Does This Study Mean Social Media is a Waste of Time?

When my client sent me this Venture Beat article yesterday and asked me to comment, initially I hit the panic button.

Study shows 99% of organic social posts create almost no engagement?

August 19, 2014 
Stewart Rogers, VB Insight

The horror! It’s hard enough as it is for me to dispel limiting beliefs executives may have about social media, now I have to refute the data? But as we dive a bit deeper here, the study does reveal some good news for social. Here’s a recap of the discussion:

1. Companies that deploy a ‘long tail’ social media strategy yield positive results

“Businesses should not jump to the conclusion that social media marketing isn’t working, however. As with marketing to the “long tail,” businesses that do moderately well with social posts could get great results, and companies should not be put off by the findings, says SocialFlow CEO Jim Anderson.”

Thoughts: I would like to take this a step further. It’s more than just long-tail strategy, it’s about aligning your social media practice with your over all business goals. Are you angling for positive brand awareness, good press, more product sales – or all of the latter? Base your social media practice on how it can help to deliver these goals. At Recommind (my client), we keep our eye on the end game while fueling our social media engine with regular industry blog posts, news from trusted sources, product Webinars, rich media content, and so on. It’s important to remember that winning customers over on social media is a marathon, not a sprint. Think of using social media as an Inbound Marketing, CRM, or Customer Service platform for your business.

2. In order to be heard above the noise repeat posting can be a good practice

Guy Kawasaki does this on a regular basis and he has a massive social media following.

Thoughts: I think this is a judgement call. At Recommind we sometimes repost older content, such as a high quality video, but only if the topic is still relevant. Remember, content that is valuable to your audience WILL get you noticed.

3. To schedule or not to schedule posts?

Again, my advice is to just use your own judgement. At Recommind, each post gets it’s own unique phrasing depending upon the social media community to which we publish. That said, we may compose the language of a Tweet the night before, then use our Hootsuite scheduler to send the Tweet to make the East Coast morning desk—and we have found this to be a very successful practice. Word of advice when posting: KNOW YOUR COMMUNITY (aka audience) and create your posts accordingly.

Concluding Thoughts: This article doesn’t mention advertising—it only points to organic posts. But if you really want your posts to get noticed, I suggest spending some money promoting it. At Recommind, we’ve had a lot of success using Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook advertising products. We’ve seen the benefits where engagement was more than 3% (vs. the typical 1%), attracted new relevant fans, and have had significant interactions (@mentions, RT’s, Likes, etc).

The bottom line with all of this is that if companies want to have meaningful social media engagement, they need to INVEST in that office. How?

  • Hire experienced social media marketing staff
  • Create great content such as an industry blog
  • Produce visually attention grabbing creative (graphic design)
  • Advertise
  • Operate from a strategic social media plan!

Want to learn more? Ask me how I can be of help.