INSIGHT: Why social media can be an absolute waste of time and energy

Social media is used by so many businesses, but it's really an absolute waste of time. A Google Business profile can get local customers quickly & its free

The secret to getting more local customers by using a Google Business Profile
Summary

Most business owners are just wasting their time on social media. Boring content, creating posts that provide no value to potential customers, ‘fans’ that aren’t even engaging with the content & in most cases less than 1% even see the posts. Don’t get me wrong, if used correctly, social media can be super powerful. Although most businesses have no clue about using the platforms correctly.

What’s worse is they spend time posting things & don’t even realise that you can have a free Google Business profile that let’s you post content that can be seen by people searching for things locally.

Are businesses wasting their time with social media?

Too many business owners simply post rubbish on their social profiles

If you post this type of content on your social media profiles, stop now. It is utter garbage and offers absolutely no value to any potential client whatsoever.

Too many owners get confused between content that is an advertisement vs something that represents any real value. Even worse, they pay a ‘social media manager’ who creates useless, irrelevant content. It’s a waste of money.

This is a post from a company offering solar power – what part of this would inspire me to choose them or even both investigating their brand – nothing, it is just useless content cluttering a newsfeed.

Too many business owners are guilty of setting up all these social media profiles because they feel pressured to do so. The reason, ‘everyone else has one’ – that’s great, but doesn’t mean they are even useful or helping to improve your brand’s credibility or generate more leads.

YES – if social media is used correctly it can be the ideal way to get exposure or showcase what you do. Although that’s only if the content you are sharing offers some value, provides insights or showcases your products or services in a way that isn’t a one way ‘sales’ message all the time.

Businesses are interrupting people from enjoying the latest cat video or photos of their friends at a party. So how or why will anyone give a crap about what you are posting?

Do people use social media to search for things online?

You don’t have to believe my marketing advice really. In fact you don’t even have to be a marketing expert, take a course or even read lots of articles about the topic to get the answers.

Think about your own behaviour when you want to buy a product or service – what do you do?

Do you start searching on Facebook, LinkedIn or Instagram or do you head to Google?
 
Yes for sure some people will use social media but the majority use Google first. They will use social media profiles to validate whether the business they find seems credible or not in most cases or maybe even check out the reviews.
 
Generally they’ll use search to find these businesses or brands first. So therefore, why would you put most of your energy into social media if most people start their decision making using the world’s biggest search engine every day?

What size social media following do you even have?

Believe it or not I speak to a lot of business owners who don’t even know how many followers they have. All of the social media platforms provide data that can show you;

  • How many people are following your profile
  • Where are they located
  • What are their demographics
  • How the audience size has been trending
  • What are the engagement levels like
 
For some businesses I have provided digital marketing consulting for, they have less than 500 people following their activities, but they spend hours each week posting content onto the profiles.
 
In this image it’s a sample of Facebook’s insights information, but each platform has something similar or you can use tools that gather all the info into a dashboard.

Don't be fooled, social media is a 'pay to play' platform for adVERTISING

Even if you have an audience of some size, most likely less than 1% of your so called ‘fans’ even see your content.

Here is an example from a social media profile that had over 15,000 fans – look closely, most posts were seen by less than 200 people. The only exception was a ‘Boosted’ post, but even then there was very little engagement with less than 50 interactions for a post that reached 1,500 people.

Social media entities are basically advertising platforms – do not be fooled into thinking the companies exist to give your business free exposure. Their whole point of existing is to use the data they get from people looking at content to then sell advertising space.

Don’t believe me, take a look at Meta’s recent earnings announcement here $32 billion advertising revenue for the December 2021 quarter.

Therefore your posts most likely will never get seen unless you have super interesting content & have developed a highly engaged audience.

Most businesses have no idea how to achieve this, so they post boring rubbish that nobody cares about, effectively wasting everyone’s time.

Should your business use social media?

Call me and I will tell you.

Seriously, not every business should use social media & in fact, depending on the type of business, certain social media platforms might be a total waste of time. You have to consider the primary goal of each social media company & work out if you can deliver what they want so the platform can then be useful for you.

What I have written sounds weird right? But think about it, Instagram in 2022 wants lots of Reels so that it can fight TikTok, YouTube wants original video content so it can dominate video search & sell ads, Facebook wants businesses to pay for Ads to promote products by selling their user data to advertisers.

Each platform has a different way of operating, current ‘shiny’ new trick & if your business can’t fit into that you just won’t get stellar results, it’s that simple. So a B2B brand could use TikTok, but be prepared to make lots of short videos that can appeal to 25 year olds. You could use Instagram too, but maybe use Reels purely to showcase things happening everyday rather than trying to post pretty pictures. You’d say that a B2B company should be on LInkedIn, makes sense as it is a business to business network, although to get exposure you have to post meaningful content.

Here’s an example below of a B2B client that actively posts content on their LinkedIn profile but hasn’t posted anything on their Google Business profile since September 2021 even though Organic Search represents more than 80% of their traffic. As you can see they do get some traffic from social media & the conversion rate to a lead is very high, but the overall volume is just too low to be a primary revenue generating platform for them.

Everything they are posting on LinkedIn should be posted on their Google Business Profile.

