There’s a trope you often see in disaster films: a manic street preacher (sometimes wearing a sandwich board, sometimes holding a placard) standing on a corner prophesising the end of the world.
“Repent!” he urges. “Repent!”
Instead of listening, the good people of New York/Los Angeles/San Francisco/Insert highly populated US city here shove past him, going about their business – even as dark storm clouds gather overhead.
Got that picture in your head?
Good. Now let me tell you the really crazy part.
That guy’s marketing strategy is more effective than posting on Facebook.
If you’ve tried posting something on Facebook lately, that statement probably rings true. But don’t rely on my say so and your gut instinct. Let’s hear from an actual expert.
Christopher Penn is co-founder of Trust Insights, a US-based marketing analytics company that recently put out a report called Social Networks 2020: Where to Invest Time and Resources in Social Media Marketing. (You can get it here.) If we’re going to listen to anyone on social media effectiveness, he’s probably the guy.
In a post on Medium a couple of weeks ago, Chris put the effectiveness of posting on Facebook like this:
“When four out of 10,000 people are reached by your Facebook posts, you’re better off standing outside on a sidewalk handing out brochures to random passers-by.”
(Hat tip to Ann Handley’s newsletter, where I first read this ripsnorter of a quote.)
Facebook and other social channels keep changing the rules. Businesses have seen the effectiveness of organic reach plummet to below two per cent, as Facebook pushes us towards paid advertising.
Anyone who has built their audiences on the “rented land” that is social media will be starting to feel the effects. Just ask “influencers” how they feel about Instagram’s decision to do away with likes in seven countries, including Australia, with a possible global roll-out to follow.
But audiences are shifting, too. The Trust Insights report shows people are fleeing Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and even TikTok (which most of us didn’t even know existed until recently).
Back in June, at the State of Social Conference in Perth, a panel of experts explained why people were deleting their social media accounts:
Consumers are moving their conversations to private spaces, such as WhatsApp groups.
This, as you can imagine, is going to be a huge problem for businesses that want to reach consumers with their messages.
Fortunately, there is a solution. But you need to start now. Here’s what to do.
This isn’t to say that there’s no place for social. Of course there is. Social should be a part of a healthy and balanced marketing diet.
You don’t need to repent for your use of social media, you just need to build an audience you can reach without relying on it.
8 October 2019
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