In our last article, we talked about how you can (and should!) market to your ideal customers with social media. I’m not a fan of the term “social media marketing” for a variety of reasons, but it’s something that all businesses need to do, no matter how small or big they are.

Unfortunately, social media isn’t the panacea that we all seek. It’s not the big answer to getting hordes of new customers: “If only we’d get 10,000 new followers on Twitter or Facebook our sales funnel would be full.” It just doesn’t work like that. So even though social media marketing is something all business owners need to engage in, we need to set some realistic expectations about it.

Three Reasons Social Media Sucks as a Marketing Medium

Poor Engagement

Social media is called “social media” because it’s social. People are there because they want to talk with their friends, comment, and “like” things. It takes essentially no effort to like a page, so their commitment to your business is extremely low. Most of the platforms are free, so there is no skin in the game. Furthermore, with hundreds of images, cat videos, and other items in their feed vying for their attention, your post is just one among many. If your post doesn’t stand out for some reason, it just gets buried in all the noise.

We’ve seen that click-through-rate, or the percentage of people who click over to a page from social media, is extremely low. So maybe you have 1000 or even 10,000 followers on your page, the CTR is going to be very low. You can track this in Google Analytics to be sure. Twitter has the worst CTR of all of them (see below).

Oh and let’s not forget about the links too. By posting on social media, aren’t you building links back to your website, and links are good, right? Well, yes, sort of. However all links from social media have a “nofollow” tag on them, basically telling Google to ignore them. So from a link building perspective, they’re worthless.

Filtered Feeds

Just because you have 1000 followers on Facebook, doesn’t mean that when you post your great blog post, offer or video, that 1000 people will see it. Facebook actually only doles out your post to about 1% of your fans, or in this case 10 people (if you have 1000 followers). Yup, just a few people will see it. If someone likes it, comments or shares it, then it will be shown on a few more people’s feeds.

Why? The simple answer is that Facebook wants you to pay to promote your posts. For the rest of the social media sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, I’m not sure that they do that, but especially on Twitter, your post only “lives” a short while (see below!). On Twitter, the more people who RT (retweet) your posts, the longer your posts live.

Short Lifespan

On Twitter, my guess is that an actual tweet only “lives” for about 15 seconds before it disappears into oblivion. There is so much noise going on with everyone tweeting their stuff, that it just doesn’t live very long before it gets drowned in the next wave of tweets. If people retweet your post, then they will bounce around for a while, but not very long.

Moz did a study of “When is My Tweet’s Prime of Life?” a couple years ago, and it shows that tweets “lived” about 18 minutes before they disappeared and stopped being retweeted.

On other platforms, your stuff “lives” for a while, maybe a day or so, but then it stops showing up on people’s feeds pretty quickly too. People quickly tire of things and it just goes stale.

The bottom line? The more you post on social media, the more likely you’ll be seen and clicked on.

In our next article, we’ll talk about why social media is an amazing platform to post your stuff.

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