What was the result? The majority of social media campaigns are disasters. I only know of a fraction of companies that continue with any seriousness on social media compared to the rates companies did with traditional advertising or even SEO and non-social digital ads.
You see it in the positioning. celebcrunch When digital marketers talk about social media, they discuss it regarding “reach,” “exposure,” “presence,” “awareness.” That’s code word for “throw your money away.” Do an online search of the effectiveness of social media, and you will find the results filled with SEO and social media marketers praising the platforms and the strategies.
Real marketers talk about ROI. Impact on sales, and impact on lead generation. You can’t pay the rent on brand awareness. I’m saying this as someone who builds brands for a living.
And it’s not just me saying this. One of the largest brands in the world, Proctor & Gamble, gutted their ad budget and walked away from a host of agencies because of digital advertising and marketing fraud.
Social sharing has been automated to death:
According to Buzzsumo, average social shares per article had declined by 50 percent in 2017 in comparison to 2015. Their data also shows how fast most hot topics become saturated with articles, leading to only a relatively few winners getting the majority of the societal shares and hyperlinks.
Another found that, that bots automate nearly two-thirds -66%- of all HTML links posted on Twitter.
Again, if social media platforms truly valued their user-experience and cared about social being social, they would have banned such practices years ago. No more social automation. If you want to engage with your fans and followers, you have to be there for them. You have to be live, online, ready to connect.
However, bots are good for business. They boost their daily active user accounts; they make their platforms look more popular than they are. Bots post content, bots like content, bots share content, bots follow people, bots message people -it’s endless.
Bots account for an ungodly 52% of internet traffic in 2017. That number is only set to rise further as social media continues to be an arms race. Caught in the middle of all of this are businesses who think their digital marketing metrics have any meaning.
Your Influencer isn’t that influential.
I’m a firm believer in influencer marketing because I believe it is a natural extension of relationship marketing. People will buy from people they trust and will accept the suggestions of people they like.
However, with the growth of online influencers, things have taken a turn for the surreal.
First off, many fans and followers of social media influencers are as fake as anything. Social media bots follow celebrities as a means to spam their pages and/or a means to scrape a list of people to spam later with content.
Secondly, as marketers and advertisers, we are supposed to care about accuracy. But the ability to verify the fan base of an influencer is almost impossible within the platforms. You have to go to third-party apps to try and get any real understanding of the legitimacy. Moreover, even then, you are at the mercy of the third-party to provide you with accurate data. Should Instagram decide to shut down the API to these applications, you will have no idea how popular your influencer is.
The future of social media: live, direct, and transparent.
The way to solve the social media problem we’re facing today is simple: social media was great when it was social and personal. A return to the basics is needed.
No more automation
If you don’t have the time or the energy or the interest actually to ENGAGE with human beings, then social media is not for you. What’s more, you’re not for social media.
Automation should stop. Period. Let’s return to a more natural engagement between brands, companies, customers and leads. Human interaction is the most powerful driver of revenue and sales, as is the best metric for the real value of a platform.
See and be seen
The use of live video to establish authenticity in an age where everything is anonymous will be a dominant driver of change in the next five years. Instead of hiding behind memes, and curated content, companies should leverage influencers and their employees to champion their brands. Reconnect with the basics: one-to-one or one-to-many communications.
The revolt of investors
I genuinely believe that the majority of social media firms have fudged the books when it comes to their userbase, activity, and popularity. It’s time for investors to demand third-party audits of the data before the entire house of card falls on people’s heads.
Look, I’m a marketing consultant. I enjoy using social media. It allows me to stay in touch with the people and the brands I care about most in the world. But at the heart of it is a flaw -a glitch in the Matrix- that needs to be sorted out.
There’s a bubble out there, and social media firms that allow for fake profiles and anonymous users are at the heart of it.