You heard that right. I give up on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and Pinterest. I give up on managing social media for small businesses. You see, Facebook has been as viral in the business world as the Antoine Dodson’s Youtube video was in 2011. People in the business community have been spreading the evangelism of Facebook, like it is the end of all other marketing and Facebook is the only answer to growing their business. And the preaching is not necessarily wrong. Some micro-businesses can book their calendar with referrals coming from Facebook. But the examples are few – wedding photographers can do decent with Facebook marketing as their sole source of advertising. As they can only book as many events as the days of the month and their work is very visual, fun and sharable.

Top 4 Reasons To Give Up on Social Media Marketing

What I am saying is that I cannot help a business if the only Internet marketing they are doing is social media marketing. I make this exclamation for the following reason:

1. Social media return on investment is not measurable*. This means I cannot prove to the client that my work on their social media channels are converting a fan to a customer. True this is also hard to prove with traditional advertising and they have been doing it for years. But I want to reduce churn – my goal is to keep clients, not lose them to the next yahoo selling the latest widget.

2. To really do a business justice in using social media as a marketing tool, the Internet marketing agency needs to be a part of the team. They  need to be ingrained in the culture and community in the company to properly represent them in social media. They need to know what is happening in company in a week to week basis: events, product develop, customer relations, management and more.

Agencies can achieve this intimacy with their clients, but not if their only involvement with the company is posting on their Facebook page.

3. Facebook is making it harder and harder for businesses to interact with their fans. Because Facebook implements Edgerank (which I completely support), often only a third of the fans see the status updates of the business. This provides diminishing returns on Facebook as a valuable source for advertising your business. The less “impressions” (individual moments when a person see your company’s name in Facebook) that a company gains from Facebook, the less affective the advertising.

4. Facebook is best for increasing the customer life cycle for a brand.  It is not particularly helpful for reaching out to people who have a direct need for your service or product. So you may be reaching 10,000 people on Facebook, but only 10% may need your business. Compare this to search engine marketing where almost 100% of web searchers need your service or product. It just makes sense to focus on search engine optimization first (for most businesses).

Internet Marketing – Big Picture

I am not giving up on social media marketingiIf Talk is Sheep Marketing is handing the big picture. That means we are doing search engine optimization, blogging, lead generation, email marketing, online review management and/or consulting for the client. We need to have a pulse on the brand and have content and links to share on social media that can bring web traffic from Facebook to the client’s website. A twice a month or even weekly consulting meeting is the most important. This gives us the time with the client to meet with them personally, discuss current marketing objectives and to really bond with the team to fully understand the culture of the company.

Small Businesses – Don’t Give Up!

I am not saying that small businesses should not do Facebook marketing. What I am saying is that they should not hire a marketing agency to manage their social media – and only their social media. The person representing your brand should be part of your team. You need someone who can take pictures, respond to customer comments and share stories and questions on the status updates. With proper training, it is easy to manage and not nearly as time consuming as it would be for an outside consultant.

Hubspot provides a plethora of whitepapers and ebooks on how to do social media marketing yourself. Also, our agency will often offer one-on-one training on social media marketing that offers more specific advice and training related to the clients particular marketing needs.

Courtney Holmes is the creative director of Talk is Sheep Marketing, a Sacramento Web Design and Internet Marketing Agency.

* social media marketing is not measurable if it is the only tool used for marketing. With proper CMS tools (content management systems, example: Hubspot) a business can directly measure the return on investment of social media.

Courtney Holmes is the owner of Talk is Sheep Marketing . . . a marketing firm with a vendetta against boring. They build engaging websites, they bring people to these websites and they make sure that a good amount of these people become customers.

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