chance of getting sales and bookings than you would by promoting a post on Facebook simply because you’re getting in front of that person in their exact time of need.

80%
of consumers used a search engine when looking for information about local businesses.
64%
of smartphone shoppers turn to mobile search for ideas about what to buy before heading into stores.
83%
of Canadian smartphone users turn to a search engine when looking for a local business on mobile.
17%
of consumers used a social network when looking for information about local businesses.

Social Media Marketing – Why We Don’t Do It

Again, we’re not saying that social media marketing doesn’t have its place because it does.  Social media is good for promoting brand awareness and filling the top of the sales funnel with interest, however for small businesses that need to generate leads and sales now, the path to conversion is not as immediate as it is by targeting search.

Second, social media is a great tool for having conversations with customers that want to talk with someone about your brand or seek assistance or support directly from the company.  In this case, we feel that the best spokespeople for your brand are your own people, not a marketing agency.

Finally, we think that a good social media strategy can compliment a good digital marketing strategy, however, with limited resources and budget we believe companies can get a much higher return on their ad spend by investing in search as opposed to social media.

In fact, the best social media platform to get the best bang for your social media marketing budget might be YouTube.

Photo by Alex Holyoake on Unsplash
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