10 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing Sucks…

Written on November 20, 2007 – 2:35 pm | by Andy Beard |

…or more importantly, the way most people seem to be going about it, including me at times.


The Answer Is?

Social Media is currently being touted as the answer to life, the universe, and everything online, but there is a lot more to it than just hitching a ride.

Lets take a look at some of the things you need to think about before you even contemplate a social media marketing strategy.

  1. Undefined Goals vs Specific Goals

    I would regard the following as fairly undefined goals:-

    • I want more customers for my business
    • I want to launch this new product with a boom!
    • I want more people to read my blog
    • I need more links to rank higher

    With social media marketing, whilst many items are difficult to determine, if you start out without specific goals, you may well be wasting resources.

    Here are some ideas for more specific goals:-

    • My business is mainly local, thus I need to target regional specific venues, or vertical venues that might broaden my reach locally.
    • My product has a niche focus thus I will target venues frequented by media within my niche aimed at bringing in 20 media mentions in the first wave of my viral marketing campaign.
    • I want Danny Sullivan, Rand Fishkin, Barry Schwartz, Robert Scoble to subscribe to my blog – obviously I need to target people in my niche – specific linkerati and influencers.
  2. Aim for targets within your reach, thus if you don’t have a strong enough hook, don’t try to land a big fish.

  3. Random Activity vs Planned Method of Attack
  4. Whilst it is possible to become a bridge between online social circles and to target multiple niches simultaneously, it is certainly a lot more time consuming to do successfully.

    Defining a single core audience and becoming a thought leader in that single marketplace is ultimately a better long-term strategy than trying to become “all things to all men”.

  5. Random Stats vs Accountable Statistical Measures
  6. This one is a hard one to pin down – lots of aspects of social media are extremely difficult to track accurately, especially things like RSS Subscriptions or votes on social voting buttons.

    Try monitoring things like open rate in your feed stats, compared to number of comments and the number of links your receive on your blog. Surprisingly they do not always correlate.

    One of my most read posts in my RSS Feed on Andybeard.eu has but 2 comments – it is actually quite recent. Conversely my discussions relating to Google’s PageRank updates in October are poor performers in my RSS stats, but bring in a lot of links and traffic.

  7. Random Content vs Planned Content Strategy
  8. Plan your content strategy around your previously defined goals, not what is happening in the blogosphere. Look on discussions and events happening outside of your niches as opportunities if they are related to your goals, or can be leveraged.

  9. Random Encounters vs Optimized Role Management
  10. This is more on the corporate front. When you enter social media marketing channels, there will be a need for 2-way conversation – with customers and clients, members of the press and bloggers, raving fans and detractors in the public eye.
    A decision needs to be made on how you will react to different instances, preferably in advance with multiple options and a “plan B”. People do go on holiday, and things will not always go as you plan.

  11. Random Pathways vs Defined Traffic Funnel
  12. Again an enigma – traffic will be coming in from multiple sources and often they will have different preferences in how they can be treated whilst visiting your website.
    If you have ever done PPC advertising with multiple landing pages, think of how that can be applied to Social Media Marketing by offering a different landing page to traffic from different sources.

  13. Traffic vs Targeted Traffic
  14. Ultimately you are looking for people visiting your site who have some value, though that doesn’t necessarily mean direct financial value. A popular stumbler or digg user who likes your content but would not be looking to buy from you would be a good example, or possibly potential link partners in a similar niche.
    Even people visiting your site who ultimately just click away on some advertising are valuable, not just with PayPerClick advertising but things like site sponsorships. Bringing value to your site sponsors is also important in brand recognition and traffic.

  15. Topical Linking vs Strategic Linking
    • Link to a regular reader in your niche who doesn’t get much traffic
    • Link to someone in your niche who has never read your blog
    • Promote someone’s niche ranking list to get included
    • Included someone in your niche ranking list to get traffic
    • Link to like minded dofollow blogs because you get a link from their trackbacks
  16. Think out of the box with your linking

    Use tools such as Technorati, Google Blogsearch, Techmeme & Megite to your advantage – use them strategically.

  17. Reporter vs News Epicentre
  18. If there is a large conversation about a topic related to your niche, do you want to be a spoke on the wheel or the hub of conversation?
    Whilst it might not initially be possible to become a source for explosive stories, it is possible to become an acknowledge filter of the conversation.
    Services such as Techmeme and Megite allow you to identify hubs of conversation, and also to identify other bloggers who are also hubs of the conversation. Hubs of conversation are more likely to write followup articles on the same subject, and in general are link friendly, thus if you offer insight along with links to other sources of information, the chances of being brought into the conversation increase.
    Techmeme is itself a hub, but has the disadvantage of not offering commentary, and does get criticism for not covering niche bloggers as well as a human.

