You've seen it, right? You log onto Facebook to see what your friends are up to and the sponsored posts promising to teach you how your business can make seven-figures through social media marketing pop up. You see the ads and you wonder if social-media marketing is the missing piece of the puzzle to help your business grow?
First, I believe that social media can be a great way to get new leads for your business. You can't deny the opportunity when you see the billions of users on the various social media platforms.
However, social media marketing isn't what it used to be. The landscape is vastly changing. As tempting as those sponsored posts are, there are some things you need to be aware of before investing your time and money in social media marketing, especially as the main marketing effort for your business.
Social media marketing can help your business but don't buy into the belief that it's the most important part of your marketing efforts. Here are five reasons why social media marketing has become overrated.
1. The organic reach is pretty close to zero
Look at the two largest social media platforms, Facebook and Twitter. According to the Moz Blog, the average life span of a tweet is 18 minutes. Jeff Bullas, a leading social media expert, estimates the organic reach of Facebook is around 2.71 percent, or less.
More and more, we're seeing social media move to a "pay to reach" model. Many social media companies are now public. Getting your business to pay to reach your audience is how they generate profits for their shareholders.
2. Anyone can buy social media followers.
Most of us have probably gotten the tweets that promise thousands of Twitter followers for only $30. It's the same thing with Facebook and most of the other social media platforms. You can buy followers to inflate your numbers.
There is a video that went viral from Veritasium questioning the value of a Facebook like. The video makes a strong argument that paying Facebook to get more likes on your page is not worth the investment. The problem with buying followers is that you're not marketing to real people.
3. People are tired of being sold to on social media.
People log onto social media to see what their niece just did, catch up with friends, watch funny videos, and let friends know what's going on in their life. They realize they will get sold to on social media but there comes a point when it's too much.
A person who has "liked" your Facebook fan page has given you permission to tell them about what your business offers. If it's your personal page, they're not looking for a never-ending sales pitch.
4. Social media platforms are theirs, not yours.
New York Times best selling author Crystal Paine shared the story of a major set back to her business with Michael Hyatt in an article titled "Don't Build Your Social Media House on a Rented Platform."
She had built a huge social media following that she depended on for traffic and new leads. One Facebook algorithm change plummeted her organic reach to between 1 percent and 3 percent.
Someone following you on Facebook is Facebook's potential customer, not yours. Yes, they're following you, but Facebook has their name, email address, and controls what they see from you.
5. Email marketing still beats social media marketing any day of the week.
This is the main point that I hope you take away from this article. Email marketing is still the best way to reach your present and future customers. Social media provides a great, and mostly "free" way to reach people, but people still respond best to email.
In 2013, 3.6 billion people had email accounts, according to Jeff Bullas. It's estimated that by 2016, that number will increase to 4.3 billion people. While social media has huge numbers, so does email.
Social media friends and followers are limited by what these platforms allow them to see, but 100 percent of the people on your email list receive your emails. When you interact with the people on your website and email list, you have multiple opportunities to create life-long customers for your business.
Don't believe the hype. Always evaluate what's right for YOUR business.
How do you use social media marketing in your business?
This article was originally posted on Entrepreneur Magazine
Photo credit: Flickr/ mkhmarketing