Social Media

To Be Blunt, a Lot of Your Social-Media Marketing is Getting You Nowhere

Recently, Copyblogger made a shocking announcement: they were killing their Facebook page, even though they had 38,000 fans. Interestingly, this follows their decision earlier this year to close comments on their blog as well.

This breaks all the rules we’ve been taught about social media, right? Comments equals engagement, yes? And,how dare they market on the interwebs without Facebook!

Related: How to Measure Your Return on Your Social Media Investment

So, why did Copyblogger do this? After looking at the hard truth revealed by their Facebook Insights and their own analytics, the Copyblogger folks got a clearer picture of the value of their Facebook efforts and engagement. They learned that, “despite good intentions, best practices, and having a slew of fans, Facebook might not be the best place to invest brand time and energy.”

Ironically, Copyblogger has had wild success with their Google+ page, a social network most brands find to be a complete ghost town, and Twitter. Thus, the decision was made to stop wasting time on what wasn’t working and instead increase investment into what was producing (aka, converting).

After the social media “gold rush” of the last three or four years, it’s time for most brands to step back and look at their social efforts more critically. This means asking some straightforward questions. Do you really need to spend time and money on all of the social networks? Does that Instagram account actually drive traffic to your site, or is it just a staff time-suck? Let's say, for sake of example, you are a bank. Does it really make sense for you to keep on pinning?

There are obviously more questions here, but they all point to the same need: a social media audit.

Related: Five Myths About Social Media

A social media audit will help you take stock of your efforts and understand channel effectiveness (or lack thereof). You’ll need to dig into your site analytics and look at more than just referring traffic. Sure, it’s great to see that one social network drives 60 percent of your site visits, but are they quality? Are those 60 percent sticking around, clicking on other pages, and ultimately, converting?

Conversely, the social channel that drives a small but highly converting audience is worth noticing. Once you have all of “your” data, you’ll also want to wrangle up the data produced by the social networks you use. Pro Tip: view the data generated by the social networks through the “they want you to keep using their product” lens. That doesn’t mean they’re cranking back bogus data. It’s just something to keep in mind.

Don’t just do your social media audit in real-time. Take a historical view. Doing so will help you account for social product adoption rates, algorithms changes and other trends. Don’t have this backlog of data? Don’t worry. Start it now. It’s never too late to start measuring.

No social media audit data compilation is going to look the same, but once you’ve got enough to work with the lessons should be blatantly apparent. You’ll see that certain channels are proving more effective than others. Then it’s time to kill off the time-sucks. (Actually close the accounts whenever possible. Just ignoring them will look like you simply forgot about them.) From there, you and your team can craft more thoughtful tactics and content that will work for each audience. That will fan the flames of what is already working. Who can argue with that?

Related: The Social Media Challenge: The Results