  19. Self Orientated vs Customer Orientated
  20. Social media is just that… social – if your motive for getting involved is purely for personal gain, you are wasting your time.
    Social media site users are smart, and opinionated. If they feel they are being manipulated or gamed, they are going to call you out on it, and there can be negative ramifications.
    The best way to demonstrate to future subscribers and hopefully customers why they should be reading your content, or doing business with you is to interact with them.
    In some lines of work you must be prepared to “move the free line” thus you will be giving far more of yourself than you might initially receive in return.

I will be addressing each of these topics in much greater detail in future posts, but I would love to ask you which aspect of your social media marketing strategy you find most difficult to pin down?

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  1. 87 Responses to “10 Reasons Why Social Media Marketing Sucks…”

  2. By Internet Marketing Tips on Mar 31, 2008 | Reply

    nice post andy,
    I like the 10th point “Self Orientated vs Customer Orientated” very much.
    really social media users are all webmasters, if the content or product served is good enough, then only you can expect targetted traffic otherwise you may end up with negative comments (with stale content)
    I would love to read detailed description of all the points too

  3. By g dewald on May 27, 2008 | Reply

    Thank you for writing this. I’ve been trying to move clients to get specific and strategic for some time. This article will help serve as a starting point for helping them do just that.

  4. By xposed design on May 27, 2008 | Reply

    Great article, made me think again about creating a social network presence, the main thing holding me back? my target market Isn’t lonely geeks.

  5. By Andy Beard on Jun 16, 2008 | Reply

    xposed design

    You are missing out on lot and lots of juicy links from your peers in the design field.

  6. By Jeff Flowers on Aug 5, 2008 | Reply

    Interesting post.

    Most people don’t realize that it takes ALOT of time to build a successful Social Media presence. It’s a commitment, and not just something that is going to happen over nite.

    I think there are alot of people attempting to utilize Social Media, but end up falling short, because they don’t know how the system really works.

  7. By Stephen on Jul 30, 2009 | Reply

    You have to be customer orientated with Marketing. Nobody wants to read a blog etc which is all me me me. Our generation (in my 30’s) will quickly get swallowed up by younger more willing to give for free (20 somethings). We need to understand that if you “give a little you get a lot”

  8. By Daniel Gibbs on Aug 19, 2009 | Reply

    Never knew that (I always use orientated) but after a quick google…

    “Orientated is currently preferred use in general British use. Oriented is prevalent in technical use, and in the US.”

  9. By Jim Clark on Jan 20, 2010 | Reply

    What a wonderfull post dude, thanks for sharing this. For sure i will check your another post later, i just bookmarking this site. Again happy posting

  10. By John on Mar 11, 2010 | Reply

    I feel the success or failure of social networking can be very industry specific. In my case, I have a home design and drafting firm in Fresno, CA, and I have had very limited success with online social networking. My time is better spent doing in-person social networking.

    John

    Creative Home Concepts – Design and Drafting, Fresno CA

  11. By Mail Print on Apr 30, 2010 | Reply

    I’ve always struggled with how to use social media as a B2B marketing tool; I now have a clearer vision for moving forward (your example “specific goals” in step one were especially helpful).

    Thanks!

  12. By Social Media Marketing Agentur on Jun 22, 2010 | Reply

    Fantastic article and great advices! i totally agree with every single point and it’s about time, that companys stop using social media wrong, and than feel that it’s not working at all. no wonder, if the only thing they post are their press releases.

  13. By chirurgien dentiste dans paris on Nov 5, 2010 | Reply

    It’s a website with a lot of information and images. In addition, it allows to highlight the side design and form of the website.

  14. By Carmen Brodeur on Jan 9, 2011 | Reply

    Good article. Very valid points that social media presence should be well thought out and targeted. Takes a lot of work to do it right.

  15. By Edward Beckett on Jan 16, 2011 | Reply

    “Random Stats vs Accountable Statistical Measures” …

    Worrying about how Britt’s spell -vs- Americans …

    Wow – that’s valuable …

    :-)

  16. By Ryan Critchett on Jan 22, 2011 | Reply

    Even though you wrote this years ago, there are still some valid points!

    I like how you put emphasis on being definitive and clearly defining outcomes!

    Great stuff.

    RC

  17. By Peter Chang on Jan 28, 2011 | Reply

    Even today, 3 years after the post was made, more than 50% of companies go into social media without a plan. This shows how long people are just willing to ride without really thinking.

  18. By James Sanson on May 3, 2011 | Reply

    I see randomness like preschool they are doing everything with no logic whatsoever. One second picking their nose and eating it, another time running with the kids screaming for no other reason than to scream, and another moment crying to just cry. A planned system allows you to accomplish so much more- scheduling, doing things for a reason, etc.

    I think we would have way better social blogging if Yahoo, Bing, and Google did not give it any weight. Then people would have to write, because they want to share something of value vs backlinks, etc. They have us chasing domain authority, page authority, etc.

    However, to sum it up – you are right.

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