It sounds obvious to spend your social budget to please valuable fans, doesn’t it? So why aren’t we doing so? It looks like we are shooting in the blind, meanwhile complaining that the ROI of social media is poor. Fortunately, it’s possible to learn who your valuable fans are and what they appreciate. Once you are aware of that, the magic begins. During infoShare 2014 (22-23 May) in Gdansk we will discuss this topic by sharing our concerns and experiences with today’s social media practices.
Abusing social media is too easy
The barrier for entry to social media is very low. You register your brand for several accounts and are ready to go. One of the main things brands start doing is gathering “fans”. Rewards are offered for liking them (which Facebook doesn’t allow!). Once they have built up a significant fan base, the fan bombarding starts.
Do you know what your audience would like to hear, what they are interested in? Or are you just using social media as another spam channel?
Is putting your foot in the door enough?
Many people have rather a negative opinion about Jehova’s Witnesses who will put their foot in the door before you can close it. They will do whatever it takes to spread their message. They try to be heard and express their beliefs. But honestly, aren’t marketers just doing the same thing?
Through all kind of marketing channels they confront us with their message. They want us to believe how great their products are.
I would just call this SPAM.
And things seem to be getting worse.
“Black Hat” social media techniques in the making
Tools and “agencies” are popping up to support spammy practices. They help brands grow their “fan base” in no time. Whether this is allowed or not, they don’t seem to care.
In fact we can conclude that “Black Hat” Search Engine Optimization (SEO) techniques to get higher search rankings in an unethical manner, have been copied to social media platforms.
People eagerly gather information about the users in an automated way. First of all you can question whether this is ethical, but for sure without user’s consent it’s not compliant with for example the Facebook TOS (terms of services). Secondly, this sort practices are short-sighted solutions to a long-term challenge, which is having a base of real fans, who support your product, buy it and share their experience.
To build a stable, loyal fan base, you will have to invest time and money. You will have to “talk” with people instead of having “machines” do the job.
Social visibility no longer for free
Let’s look at the reality. On Facebook it’s becoming hard to spread your message to your fans even though they like you. Facebook rules and decides to whom your message will be shown. In general less than 10% of your “fans” will have your content on their timeline. And this will get even worse when there is hardly any interaction on your page.
Because timelines are being flooded with (nonsense) updates it’s hard to stand out as well.
To be visible you will have to pay. Ads and sponsored posts are the means to become visible.
There is hope
There is hope, however. Social media brings the power back to the consumer. Through the Internet and social media they are able to exchange thoughts with like-minded people, human beings of flesh and blood. They will trust these opinions above the opinions of whatever expert.
And that could be the opportunity for the good marketers. Proper targeting, attractive content and engagement is way more sustainable than “SPAM”.
Earning on social media might be harder than it seemed
Now you probably understand why the ROI of your “like” gathering is so dramatically low. It’s hard to stand out. Although this might seem scary it’s at the same time an opportunity as well. If you understand your fans and you show that you know what they need, they will support you and become your ambassadors.
Content was King for SEO, for SMM (social media marketing) it’s engagement based on great content that counts. You will have to gain credibility through interaction with your fans. Better spend your money on doing that.
How? That’s what you will read in my next post or you can attend my presentation at infoShare tomorrow or our FanTuner workshop at infoShare on Friday. I invite you to follow my Twitter updates: @PetersOpinion.
It’s high time to make business personal again! Please share your thoughts below.
Special thanks to @kasiaszemro for sharpening both my thoughts and “pencil”.
Picture credits: iStockphoto.com