With endless talk about social media, any business owner could be forgiven for believing that social media is the be all and end all, the answer to all of their prayers. If that sounds like you, then now could be a good time to reassess the importance you are placing on social media activities.
Is it time for you to move the emphasis away from social media?
Every year myself and a group of family and friends go on a big mass camp-out to the lovely Shell Island in Wales. Each year I set up a Facebook Event and invite the usual suspects. After setting up this years event however, one of my younger sisters failed to respond. A couple of days later I sent her a text asking if she'd seen the event invite on Facebook. The response I got from her was 'No. I don't really use Facebook anymore; I don't see the point of it', and that got me thinking.
Putting all of your eggs in the social media basket
is now riskier than ever
The fact that someone could miss a Facebook event invite seemed alien to me and raised a number of questions. Doesn't she have a Facebook app on her phone that alerts her to new events and such like? Didn't she receive a notification email? Doesn't she log in frequently enough to have seen the invite on her Facebook page?
My sister, who is otherwise technically savvy and by all accounts, a hardware geek, might be in a minority in not actively using Facebook, but that doesn't mean there aren't a very sizeable number of people just like her, who either don't use Facebook, or indeed any social media at all or who very rarely use it.
When you take a look at recent social media user figures, for Facebook in particular, it becomes clear that the number of people actively using it is actually falling.
In March 2013 in the UK alone, 1.4 million Facebook users are reported to have failed to login during that month, a drop in it's active user base of 4.5%. This drop is not a one off however, over the last 9 months, Facebook has lost 2 million UK users (Guardian Technology 29th April 2013).
Bearing this in mind, focusing all of your attention on social media is a decidedly risky strategy. Not only will your communications fail to reach many of your potential customers, but depending on which social networks you are using, your audience could actually be shrinking.
The key to successful marketing relies on the marketing mix, and the promotional aspect should contain just that - a mix of activities carried out via a mix of channels.
Rethinking your marketing strategy, what you need to consider
- Social media 'noise' is at an all time high, your customers will be actively having to filter out this noise, deciding what they choose to pay attention to.
- Facebook EdgeRank plays an important role in determining who actually see's the content you are posting on Facebook - it is variously estimated that only 10%-15% of your Facebook fans will actually even have your posts appear in their timeline at all.
- Although a lot of people use social media, Facebook 'active' users have been consistently dropping over the last 9 months.
- Use analytics tools to find out what social media networks and activities work and actually drive good quality website traffic and assist conversions.
- Remember, some people just don't use social media on a daily basis and may log in only once every few days or weeks.
- Some people don't use social media at all, a narrow focus of your communications means you may be seriously limiting the reach of your communications and failing to reach potential new customers.
- Don't ignore other highly effective activities like email marketing.
- Don't assume that you are reaching all or even the vast majority of your target audience with your social media activities. Members of your target audience still exist outside of the social sphere.
Don't forget about all of those equally valuable customers who don't use social media.
Social media is here to stay, but is by no means the only way to get your message out and attract new customers. It is fair to say that social media is in a league of it's own when it comes to building relationships, but a multi-channel approach is far more likely to achieve positive, sustainable results.