At the risk of sounding like a Tyrannosaurus, I want to explain why social media marketing is a huge gamble and in many cases a big mistake for most businesses. To do so, I must begin with a story.
Many years ago, I was the general manager of a facility that made automotive liquids and lubricants. We were the #1 subcontractor for all the Canadian divisions of all the ‘iconic’ automakers. If you needed oils, lubricants of every kind, antifreeze, windshield washes etc., chances were excellent my team had a huge hand in getting it ready for your vehicle.
Each of the automakers had strict requirements and protocols they required us to follow including the size and type of bottle, the label and its position, the grade of viscosity of the fluid used right up to the date, time and mode of delivery. If we failed to deliver on any one of those requirements, we faced excruciatingly punitive penalties.
Accordingly, our customers were very precise about what was required and the timelines for their contracts were exact. So my team, being a true dream team, got exceptionally proficient at fulfilling everything exactly as required.
When you, the end customer, ran out of oils, greases, liquids and such, you could go to your dealership and get a top-up at any time –without even thinking about it. Your mechanic could grab the right product in the right bottle or tote in the right consistency as exactly spelt out in the manufacturer’s specification. And depending on the mechanic’s availability that day, you could be in and out in a short time. Worry-free, hassle-free, driving off contentedly. Your life was good.
If Only Social Media Were Half That Efficient
Unfortunately, the Kingmakers of the social media companies seem to regularly play spin the roulette wheel to determine ‘what will we change today?’ That change was, is and looks like it will always be at their discretion. Maybe an algorithm. Or a nuisance user. Or not. Or a Shadow something. Or a Spammer. Or not. Or maybe another algorithm. Or a whole new shiny object. We customers never really know because those Kingpimps never share what those new spins on the roulette wheel point to.
And my favourite is the look and claims of innocence when they themselves are accused of fraudulent behaviour. (None of the ‘Oh sorry, we’ll look into it’ blather most older companies used to and still do take.)
All this would be akin to my old facility deciding one day to make bottles with holes in them. Or the automakers arbitrarily changing the viscosity of the liquids and then penalizing us because they did not tell us the new specifications to make. Or both of us (the production facility AND the automakers) looking at you, the driver of your car questioning, YOUR sanity, your driving ability and telling you, “spend just a bit more and that should take care of some of those problems.”
These days, I spend my time guiding entrepreneurs as they navigate the new worlds, showing them how to change their thinking for the better and helping them make MORE. Here is what I see.
Over the last three decades, we business people have had to HIRE people we never imagined we would ever need. First, we needed to change our IT function just a bit; then a lot. Then we needed to bring in folks to handle just the spam. In the process of handling the spam, we killed off the real communications with the real customers. Then we needed to bring in folks to handle the social media stuff. That staff grew exponentially as all the algorithms morphed and changed and the types of social media increased.
AND, because we never owned any customer data from the social networks, we had to find workarounds to get that information. Which meant we had to keep two systems at double cost if we wanted to stay connected to the customers. Or, we just said, to hell with it. Let the social media platforms own our customer information. So we all kept adding bodies to keep up with the new digital marketing that appeared to take off like crazy. And of course, we kept upgrading our websites and all those social media sites we were told we ‘just gotta have’.
And then those damn Social Media Kingpimps kept allowing fake users and bots to come in thru the back door. Which totally polluted everything and now nobody knows a real person from a fake person. So then the latest thing we business people must hire is more overhead to sniff out the fake users and clean up our systems. Systems I must add we have now completely lost control over — through no fault of our own!
Today we sit in a spot where the Social Media Kingpimps love to rule the roost, keep boggling our minds with shiny toys, constantly change the rules at what appears to be the drop of a hat AND and we, the customers, have absolutely no say.
I guess this is all well and good, except for the fact that our own customers now have an attention span that is less than that of a goldfish and the great gobs of money we spend on all kinds of stuff that people admit to spending time on … well, they only really spend maybe five to eight seconds on … if we are lucky. Because frankly crazy Jackass people, Kim Kardashian, and panda videos are much more fascinating.
Clearly, there is a giant assumption being made by the Social Media Kingpimps, that we businesses have an endless fountain of money from which we can pay for stuff. Stuff we clearly have a fluff or nebulous priority category specifically set aside and on which we have no desire to obtain any kind of decent return — either long or short term.
And in the background, Mr Google could not handle the mass onslaught of data so he spent a lot of time shoehorning everybody in order for him to conveniently index everybody into a bland filing cabinet. And voila, we the businesses all now look alike. Even though we try very hard not to.
So NOW some disillusioned Kingpimps are crying the genie is out of the bottle and oh my God, what have we done???
The What-Goes-Around Is Very Much Coming Around
In many many parts of the world, business people, real human business people, smart business people, STILL sell the old-fashioned way. With emotion. Via the human face-to-face touch methodology. Not with Big Data and Senseless Numbers. Maybe the Chinese like the numbers thing. And so too, the East Indians. There are a lot of them in the world and they are smart and need to keep track.
But the rest of us? We are already smart. We learned decades ago that face-to-face is the best way and as time goes by, perhaps the only way to sell B to B services, and a lot of other things. And real, human emotion, done well, is the best marketing and advertising any company can do for itself. Because real, human emotion, done well will generate ROIs that are simply orgasmic.
What all this useless and pointless social stuff HAS done is a good job of keeping a whole new stream of younger adults gainfully employed. And they have done an amazing job stoking the furnaces of the 1% ROI.
The Surprisingly Valid Dinosaur Perspective
As a dinosaur today, I do understand that technology is a helper and I totally love the internet. I embrace a lot of the improvements in life that Mr Google gives us. However, I don’t see a huge uptick in bottom line profits from all that social media/digital marketing shit for businesses which are of the non-retail, regular variety. Seriously. And THAT is why I declare unequivocally the gamble of the social media/digital marketing craze has been a disaster for many, businesses.
If you still really want to spend all that money on some amazingly powerful marketing or advertising campaigns that will bring you way more in solid profit dollars RIGHT TO YOUR BOTTOM LINE, call me. I have a bunch of time-tested, proven, albeit, old school, rather quaint methodologies with some serious cutting-edge creativity your business can’t help but win MORE with.
To your success!