Social Media Marketing is the most cost effective way to reach a targeted audience, however, recent data shows that a clear majority of small businesses aren't seeing positive return on investment (ROI), specifically from Facebook.
A study of over 4,700 US small businesses with fewer than 10 employees found that only 24% were seeing positive ROI. This makes me sad considering there's a wealth of information online that can help you piece together a social media marketing strategy that drives business results.
Here are a few common reasons small businesses don't see positive ROI from Facebook.
1. Lack of Strategy
The top reason brands fail to see results from their efforts on Facebook is a lack of strategy. This is true for both national brands and small businesses.
A social media strategy is NOT just posting pretty pictures. You need to identify your goal, decide which channels you want to use to achieve that goal, outline your content plan and allocate an advertising budget. These four points will come together into a solid basic strategy that you should measure and optimize.
With an overall strategy in mind, you have a beacon with which to align everything you do on social media.
2. Obsession with Tactics
A solid social media strategy will always beat flashy tactics.
Take Snapchat for example - Snapchat was all the rage and every brand both big and small was chomping at the bit to use it for marketing. However, Facebook and Instagram began integrating some of Snapchat's fun features, thus bringing that experience to their already huge user base. This is not a good sign for Snapchat as now there are fewer unique features to attract users.
The moral of the story is stick to your strategy and don't put too much faith in the tactics that can come and go very quickly. Many brands are obsessed with keeping up with what's new and shiny when they really should be focused on what works.
3. No Time Investment
One of the most surprising takeaways from the study is that 75% of small businesses are spending less than two hours a week on social media marketing. Here's the official breakdown.
How much time do you spend per week on Facebook marketing for your business?
- Less than 1 hour - 58%
- 1-2 hours - 16%
- 3-5 hours - 5%
- 6-10 hours - 5%
- 10+ hours a week - 10%
This data is insane. Would you get fit by spending 2 hours a week at the gym? Would you learn a new language by practicing 2 hours a week?
Even more surprising, most brands are posting content less than once a week.
How often do you publish new posts on your Facebook Page?
- Once daily - 9%
- 1-3 times per day - 7%
- More than 3 times per day - 6%
- A few times a week - 20%
- A few times a month - 58%
If you're going to post a few times per month, and spend two hours per week on social media, just go ahead and close your accounts. Having none would drive equal results for your business.
If you want any of the cost-effective benefits of social media marketing, invest the time.
4. No Advertising
A few years ago, you could use Facebook to reach thousands of people and drive solid website traffic. In 2017 having no advertising budget for social media can drastically hinder your results.
But you don't need to break the bank. As a social media agency, we've worked with brands that have allocated as little as $200 per month in Facebook Advertising spend and have been able to generate positive ROI. Not having advertising dollars isn't a deal breaker, however you need to set your own expectations that it's going to be a long hard road to positive return on investment without it.
If you're reading this and feel like these points resonate with you, it's time to get serious. We must treat social media marketing the same as any other marketing channel if we're going to see true business value.