Social Proof

Is Social Media Marketing A Waste of Time? I Think Not

Social ProofLast week I was reading a post on Mashable by Todd Wasserman, Let’s Face it: Most Social Media Marketing Is a Waste of Time. This isn’t the first post I’ve seen by an author that’s discouraged with social media and I’m certain it won’t be the last. So, is social media a waste of time? I’m not here to slam anyone; I just want to take a deeper look at the question.

I guess that would depend on our goals, how we gauge the results and how we are working it. Now, for the sake of this post, I’m referring to brands and blogs and not how much time our family members spend of Facebook.

Social Proof

Numbers MatterWe’ve been talking a lot about online reputation here on Hot Blog Tips and social influence is a HUGE part of that. Just like the controversial post about Scores And Ranking, social proof is an important part of branding because it matters to others. Is “Post A” better than “Post B” because it has 100 times more retweets? Of course not, but it does matter. Why? The definition of social proof alone answers that but as long as it matters to the masses, it counts. We can try to stand our ground and say,

I’m not giving into the social rhetoric… I dont care how many people tweet, like or +1 my posts, I know I’m a great blogger.

Well, that may be true and eventually that greatness may catch up with itself but wouldn’t it be so much easier with a social boost?

If your blog visitors see other visitors commenting and sharing in high numbers, you just gained a lot of credibility in many eyes. Whether it’s deserved or not, is really not the question. How much is your car worth? It’s worth as much as someone else is willing to pay. Whether it’€™s fair or not really doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things but nothing fake will continue long term so it’s our responsibility to earn the credit we are granted.

Google’s In The Game Now

The launch of Google Plus was a game changer – big time! As far as I’m concerned, given a choice between Facebook and Google Plus, I’m putting my money on G+ every time. I’ve already stated why in Google Plus Is More Powerful Than Facebook, but it has to do with both search and referral traffic, something you can’t get anywhere else, yet.

Traditional Business Thinking

It’s funny, as bloggers, we sometimes think as consumers and at other times we’re thinking like small business. The latter is fine but traditional business thinking is slow at grasping the true benefit of social media. I’m not referring to the mega-brands that have made their marks in Facebook and YouTube with huge multi-million dollar campaigns; I’m talking about the average small business we see everyday struggling to make an online presence work. Even many businesses online can’t think past traditional online marketing, e.g., CPM, PPC, or ROI.

Social media campaigns cannot be treated as a form of traditional advertising. To compare social media campaigns to mainstream advertising such as print ads, broadcast media, direct mail, billboards or tangible point-of-purchase advertising is a mistake. Social media is about engagement and interaction.

Tracking Social Media Is A Headache

Setting up a nice Adwords campaign is a beautiful thing for those that have mastered the process. I personally know a business owner that generates as much as $10 million a month in revenue with PPC campaigns. What does he love most about the process? The tracking! With the detailed analytics, he can make constant tweaks and adjustments that bring the absolute most from his investment.

So how do you convince a guy like that; that he should worry about social media? You don’t, you get out of his way and let him continue to excel. It would be great to watch a self-made pro like that master social media but the elusive nature of the social progress, the lack of detailed tracking, is a turnoff for many business owners. Would he enjoy the same results with social media marketing that he is with PPC? Absolutely not but how many of us have $50,000 a week to invest?

How do we know that the next door neighbor didn’t recommend a product because he/she seen an update/tweet/post on a social media site? Where are the stats for that? If Uncle Henry buys a new smartphone and brags endlessly on Facebook about it, how many in his social reach might decide to take a look at that same phone?

Online Sales And Social Media

In my opinion, it’s a mistake to try to “sell” in a social campaign. Just like email marketing, you’re not trying to make a sale on social media websites; you’€™re trying to funnel that qualified traffic to the sales page or website that will make the pitch.

So What Good Is Social Media?

What about website traffic? E-email lists? What about social proof? These are several benefits of social media that cannot always be determined by simple analytics because we don’t know how many people made purchases, will make a purchase in the future or will recommend that product, due to their experience on a social media site.

Social Media Marketing Is a Waste of Time? I couldn’t disagree more. Is MOST Social Media Marketing Is a Waste of Time?€“ Probably, but that’s because most businesses can’t think past traditional marketing while others are still in that “mass link dropping” mode.

Your Thoughts?

Are you struggling to see where social media fits into the grand scheme of blogging? Do you think it’s critical or optional? A waste of time? I’d love to know your thoughts. Your comments are always welcome here. 🙂

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