Let’s be honest about social media. It’s a great tool for people to talk to each other. Lawyers and police love it for the great trail of data it leaves when they are putting their cases together for prosecution. Marketers love it because its low or no cost. They think they are doing something when they use social media.
As a news outlet, it is not much better than the “telephone” game we used to play as a kid. As a marketing venue, it certainly does a good job of reaching the already converted and committed.
But social media’s marketing failure is much greater than its news failure. It diverts resources that could be used to help a business grow. It counts things that don’t matter at the risk of those that do.
Most of all, it violates one of the tenants of all marketing.
It doesn’t get attention.
Remember, attention, interest, desire, action? AIDA. The description of how people move through a marketing channel has changed little in the past 100 years. McKinney tried to “reinvent” the funnel by suggesting it was a “trigger” that began a marketing feedback loop.
Then again, while the entire world of ad agencies and the millions of “social media experts and agencies” subscribe to the idea “if you can’t count it, it doesn’t matter,” the economy continues to swoon. While the idea of counting is absolutely a correct idea, lets count what matters–like revenue and cash flow.
Businesses stop focusing on sales and revenue and focus on tweets and likes at their own peril. The fatal flaw of social media marketing is not the distraction it has become. A recent research study indicates 61% of small businesses have seen NO improvement in their sales from social media marketing.
The fatal flaw is the violation of the marketing paradigm. Social media, except in those cases where something “goes viral” doesn’t get attention. If I don’t know you exist, how do I know to look for you. Maybe my friends will tell me about it if you are that remarkable. Chances are they won’t. My friend Scott McKain has written a new book called Create Distinction that is a must read.
Mainstream media has an advantage in one crucial area–it interrupts and grabs attention. Without attention, getting someone to buy your product becomes an exceptionally difficult thing to do.
Much of what’s called social media marketing today is really content marketing by another name. If you “write it, produce it, create it,” they will come is just as much a fallacy today as it ever was.