Sales declining on social media

Has Social Media Lost its Allure for Business?

If social media was a person, it would be about 15 years old – still an immature teenager, not even close to reaching its potential. Facebook officially launched in 2006 and would still be in grade school, trying to figure out what it wants to be.

Just when you thought you had figured out how to make money on social, you get the rug pulled out from under you as the youngster changes the rules on you.

Personal Engagement Over Business

As a sales funnel to sell direct to customers, social networks have been declining in value for several years as I first reported in 2014.

Facebook – by far the leader in paid media – made it even more difficult for advertisers when it announced a change earlier this month in what’s shown in its News Feed. “With this update, we will also prioritize posts that spark conversations and meaningful interactions between people,” said  Adam Mosseri, Head of News Feed.

“Because space in News Feed is limited, showing more posts from friends and family and updates that spark conversation means we’ll show less public content, including videos and other posts from publishers or businesses,” he said.

This announcement came after the biggest shopping days last year – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Shopify analyzed traffic and sales for those days and social selling conversion was the least effective channel. Things are likely to get worse.

Spotify shows that social media has lowest conversion rate

Own Your Content

Can a brand make money on social media? Yes, if you’re Nike, with 230 million followers on Instagram. But how many of us have the sheer power of Nike?

And what happens when a social network changes the rules just when you’ve figured out how to make money? You’re using their playground, so you play by their rules.

You might attract more customers to your business with Owned media, which is your own website and blog.

For sure it doesn’t pay to put all your eggs into one social media basket as Facebook Page owners have learned to their dismay. Many business owners had built their entire businesses around their Facebook Pages accounts. Poof, gone. Don’t build your store on someone else’s property.

If you build your business on your Owned media, no social network can take you down. You are in complete control. But how many visitors do you attract to your site every month?

I tried to find an average number of visitors statistic and everything I read said, “It depends.” It depends on the type of business you’re in, what you’re selling, and where your business is domiciled.

I can attest that it’s heavy lifting to attract visitors to your site and have them stick around for a while. Most bounce off right away. You weren’t what they were looking for.

What Will Work For You?

This is not to place a damper on your plans for your business. Maybe you’re selling a high-ticket item. You may not need more than a few sales a year. I’m just injecting note of caution to carefully examine the sales funnels that will work for you – in combination with social media.

AdWords Target Locations may be the answer. AdWords location targeting enables your ads to appear in the geographic locations that you choose: countries, areas within a country, a radius around a location, or location groups. For example, you could target high net-worth individuals in New York if they are your targets.

A friend is married to an attorney with a very specialized niche. He pays $100 a month for his ad and gets the majority of his referrals that way.

As Spotify found, sending emails to your existing customers and prospects could pay off.

Social media is just one piece of the marketing mix. It isn’t a silver bullet that will make you rich overnight. Let’s not forget there are other ways to reach your targets that have been tested over many years. Why not try them to see if they work for you, too?

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  1. It is strange remembering what life was like before social media. I distinctively recall a colleague informing the team she had just bought a new phone she could access emails and the internet on. Oh and she could listen to music too!

    It blew my mind and I remember thinking it would not rub off on me – well it did!

    You need to build your audience first which means more engaging and less advertising. I personally lose interest if I am bombarded with adverts all day online.

    • Phoenicia — life without social media wasn’t that long ago! Engagement is the new buzzword and for good reason. We want to feel that our wants and needs are being recognized and not be bombarded by ads that don’t relate to us.

  2. I’ve decided this year to focus on the “social” part of social media–build relationships on the platforms that seem to like my blogs–that is, those people who like to read about travel and musings. Trying to win the game on Facebook or other sites can be draining!

    I’m not surprised to read that it’s trending down.

    • RoseMary — I’m not sure it’s possible for bloggers to “win the game” on Facebook or other networks. Making personal connections is still the way to go.

  3. Great post! It’s becoming more and more difficult to get through to anyone via social media, especially Facebook and Instagram. It’s so frustrating, there is no point in getting followers anymore as they won’t be shown our posts anyway! I have read somewhere that Facebook’s organic reach is expected to eventually reach zero. AdWords Traget Locations sounds interesting, I will look into it as I think it’s time to give up on Facebook and Instagram for good! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

    • Magda — glad my post was helpful. Facebook and Instagram have their place but they aren’t a magic bullet to reach your targets.