Is social media marketing a must?

Lately, more and more entrepreneurs keep telling me they’re tired of social media. Perhaps you recognize this love-hate relationship; social media is a perfect platform to reach (new) clients, but you have to work harder every day to do so.

I bet within most businesses social media is part of their marketing strategy. After all, the world can’t be seen without it. But does the time, energy, and money that have been put into it actually return the favor? And is successful marketing still possible without social media?

Business who quit social media

That question became relevant for many when Lush UK announced they were going to quit their social media activities. They said they “were tired of fighting algorithms” and “didn’t want to pay anymore to be seen in news feeds.” Lush found it’s important to have a continuous conversation with their customers, but social media couldn’t provide that for them anymore.

Lush UK isn’t the only business that quit social media. JD Wetherspoon (quit in 2018) and Alexandra Franzen (quit in 2015) preceded them. Both still have vibrant businesses with lots of clients by the way.

Hype or not: this is the question you need to ask yourself

Is something new happening or will this stream of businesses quitting their socials be a hype that’ll pass eventually? I don’t know the answer. But whether it’s going to be a trend is subordinate to asking yourself if your social media strategy actually has an effect. What is the use of maintaining channels when marketing targets aren’t met? ROI is leading for all your marketing efforts.

Facts about social media

There’re a few things to consider when it comes down to using social media strategy. This is a list of facts about social media:

1.     All social media are businesses and therefore are profit oriented.

2.     Ad costs have increased over the past years. For example, the average cost per click for a Facebook ad is $1.86.

3.     The majority of your ideal client uses social media so you’re able to find them there.

4.     Algorithms changes regularly. At this moment just 10% of your followers see your organic post.

5.     Most social media are meant to be a source of entertainment.

6.     Social media is addictive for the end user.

Social media has an effect on the person who uses it. It seems all pretty innocent but if we have to believe Cal Newport for instance, we are better off without it. On average a person has a concentration span of 8 seconds. That’s less than a goldfish according to

“The average attention span for the notoriously ill-focused goldfish is nine seconds, but according to a new study from Microsoft Corp, people now generally lose concentration after eight seconds, highlighting the affects of an increasingly digitalized lifestyle on the brain.”

The question you can ask yourself: do you want to be a participant in this? But much more urgent is the question: is your content so interesting that it can actually grab the attention of your reader and keep it for more than 8 seconds?

Is this a plea to quit social media marketing?

No, absolutely not. It’s an opportunity to let you think about your current social media strategy and whether it gives you the return on investment you want in the end. Perhaps quitting is an option, perhaps it’s not.

Like every company on a regular base evaluates their activities, it’s wise to do the same for your social media strategy. Therefore, ask the following 4 questions relating to this topic.

Question 1: Does social media currently help you build and grow your audience?

Your content and activities on the platforms should lead to more active follower numbers. Just a growing number of followers isn’t enough, you want to engage with your existing followers. Do you have a goal on how many active followers you want? Do you track that? Do you know how to reach them? Who they are?

Question 2: Are you seeing a continuous, measurable impact as a result of your social media activities?

To answer this question, you first need to know what you want to achieve with social media. More clients/sales? More engagement and in what form? More brand awareness? In other words: what impact are you trying to make? And how do you measure whether you made it? When you have those results, you’re able to determine whether your time, energy and money invested in the platforms was worth it. Eventually ROI is king.

Question 3: Is it possible to take the connection and conversation with your clients elsewhere and create a similar or even deeper relationship?

It’s possible you’re very satisfied with your social media results. The frequency and depth of your conversations are valuable and the conversion is good. But imagine, what if social media wouldn’t exist anymore? Where would you be able to have these conversations or conversions? And would a different platform or form of media have a different impact? Do you need social media to be more reachable for your clients?

Question 4: Does working on social media activities give you energy?

This is a tricky question of course. Because if your social media strategy has a low ROI at this stage, there’s a big chance you don’t feel energized by your efforts. But try to imagine it is a successful way of doing your marketing, what would your energy level be like? Many people out there, despite the success of their social media strategy, feel it costs them a lot of energy to create interesting and catchy content for their followers. Or, to be visible all the time and get the attention they want. Or, to be active on social media and respond on other posts. Some entrepreneurs are just tired to contribute to what most of them see as a sham world. And it could be possible that you feel the same way. When you’re maintaining your own accounts it’s smart to ask yourself if working on this marketing tactic gives you the energy you want. Especially if you put lots of time in it.

So quitting social media?

If you answered most questions with ‘no’, then it’s for sure time to take a closer look at your strategy. Can you refine it to get better return on investment? The problem could be your content that doesn’t resonate enough with your audience. Experiment with it.

Do you however find out it’s time to focus on other media channels that have more effect and quit social media marketing? Then it’s possible you feel resistance for making this choice, especially since the majority of people will say that quitting social media marketing would be harmful for your business in modern society. Cal Newport disagrees. In one of his Ted talks he mentioned: “Social media is not a fundamental technology, it’s a source of entertainment. What the market values is the ability to produce things that are rare and are valuable.”

The alternatives

There are many alternatives on reaching your marketing goals without having to use Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. A few of those options are:

–       Public speaking

–       Giving workshops

–       (free) publicity in other media

–       Email marketing

–       Networking on events

–       Organizing an event

–       Advertising

–       Etc.

Find your ideal tactics to meet your marketing goals. The far most important thing in marketing remains to be able to build a valuable connection with your (potential) clients and to help them, as Seth Godin says. (Read his book This is Marketing!) Businesses used to do that without internet back in the days, which means it’s still possible. It’s only up to you which strategy fits and works best for you and your business. And if social media is part of it, it will be part of it. Evaluating processes and strategies is part of running a business. Do that for your social media marketing strategy as well.


Want to talk about your social media strategy or your frustrations about it? Don’t hesitate to send me an email.

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