I've been observing a pattern over the last year that I believe is quite disturbing… the shaming of companies by respected leaders in the marketing industry when they decide to reduce or change up their social media or content strategies.
I'm honestly getting tired of it.
Here's a recent Twitter update from LUSH UK that does an incredible job of describing their challenge as a business and how they're going to respond to it. Please click through and read the entire chain of updates.
We're switching up social.
Increasingly, social media is making it harder and harder for us to talk to each other directly. We are tired of fighting with algorithms, and we do not want to pay to appear in your newsfeed. pic.twitter.com/nJUzG0lham
— LUSH UK (@LushLtd) April 8, 2019
Don't stop there, though. Read the entire, thoughtful thread. Then read how marketing leaders are responding. I think their criticism and negative responses aren't just irresponsible, they're downright negligent.
These social media and content marketers sell social media and content. Good for them, but that doesn't mean that their strategy works for every company. It doesn't.
It's as if social media and content marketing are the CBD oils of the marketing industry… the remedy for every ailment that's impacting your business. They're not.
Douglas Karr, DK New Media
I am the CMO for hire for multiple companies. I've worked with everyone from GoDaddy, Dell, and Chase down to regional pest control and roofing companies. For some companies, a robust social and content strategy made excellent economic sense. The return on investment for growing awareness and communicating with the massive audience or community they have is fantastic.
But that's not every company.
Here's a surprise for you. I'm one of those companies.
Content and social strategies enable me to maintain a presence in my industry. The recognition and awareness help my business, but absolutely do not generate more revenue than the time and expense of creative content production and social media. Heck, you'll rarely even see a video from me anymore. And yes… you can criticize my online presence all day long… and find a ton that could be improved or done better.
But after 11 years in business, I'll tell you this… I could speak at every event, be on every marketing list, news jack every social media outrage, and write two amazing blog posts a day… and it doesn't even come close to matching the revenue I attain by networking and word of mouth. I've spent an inordinate amount of money, effort, and time with people in my industry to design, develop, and produce amazing content and – while it got me attention, it didn't pay the bills. I've had full-time designers, content writers, social media consultants, and videographers do incredible work for me. It didn't work. Period.
What Works For Me
The results that I'm able to attain my clients, the quality of the output of work, the value of that work, and the word of mouth they provide my business has led to every large engagement that my business has had.
Nothing else even comes close. Nothing.
So, for many of my clients, I've actually advised against investing heavily social media and content strategies. That's right… I said it.
- I had a young startup that was reaching beauticians. Guess what? Beauticians are on their feet all day trying to make ends meet. They weren't reading articles or social media updates… they were working their butts off. However, those successful beauticians would absolutely take time off to go to conferences to see the latest technologies. We talked them out of spending money with me and told them to do more conferences! And it worked.
- My local companies perform incredibly well by reaching out to customers and requesting ratings and reviews than participating in social media and pushing content. So, we've built a finite content library based on seasonality and we continue to enhance their articles that are scheduled and rescheduled via their blog and social media. I see double-digit growth for both of the companies we've done this for via search engine traffic. No new content, no full-time social media presence… just an effective baseline of advice with every other effort going to customer service and personal engagement.
- I have another company that watches weather updates, then canvasses neighborhoods impacted by storms to do free inspections. You know what works better than social media and content marketing for them? Door hangars. Huge return on investment.
- I have a fledgling tech startup that is starving for resources and have absolutely no way of beating the massive competitors in their market that spend millions and have teams of people. Instead of wasting time with a production line of content and social, we spend a month… sometimes more… on producing and promoting a single piece of content. Guess what? It's working. That content has been shared and found and has driven more MQLs than any other strategy.
- I have an extremely successful technology company that's recognized globally as the leader in their industry for innovation. We worked hard on incredible content that was shared a ton in the industry. You know what performed better? Brochures mailed to executives. Why? Because while their employees were researching online and knew about the company, they mostly worked with partners and kickbacks so they wouldn't get the message in front of their decision-makers. We went over their heads and it worked.
- I have another company that has virtually no social or content presence online. Instead, they invest heavily in client success and support staff and make working with them amazing. Not too different from Zappos or Apple… they make a customer experience that's so amazing that customers become their marketing advocates. Are you shaming those companies?
- I've worked with highly regulated industries that could NOT even come close to sharing content online about their industry, their technology, or their customers. Period. We were forced to use other strategies to drive awareness, acquisition, and retention. For one client, we developed a mobile application that would assist their research teams with difficult calculations and conversions. It worked beautifully.
- I've seen technology companies that get mentions by Forrester and Gartner achieve more leads and closes than an entire year of social and content production. I realize that's still content… but let's face it… its mostly building a reputation and relationship with analysts that will get you that type of mention. I hate to break the news, but not all analysts are waiting for your next tweet or blog post.
- I have another company who doubled their business with a terrible website, no search visibility, no content, and no social media strategies – and you're going to gasp at how. They get leads from partner companies, cold call the prospect, and close tons of business. One of the outbound sales people that works there closed $8 million in business last year. Off of cold calls.
Before you throw me to the lions, of course I'm not saying that social and content won't work… but they're not a one size fits all solution.
Budget, timeline, competition, timing, resources, industry… all of these things need considered for whether or not social media and content strategies are effective for your business.
I'm seeing a lot of businesses shift resources from social media to customer service, from content production to conferences, sponsorships, influencer marketing, and other strategies. It's their business and they're doing what they have measured and seen work.
Not every business can conquer social media or write amazing content. Stop shaming companies when they move to strategies that work better for them.
Perhaps what bothers me the most is that the people who are the first to shame these businesses are the people selling social media and content strategies and have NO insight into the company and how it works. That's truly irresponsible… you're just attacking anyone that opposes the way you make money.
Instead of shaming companies, go find companies that you can sell your services to that need your help and can make a difference.
That's not everyone.
Stop shaming companies.