Business December 25, 2018 Last updated December 24th, 2018 1,413 Reads share

4 Hard Truths About Social Media Marketing

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Do you want to radically boost your chances of social media marketing success by 538%? The answer is merely documenting your strategy. But you can only develop a good strategy if you know the hard truths about social media marketing. Not relying on imaginative fantasies of going viral overnight.

These 4 hard truths about social media marketing will help you chart a clear path to success.

1. You Need More Social Than Marketing

Do you know the formula for successful social media marketing?

Here it is:

This equation means the less marketing you do and the more social you become, the more successful your social media marketing will be. Two main reasons why this is so:

  • Social media is meant for engagement

Social media can’t exist without interaction. The moment you focus too much on marketing, you go against the whole point of having a social media platform. Even developers of the social media platform won’t want you around.

Social media isn’t something you can “turn on” and expect to start seeing an increase in revenue or conversions. It takes time and effort to build a successful social media presence; you need to have a thorough understanding of your target market, you need to carefully craft your messaging and time your posts adeptly, and on top of that, you need to be active consistently, engaging with your audience, sometimes for months or years, before you see a return on the investment. Chances are, you won’t break even your first month, both because it takes a long time to generate a significant following and because you’ll make lots of mistakes when you’re first starting out.

Let’s say one of your fellow business owners tells you they’re seeing a 500 percent ROI. That’s impressive, but where is it coming from? Are they measuring that based on the number of visitors they’re getting from social media? Based on an increase in sales that may or may not have come from the channel directly? To make things even more complicated,  data-ga-track=”ExternalLink:https://www.audiencebloom.com/the-ultimate-guide-to-measuring-and-analyzing-roi-on-your-content-marketing-campaign/”>are they calculating costs accurately, including the time of the full-time employees working on the campaign? In most cases, ROI is self-reported, so it’s hard to ensure you’re getting an accurate account.

I think it’s foolish to say that some industries can’t be successful on social media; almost any company has the potential to see a positive ROI using social media marketing. Yet, some industries are going to have an easier time than others. Those with strong visuals and interesting content topics or those that are mass-marketed to a demographic that uses social media heavily will almost always outperform a business with sparse demographics, or one in a typically “boring” industry.

Just one piece of viral content can quickly scale your social media presence from “amateur” to “professional,” but the science on viral content is fairly limited. Even if you have all the “right” ingredients in place, there’s still an element of luck to your success. A competing piece of content might see 10 times as many shares as yours just because it was timed differently, or because the right person happened to see it first.

These facts aren’t meant to discourage you from pursuing a social media marketing campaign, nor are they a criticism of the stats themselves. I’m a major proponent of social media marketing in my own right, and I stand by the idea that social media is still one of the best, most cost-efficient marketing strategies.

Not all marketers see a positive ROI.

Despite the fact that 77 percent of marketers are using at least one social media channel to market their business, only 48 percent of businesses claim to see any ROI whatsoever. There are many reasons for this discrepancy—most of which are accounted for in the following points.

These facts aren’t meant to discourage you from pursuing a social media marketing campaign, nor are they a criticism of the stats themselves. I’m a major proponent of social media marketing in my own right, and I stand by the idea that social media is still one of the best, most cost-efficient marketing strategies. But if you want to be successful, you need to set realistic expectations, and that means thoroughly understanding the nature and potential of the strategy before jumping in.

  1. Not all marketers see a positive ROI.
  2. It takes significant time and effort to be successful.
  3. The definition of a “return on investment” may vary.
  4. Social media ROI depends on other marketing channels.
  5. A positive ROI is getting harder to earn.
  6. Some industries are naturally better suited for social media marketing than others.
  7. Explosive growth requires a bit of luck.

   It takes significant time and effort to be successful.

Social media isn’t something you can “turn on” and expect to start seeing an increase in revenue or conversions. It takes time and effort to build a successful social media presence; you need to have a thorough understanding of your target market, you need to carefully craft your messaging and time your posts adeptly, and on top of that, you need to be active consistently, engaging with your audience, sometimes for months or years, before you see a return on the investment. Chances are, you won’t break even your first month, both because it takes a long time to generate a significant following and because you’ll make lots of mistakes when you’re first starting out.

These facts aren’t meant to discourage you from pursuing a social media marketing campaign, nor are they a criticism of the stats themselves. I’m a major proponent of social media marketing in my own right, and I stand by the idea that social media is still one of the best, most cost-efficient marketing strategies.

But if you want to be successful, you need to set realistic expectations, and that means thoroughly understanding the nature and potential of the strategy before jumping in.

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Anthony Bergs

Anthony Bergs

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