Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Social Tuesday - Are We Really That Social?

I don't think so. In fact I think we are incredibly less Social than Facebook, Twitter, Mashable, the VC's, and everyone else who is involved in Social Media, Social Media Marketing etc will have you believe.

I like to do real world investigations. Like being at a party with 50 people and being the only person using Twitter. And NO ONE was using Facebook Mobile. Or Checking in at a Minor League Baseball Game with 5000 in attendance to find only 11 people checked in total between Foursquare and Gowalla. Or checking out Places on Facebook and finding so few check ins.

And how come we only watch 0.5 Videos per month on Facebook? How come when you look at retweets and shares the volume is so low compared to the number of...ahem...supposed participants. It is a hard fact. For every 2 log ins to Facebook today there will be only 1 action (Status Update, Link Share, Comment, or Like). ONE ACTION per two people! That is not very social to me. And if one person takes 2 actions then 3 people took NO ACTION.

I truly believe in the 85/15 rule. This is not something I crafted but it is true 85% of all Digital Advertising Clicks are done by 15% of the online population. I feel the same holds true for Social Media. 85% of all Activity is done by 15% of all users. And the activity is so huge from this 15% that the numbers look AMAZING!

I have sliced and diced the numbers over and over here. This blog is littered with proof of my hypothesis. Actually it is more a fact than a hypothesis now.

Twitter and Facebook are nice and give you a forum to engage when customers want that. But you will never engage with 99% of your customers via Social Media. At least not today. Maybe not tomorrow. Maybe not ever. Get over it. The faster you stop lying to yourself (Thank you John Falchetto very timely) about the power of social media to be harnessed for your business the better. It helps your business. But it will never drive your business. The success stories for Social Media for Brands and Businesses are so few and far between they are the exception vs the norm. And yes everyone is going to tout the exception as proof it works. Happens every time I bring this up.

So what does this mean for your business? The nuts and bolts to me for a small business marketing plan will be focus on PR, local print/online media, and community outreach efforts. Yes this includes PAID ADVERTISING! Make sure your website is nice and that the SEO is in place. Look for places to list your business that make sense like Yelp! or Professional Directories. And yes integrate Social Media Tools where it makes sense. But don't lose focus on what really drives your business. Great product. Great service. Right price.

And most important...treat every customer like they are gold.


  1. I concur; that's why I'm not so hung up on finding a specific direction I want to go with my personal site.

    It seems to me we are all talking to ourselves; a virtual love fest.

    Is social media here to stay; absolutely. Is there unlimited opportunities; absolutely. What does all that mean in the grand scheme of things; probably not a whole lot.

    I know what my core business is and how to reach them. I would say the majority of my existing customers are not active in social media yet.

  2. Hey Bill!

    You actually ARE social media. You are like the Matrix. Everywhere. Popular. Loved.

    And thank you for always being the sane 'outside the Social Media beltway' voice of reason!

  3. I couldn’t have said it better than Bill:

    “Is social media here to stay; absolutely. Is there unlimited opportunities; absolutely. What does all that mean in the grand scheme of things; probably not a whole lot [yet].”

    I added the yet, because there’s this thing that this dead French dude (Teilhard de Chardin) called the Noosphere. And it looks like it’s forming- but who the heck knows how long it will take for a critical mass to gather into anything resembling an Omega point.

    Yeah, I know, this is far out.

    Moral: Customers come first.

  4. Here I was thinking that social media was the answer to the US debt, world hunger and curing AIDS.

    I laugh when I read people, everyday, blogging about how some online tool can make things happen, anything from relationships to business.

    It's a tool people!

  5. I have been noodling the last month or so on the social media tipping point, Alien. You nailed it.

    We're there. "Focus on PR" indeed. And, PR does include social media, but not the kind that makes you lazy. An integrated campaign with smatterings of all will drive your business; not just being present on social media.

    Your image online must parlay offline. (Oh, joy, there's my guest blog post topic.)

    People are going to start leaving these fads: Spotify, Empire Avenue, Klout, Foursquare (have you ever used a coupon from "Specials Nearby?") and, alas, Twitter.

  6. I agree with this assessment and would like to add that the real power of social media to ignite the conversations that spotlight your business/product/service (for better or worse) can't be accessed through behaviorally targeted displays, impressions or click throughs... it takes a relevant product/service, great customer service, and an ability to reach your target market with the right message, at the right time... in a way that is MEANINGFUL TO THEM.