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Small Business: Social Media Strategy Risk

One big push I had to start Generative Steward in the world of small business consulting, was witnessing how many of my close friends were receiving the same social media marketing strategy. Social media marketers have similar packages and promises. To boost web traffic, optimize search results, drive customers to action and keep them coming back for similar actions. Recommended routes to these outcomes are all eerily similar. Blog, video blog, post your blog links to social media, incentivize customers with giveaways and click bait, invest in a website revamp providing online tools you must develop, harvest emails and execute campaign mailers. So why and where, is this cookie cutter strategy coming from? Certainty not from misaligned goals; consulting firms want to deliver results, but what they leave out is validating their analyzation of your data, which I will explain below.

How can I say this after you just reviewed all the data surrounding SEO optimization and web traffic? It makes perfect sense to tailor your media and online content to what customers are searching for. Including SEO hot words, in blogs and as topics of videos, will boost traffic to those articles and videos. Anyone can build a blog, post videos and gain traffic from doing so. The bottom line about a customer’s online habits is: activity does not mean action. Driving more people to a website that is not retaining them or converting them already, is the same thing as a bakery in Wisconsin making dozens of eclairs because demographics in Atlanta show eclairs on display bring more customers. The bakery will spend more money into producing a new product for display then the revenue generated from any new customers that noticed the éclair display. It will also take months of metrics to validate the new product and doesn’t consider any data around what customers in Wisconsin are doing.

To yield more transactions and revenue from social media, deep analytics of an industry, market, economics and performance of a company, is required first. Establishing metrics around the performance of campaigns is vital to tracking their value. After a deep dive on business strategy, a scaled social media strategy aimed at target customers, using current resources should be rolled out. Optimize what is working, provide a scale plan for the AI or big opportunities for after revenue is generated, from current traffic being converted to customers. If the perfect customer experience is a “horse” and the quantity of customers engaged is the “cart,” then creating a high quantity of customers without a perfect experience to “pull the cart,” will result in more effort and money put into the same rate of transaction. Only most businesses are left with a degenerative process that will take a bigger ratio of (maintaining social media campaigns) input: output (the revenue yielded.) Proof of concept and resource maximization are commonly left out of social media strategies and many small businesses do not have data analysts in house to cross reference social media consultants.  

Another hole in small business, social media metrics tends to be validating data. A key take-away for businesses to have: Data that is correlational is not causational; unless you have metrics that are causational in relation, do not attribute actions to results. A chart detailing (x axis) quantity of customers/traffic you receive, with number of days after launching a social media campaign (y axis,) will contain multiple measure points that reveal effectiveness of strategy and relationship building of your brand but would not be causational.

Multiple variables are left out in a correlational relationship, data evaluation. Information can be gleaned from correlational data sets, but decisions should never be made on them alone. A lot of metrics pulled from Google Analytics and SEO optimization apps are correlational in relationship. For example, traffic sourced from Facebook is often not broken down to person or post but accumulated to campaign/pay to boost post. An example of a data variable that is commonly left out of social media analytics, your social-media-star cousin sharing your campaign post, as the real driver to the posts traffic and not the effectiveness of the campaign. Or perhaps the webpage that Facebook was directing customers to before your social media website revamp, had a broken web form or error, after the error was fixed the traffic and activity on the page resumed but this is attributed to the social media campaign and not the web page correction. Multiple scenarios can attribute to social media success and they all need to be explored before value can be assessed.

If you have any questions about your social media strategy, please reach out! I always answer general questions and am happy to provide resources or a consultation on your data.

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