The engagement ratio per brand — or [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]average interactions per post per brand per 1,000 followers — decreased on Instagram (by 25.85%), Facebook (by 8.27%), and LinkedIn (by 7.6%).[/inlinetweet] On Twitter, the engagement ratio per brand increased slightly, up 1.08% across the first half of 2016. And yet for some stupid reasons brands continue to invest in social media?
[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]The marketing industry continues to be in the midst of a mass delusion of epic proportions when it comes to social media[/inlinetweet]. Since about 2000, the marketing establishment has been engaged in creating phony crises based on flimsy evidence, questionable assertions, and exaggerated claims when it comes to social media.
Now, let’s get to the bullshit [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]No, for the most part, consumers are not in love with brands [/inlinetweet]No, consumers do not want to have a conversation with your brand, or an “authentic relationship” with it, or co-create with it, or engage with it, or dance with it, or take a shower with it. They want it to work well, taste good, be reasonably priced, and look pretty.
We were promised that social media would be the magic carpet on which our legions of brand advocates would go to spread the word about the marvelousness of our brands, and would free us from the terrible, wasteful expense of advertising. It has done nothing of the sort. In fact, it is often the exact opposite. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Social media is usually where people go to scream about the mistreatment they get at the hands of companies[/inlinetweet]. And where companies go to beg forgiveness.
[inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””]Marketing is operating under the delusion that consumers want to interact with brands, and have relationships with brands[/inlinetweet], and have brand experiences, and engage with them, and co-create with them. This is pure garbage.
Most brands are finding that their social media programs are more time-consuming, more expensive, and less capable of driving sales growth than was promised. [inlinetweet prefix=”” tweeter=”” suffix=””] Social media sites are quickly evolving into just another channel for delivering traditional interruptive advertising[/inlinetweet]. Social media is not going to die or go away. It will continue to grow. But the fantasy of consumers having conversations about brands and sharing their passion for brands — and the claim that this will replace or surpass traditional paid advertising — is simply collapsing as the evidence rolls in.
Remember Facebook in its initial incarnation? It was the social media upstart that was going to slay the traditional advertising dragon. Well, it seems that it has done just the opposite. It has become a juggernaut of traditional paid advertising. Some of the baloney that Facebook first tried to sell us was: Consumers wanted to “join the conversation” about brands online. Social media marketing was going to make traditional advertising obsolete. And the experts, who published books to emphasize their own importance, have not been called on the carpet for the bullshit they tried to sell us.
[pullquote]“A few years ago, the company was telling brands to increase the number of people following their pages. Now it says fans are largely irrelevant.[/pullquote]”
Collecting “likes” on Facebook is still a great way to stay busy without actually accomplishing anything. Just look at declining brands like Coke. Facebook has rigged the system so that if you agree to their terms of service, as far as they’re concerned, you are fair game. And if their algorithm likes you, then you are now the new spokesperson for Walmart. Congratulations. This is not healthy. It is uber-false advertising. It is not ethical. Our billionaire friends in the tech industry try to pass themselves off as high-minded visionaries. In fact they are turning out to be corrupt and unconcerned about our rights and privacy.
[pullquote]Your social media strategy doesn’t suck because Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and blogs can’t reach people. It sucks because you’re stuffing it with crap that no one is interested in and that nobody has time to read.[/pullquote]
In the end, it’s still about making marketing uncomplicated. It’s about not looking at people as consumers and start looking at them as individuals. It’s about focusing on your brand website and finally it’s about the understanding that you don’t need social media to sell frozen pizza and ketchup.