Why Social Media Marketing Does Not Work
By Randy Gage in Critical Thinking, Success.
A few weeks ago I did a Tele-Seminar on growing your business in the digital world for SpeakerNet News. Rebecca Morgan who was interviewing me asked about social media and if I really get business from it. Instinctively I started recounting examples of business I received including a million dollar consulting contract that came about from a relationship on Twitter.
But after it was over, I realized I had given the wrong answer…
If I would have thought about it more, I would have said, I get MOST of my business from social media. Because that’s just the truth.
I don’t have a sales team or marketers. I made a decision years ago to create a lifestyle business I could work with a laptop from under a palm tree anywhere in the world. I have my trusted long-time assistant Lornette, but she doesn’t do marketing. She manages the logistics of me working around the globe. I’ve never made a cold call in my life and have no desire to start now. Most speakers bureaus don’t get me, so the amount of biz from them is negligible. My business is about 80 percent online and the driver for it is social media. (BTW, in a conversation with Jeffrey Hayzlett that I had about two weeks ago, he shared with me that he gets the vast majority of his business through social media marketing as well.)
If you listen to the interview with Rebecca, she was unconvinced. She related how so many people she has interviewed have told her that they have never gotten ANY business from social media. That’s probably true. Of course some of those people are the same ones that if you invited them to an orgy, and they’d complain about the guacamole dip. They have convinced themselves that social media is a time waster that doesn’t produce revenue, so that is exactly what is true for them.
Here’s why social media doesn’t work for them: Because they don’t work it.
They hired a “social media consultant/strategist/expert/guru/ninja/Jedi/maven” who set up a Linkedin account, built them a Facebook page, created a Twitter wrap, set up a Pinterest board, and then automated a heavy rotation of corny motivation quotes to go out every 60 minutes, interspersed with product pitches in between.
“Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t–you’re right.” ― Henry Ford
Know what? The first time I heard that, I thought it was brilliant. But that was 1976. Al Gore hadn’t even invented the Internet yet! I’ve seen that quote mangled, attributed to the wrong person and plagiarized so many times since then, it’s lost it’s luster.
Making matters worse, they probably use an aggregator service, so each post goes to every account at the same time. This means the Twitter one gets cut off, the LinkedIn one gets flagged for Spam, and the Facebook algorithm keeps it from showing up in your followers timeline because it’s obviously not a personal entry.
If your expert/guru/ninja/Jedi/maven advised you that the secret to social media success was posting motivational quotes on a service that posts them simultaneous across all your accounts – fire them.
Likewise if they suggested that randomly following 2,000 people a day to see who follows back makes you a social media pro. Actually just makes you a social media whore.
Social media works. But you have to work it.
Let me give you an example of what just happened yesterday. One of the prosperity things I do is get fresh flower arrangements delivered to my home each week. Unfortunately the florist I’ve been using for five years was just sold and they’ve gotten sketchy. So I did what I always do – put out a post on Twitter looking for a referral.
Within ten minutes I got a reply from @InSouthFlorida, one of many services springing up to help businesses capture local business through social media. They asked @TriasFlowers if they delivered to the beach. They obviously follow their Twitter account and responded to me with their phone number and the names of two of their designers. I called and spoke to Hortenzia who was very helpful and friendly. They delivered my flowers and they’re gorgeous! I have a new florist now.
Here’s the thing…
I get a large arrangement for my dining room. A smaller one for the bathroom. Another one for the coffee table. And one for my bedroom. Every week. This amounts to thousands of dollars in sales a year for Tria, simply because they were monitoring their Twitter feed.
This kind of thing is happening thousands of times a day, every day, in cities and towns all over the world. If it isn’t happening for you, instead of proclaiming that social media doesn’t work, you might be better served to learn how to work it.
Here are four suggestions to make your social media work for you…
1) Provide value. If the only time you post is when you are selling something, people quickly tune you out. I post five blogs a week, a YouTube video and about 15 or 20 Facebook updates with content to help people. They’re all free. But once you become a trusted source with free content, people naturally check out your other offerings and will spend money with you.
