Lets talk about social media. I have been using social media since the beginning, Before social media I blogged and before that I did IRC. I have been online since 1996 when I built my first website and I can tell you right now that social media is of very little benefit to business.
I am a member of in excess of 58 groups, all of them have membership of 5000 or more people, The largest has 70 034 members, The top 5 on my list have 138 023 members. I must assume there is some crossover, because if I am a member of so many of them, there must be others that are as well, so lets say 10% of the biggest groups members are members of all 5 groups, that would still leave just over 90 000 people that can be targeted.
I read some statistics that say only 2% of people will see your posts, because most will unfollow the group because of too much spam and activity. At one point I was following all the groups and kept seeing the same post posted in multiple groups. The worst thing about these posts is that the majority were spammy so I started unfollowing groups that allowed get rich quick schemes, MLM and fat loss products. If I did this others did as well.
I make a point of seeing what's new when I post, but many Facebook gurus are using bots to post posts in multiple groups and never visit the groups ever. I recently posted a few links to my web sites and blogs on many of the groups, I posted four links to t least 30 groups each, not all in the same Facebook groups, but spread out over the 58. The most responses I got was 6.
I made the assumption that my fact filled articles were of no interest so posted a funny, Not 1 like. Some groups are deader than others and the quantity of people are not the deciding factor. I posted the same controversial article in a few groups and had one with lots of response and no response at all from most of them
From a Return on Investment point of view I have spent many many hours on facebook groups, and in the last 5 years only 3 jobs can be attributed to Facebook. I have responded to people looking for services I offer and seen up to 200 responses to those posts, I tried responding by DM and 1 in 5 bothered to reply.
I guess if you have all day to sit and wait and are the first responder, you may get better results than I did, but the time spend does not seem to be anywhere near the value of the results. As a business professional I find that I am generally to busy to sit and watch the groups so that as an idea is a non starter.
Advertising second hand goods on for sale groups is marginally more effective, I have sold some stuff in amongst all the I'm interested responses that when responded get no response, or the price requests when It is posted on the advert, or the requests for more photos that lead to no response.
I have spoken to people that have had better results than me, but they were in different fields. I suspect that Facebook groups may be great for people with lots of time and little work.
I tested Facebook ads a while back, things may have changed but I aint spending my money on something that didn't work for me in the past, Did I get results? absolutely but all the wrong ones. I was very specific about my targeting, interests and demographics and area. I tied it down so tight that facebook was starting to whine that there were too few people in my target market,
We came to an agreement after some negotiation but still I got people that were interested in Kitchens from Polokwane, Emalahlemi and Brits, Not one person actually in Pretoria liked my page. I had students and the unemployed but working people, very few. I spent R 300.00 and got nothing of value. I did try changing things when I spotted the location wasn't correct, I checked my targeting when all the unemployed people started liking my pages and eventually gave it up.
I talk about good traffic and bad traffic, about localising and facebook failed on all points. Tell me that they don't still think unemployed is the same as employed graduates, and Emalahleni is Pretoria, or if I don't care and am happy to shotgun, then I will try Facebook ads again.
Facebook pages are a necessary evil. I wouldn't spend an hour a day working on it though. I have deleted my pages mostly but I am creating one for my web design business because people now use Facebook as a search engine as well. The results are not fantastic but a quick post once a week, shared to some groups will build your following, Once again unless people specifically choose to follow your page they are not getting your message.
Competitions are what the so called social media gurus recommend to grow your page, but they won't tell you about the gangs of professional contestants that bring you no benefit. I have seen my competitions spammed far and wide but not one like. These contestants have multiple profiles and share it among those profiles.
It seems most people won't enter because of the I won't win anyway factor, and why would they like a page that they have no interest in.
Regular updates are important, set a schedule and stick to it. Do a weekly update and hope that you get seen. Ask your friends to share your posts and get them seen.
I never really got into pinterest but sharing images with links back to your website can never be a bad idea if you are in an industry like photography, home deco, furniture et al.
I have a friend who swears by Instagram, because she has chefs from all over the world following her, My question is what benefit do these followers have? Are they going to send money in Pretoria? I have always said that there is good traffic and bad traffic. Bad traffic is people that like your images, love your recipes but will never spend money at your business.
If you are hoping that Instagram and Pinterest are going to bring in the big leads I suspect like Facebook there are better ways to employ your marketing budget. I'd happily take money from you to post on a hundred facebook groups, on twitter, Instagram and Pinterest. I just know that better results are to be had from the search engines.
For my kitchen business I did one post every time I did a job on my website, I spent no time other than that in the last year of my business yet I was still getting queries for months after I closed. I shut down the website the other day because I did not want the phone calls any more. I spent no money on advertising after the first year in business, My web site was doing all the lead generation I could cope with.
Rather spend your money optimising your website for the search engines than on social media, the results are better. In the first year or till your web site achieves the results that you need, do some analogue advertising with your website given a prominent mention, The more quality visitors to your website you get, the more Google will will promote you in the rankings.
As a startup use the social media groups, 6 visitors are better than none.
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