Why you should put effort into your Google Business Profile instead

For every client I provide digital marketing consultancy for, one of the first things I make sure they do is have a Google Business Profile. It enables you to control the information shown by Google when people are searching locally – and it is free.

Some clients already have one, others have never heard of it but the one thing that is pretty common is they haven’t optimised it for search & are not using its features to beat local competitors.

You can literally post content directly into Google where millions of people are searching for products and services everyday. This can build your brand’s credibility, trust & create more potential customers.

Want to get a profile, learn more here and when you are ready to get it optimised or to build a strategy to grow it, contact me so I can help you.

Can a Google Business profile really generate leads?

Forget all the theory about using a Google Business Profile – here is the proof using a real life example. On the left is one of my clients’ profiles that I set up & optimised in 2021. I encouraged them to post regularly, in fact my direction was ‘anything you post on social media, post to Google My Business and include your primary keywords’

Unfortunately they didn’t follow this advice, so they’ve posted lots of things to social media, but nothing on their Google Business Profile. They still generated good exposure because of the optimisation I had completed for them.

Although now look at the second example – this is a client’s profile that had a recent location change, regular posts being made & an optimised profile. Nearly double the exposure in the same time period and look at their growth trend because we are posting fairly regularly.

Ok so you are wondering who cares about these ‘views’ because that doesn’t mean anything right?

Well, in fact, they mean a lot actually. 

A Google Business Profile gives you data to show the number of people that called, went to the website, left a message or visited the location (depending on how the profile is set up) So here we can see that even though my client didn’t post to their profile they had just over 600 interactions, although most of the search volume was for people who knew the brand. Therefore we can assume it was people trying to find them.

Now look at the second example, there are only 475 interactions, but, most of them are for the services that client provides instead of their brand name. This means local customers are discovering this company & the business is getting local exposure from people using search. It is creating visitors to their website & yes, eventually, they visit their social media profiles.

What’s the benefit of posting good quality content?

Let’s go back to the earlier example first & compare it to a sample post I created. Look at the difference – even though these businesses aren’t related, different services etc – look at what they are communicating. One is stating the bleeding obvious, nobody is going to care or click really. The more detailed post has keyword rich information that appears on Google, includes an example of the work completed, link to the website & provides some level of value.

The content of the post & information on the website page uses keyword phrases and topics that I know consumers are searching for. It is relevant information that is solving a pain point and/or people want to do in their own home. I know from the data from both clients that one is growing their organic search volumes every month & the other one isn’t.

It’s that simple really and social media can’t really deliver the same value in terms of local search results, interaction, data or driving a customer directly to you.

If you think about the behavioural science principles to move people from being interested to taking action your posts should think about;

  • The power of free: Free information, advice, special offers can be a big motivator to get someone to take action.
 
  • Authority: When a brand demonstrates quality information it can develop itself as a trusted source & stand out from competitors. Rather than say ‘we do solar and we are great’ it would be information about how this new technology can transform how someone lives or be integrated into existing systems.
 
  • Social proof: Reviews, recommendations, and highlighting a popular choices can be very persuasive. Reviews are also used by Google as an organic ranking factor and it helps convert visitors into leads. There are so many benefits to using your profile to showcase reviews.
 
  • Framing: Instead of one way messages that are useless or state the obvious, change the framing so that specific convenience. time savings or other benefits are the focus that show someone how their problem can be solved.
 
  • Associations: Demonstrating that you use or have associations with premium brands, market leading products, new technology or even items that are environmentally friendly can help build trust, but also appeal to people looking for those specific things. 

How do you do a post on a Google Business Profile?

Creating a post on a Google Business Profile is quick and easy – you can do it via your web browser or the free mobile phone app. It makes it quick, easy and simple to upload photos, ask for a review, update your business information and see how many people are finding you. Every post can contain lots of text that is written about your business, product or service, videos, photos & even links to your website.

You essentially use it to create traffic to your business without all the hinderances that most social media platforms create. The added benefit is that if you do it correctly you can grow the volume of local search traffic to your website. You can read more about it here.

Will you start using your Google Business profile now?

What I have found in my experience is that business owners use social media almost as a vanity metric ‘Oh I have 5,000 followers’ and hand it off to a junior in their office to manage or pay a social media manager. Although they never stop and consider what value is it generating for the brand or whether it even creates leads.

Meanwhile, the free tool provided by Google to get your information on the internet where most people do their research to buy, compare & choose products or services gets left alone – that’s despite it being just as quick and easy to post onto a Google Business Profile as it is on social media.

Commercially it doesn’t make sense, especially when the time & effort could be growing the volume of people discovering your brand which they probably won’t be doing via social media.

Paul D'Ambra

Paul D'Ambra

I love to re-energise businesses by injecting energy into their marketing using data-driven consumer insights. I’ve motivated start-ups, small business owners and six-figure corporate brands to deliver incredible marketing impact.

Whether you are a start-up or existing business, you may find yourself stuck and unsure how to execute to achieve your goals. Is your business in need of an overhaul? Maybe you need help managing workflows? Are you struggling to understand the value of your business and the direction it needs to grow & flourish?

I can solve that for you

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