2) Engage. Join the conversation. Re-tweet and repost interesting things that you notice and think your own followers will appreciate. Don’t be afraid to show your personal side. If you’re watching the Super bowl, Oscars or the World Cup, open a dialogue with your followers. They’ll be delighted that you’re actually there and to get to know you a little. People buy things from people they know, like, and trust. Instead of broadcasting AT people, try talking WITH them.
3) Pick Where You Want to Plant Your Flag. No one can keep up with all the social media platforms out there. Pick the one or two you like best and concentrate on them. Let your tribe know where you spend your time. If you post a YouTube video once a week or once a month, tell them. If you just check Facebook first thing in the morning and then not the rest of the day, put that right in your profile. As you let people know when and where you hang out, they follow you there.
4) Monitor your brand. Set up Hootsuite or Tweetdeck with a column that tracks whenever you or your business is mentioned. You’ll know when good things are happening and when bad things are happening.
When good things are happening, you’ll know and can do more of them. You can thank people for talking you up, developing rapport with your tribe.
When bad things are coming up, you’ll be instantly aware of them and can immediately get to work to rectify them. If you’re proactive like this, you’ll actually turn people who were dissatisfied and going to leave you, into some of your biggest advocates.
Social media marketing works. But you have to be social, you have to work, and you have to market. That’s kinds where the name come from!
P.S. Since I’m feeling so much better after all this ranting, let me offer some extra value for you.
To learn more about getting the most from Twitter, read the manifesto I wrote a few years back. Some of the links have changed, but the principles haven’t. See it here: http://www.randygage.com/blog/the-11-deadly-sins-of-twitter/
If you want to listen to the Tele-Seminar I did on Growing Biz in a Digital World, order it here: http://www.speakernetnews.com/tsem/ts20130204.html
Tags: Facebook, LinkedIn, marketing, marleting, Pinterest, social media, Social Media Marketing, Success, Twitter, YouTube
Thank you very much,Randy, for delivering such valuable information in such a simple easy to digest way! I am new to social media, and also instinctively doing many things from your list. How? I put myself in my readers shoes. What people need? how can I help them? what best can I give them? And I don't like automated responder as well. And it seems ridiculous to buy followers as many suggest. We relate, communicate through social media, not trying to impress ourselves with fake numbers. OK, and market our good products having in mind people's needs. And being there-on FB,Twitter etc. is a must. It's mostly about value, money comes as a result of your right social behavior, and hard work.
Great information. My wife and I are fairly new to the whole Social Marketing and it is nice to get some straight forward info from someone that is having success. Thanks for your effort. Ron & Stephanie
Hi Randy, Our mutual friend Eileen emailed me the link to your article and I'm so glad she did. This is an excellent explanation of why social media is important and how to make it work. It echoes my own experience, which I stumbled upon intuitively. It's great to see it laid out so clearly. Anyone thinking of entering the world of social media should read this first and save themselves a lot of time and money.
I basically need to state I am fresh fish to blogging and destination-fabricating and actually adoreed your blog. Likely I’m prone to bookmark your locale . You doubtlessly have unbelievable writings. Respects for uncovering your blog.
@braigetori Social Media Marketing can be confusing, but this is one of the best systems I have ever seen http://t.co/vfdtdLwy
@Calculated_Ind. Ty! Loved the article.Glad you did too. Randy Gage hit the nail square on the head with that one
@lpmikov Social Media Marketing can be confusing, but this is one of the best systems I have ever seen http://t.co/vfdtdLwy
Great posting as always. We live in a society where there is so much information shared these days. The key to social media is making sure that the information you post and share is relevant and timely to your audience. Like everything it is not about the volume of followers , it is about the quality. Your example about the florist is excellent. It demonstrates that the florist was listening and monitoring. In the real world, lots of businesses still fail to do this.
@MarvenReyes Social Media Marketing can be confusing, but this is one of the best systems I have ever seen http://t.co/vfdtdLwy
@habloespanol This is by far one of the most successful Social Media Marketing processes I've ever seen, have a look http://t.co/axR3Hv6G
@JeffNeace Social Media Marketing can be confusing, but this is one of the best systems I have ever seen http://t.co/vfdtdLwy
More information is created and stored every week then the sum of all the information ever created by mankind. really. Big Data and Social Business intelligence, takes the invisible conversations and sentiment and makes it VISIBLE. It is like being Psychic. This is the biggest thing since the printing press.
We are social beings, the need to communicate and connect is almost inherent to our being. Social Media (*Big Data) enables conversations in a human manner. As Technology evolves we regress into natural human behavior. Technology is the enabler of business not its purpose, all to often we get focused on the bells and whistles and shiny things... and forget its purpose is to enable human action. ALL my business comes from the Social Web = the Web is Social, Synaptic and mobile. We no longer log on or connect we are always on. Our conversations become permanent - indexed- archived- and there for future generations. @Randy_Gage you hit the nail on the head.
Awesome post Randy as usual! I actually disconnected my Twitter and FB totally forgot to do that. I like to keep them all separate. I hope more people take to this and recognize social media just connects people behind computers. That was the downfall of SpamSpace - I mean MySpace it was just so much garbage. I think as social media evolves it will evolve into an engament tool, and the others will just fall away.
@DinyvdB zeker leuk artikel. Ben er van overtuigd dat dit enige manier is om succesvol social media in te zetten.
You are right on target, Randy. Social Media is about engagement, not broadcasting. Your comments are right on target. As a expert/guru/ninja/Jedi/maven myself, I agree with you and commend you! Terry
@MilMissionsNtwk Have a look at this super effective Social Media Marketing process & let me know what u think, thanks http://t.co/Pb49Nl4E
Randy, your post came out at a right time! we've just had a conversation about new rules on fb, and one of my friends was complaining that it doesn't really work if you don't pay... But in fact - you have only to work it by increasing your value to the world. So thanks!!
You made a powerful impression on me a few years ago. I noted how your twitter posts were being tweeted without the handle, and you fixed it, noting that whenever I sent them out, you saw the handle. I then noted how I added it manually ;)
This showed: #1 - You listen, you remember, you observe, and you care. #2 - That you generate serious, serious business by working social media effectively, because anybody with a ridiculously large twitter following like yourself who remembers if individuals include handles on tweets, even when plug in was not doing it....well...this is a rarity, and demonstrates the attention to detail paid by wildly successful folks.
Social media is a tool. If you are social, and engage, and use people's names, there is no reason why you should not make millions or billions with the medium, because it is a telephone, or a meeting at Starbucks, or a meeting in a boardroom, or Skype, or email. Another channel through which humans communicate, share, connect.
Thanks for sharing!
How many people will actually follow the advice? Even knowing it is great advice, most people will not even bother to comment. But, they will be ready to say that your advice was not worth reading. :-(
I just awared a $34,000 construction project to a local guy who responded to one of my facebook posts. I was complaining that I had tried to reach a certain local construction company by email several times with no response. The guy who responded eventually got my project. Social media does work.
@KevinLeversee @Randy_Gage People call this the age of Social Media, the "Information Age", the phrase I've heard that describes or depicts this age; these "times", (I beleive) is The Age of Psychic Powers.. which are our "Prosperity Powers" my mind tells me.
These are exciting times! It's what RG's new book is all about!
@David Frey - MarketingBlogger.com being that its 2013 and the majority of all users are on some sort of social network, posts like this are many. What I think is next David, is your ability to track conversations by GPS Location, Income, sentiment, and related topics, reply automatically or be notified of leads to your mobile 24x7 from every source that is open on the Web. This is here now, and mostly free tools to enable. The know how - is priceless
@David Frey - MarketingBlogger.com Congratulations David :)