Why Social Media is Overrated
If you’re like me, you had that one “friend” growing up who was actually a bully. The friend who wanted you around but decided what you played, when, and sometimes even with who.
The worst part for me was when I realized I was her last resort for her as a friend.
I was convenient (I lived across a street - well really a highway) and my family didn’t do a whole lot or go to too many places so I was usually available whenever. If her other friends weren’t available, Kristi was! I’ll never forget that I actually believed her when she said her brothers would beat me up if I didn’t do what she wanted (they were both in high school when we were in upper elementary but probably the nicest guys you’ll meet). As the baby and only girl, she was pretty used to getting what she wanted. She was also bigger than me.
The day that I finally realized that she wasn’t a good friend to have and told her we couldn’t be friends anymore was very liberating (I even made her cry but not intentionally).
I felt the same way when I stopped offering social media as part of my services. Why?
Although social media can be great for business, it’s not made for business. It’s made for consumers. Its main job is to make the account holders happy and continue to be on their platform. Email on the other hand is much more neutral.
I look at it this way: Social media is like the mean, popular girls from high school and email is like a bouncer to a club.
“We only show your content on Wednesdays”
Why compare social media to mean girls? Let’s take a scene from the movie - Regina says that on Wednesdays they can only wear pink. She’s setting the rules. She decides who gets to date whom, and everything is done her way. Social media is the same. They control the algorithm. You want your posts to be seen? You’d better have an active group of followers, extremely relevant content consistently, or be willing to pay (a lot) to play (or be seen anyways). Not to mention, if you lose consistency, you basically have to start all over. Even on your personal feed I bet you’ve noticed friends you haven’t seen post in a while. They’re probably still posting - you either didn’t interact with their posts enough or they’re posting things the algorithm doesn’t think interest you.
“I’m on the email list”
Email on the other hand can seem intimidating but it’s all about who you know and who knows you. Just like a bouncer at a club, the ESPs (email service providers or the people who give you an inbox) are protective of your inbox. That’s why they created SPAM folders and features to block emails. Bouncers hold the list of people who are allowed to be in someone’s inbox and that list is created by the account holder. They don’t directly create the list but by what they open, reply to, send to, and click within. For example, if someone opens your email every time you send it, you’ll always be in the inbox (or, for my Gmail users, at the very least their Promotions folder) until they unsubscribe. Want a quicker way to the inbox? Encourage Gmail users to drag your email from their Promotions tab to their Inbox or others to add your email to their contacts list. You’ll be instantly VIP listed.
So while social media platforms are ok for business marketing, don’t put all your eggs in that basket. Something I’ve heard other marketers say is “what happens if that platform goes away tomorrow?” It can happen - remember MySpace? For years people have been trying to say email is dead, but I can assure you, it’s very much alive and well.
I’m also not saying that it’s email or nothing, but if email isn’t in your overall marketing strategy, you’re missing a key element. And if you’re asking for emails and NOT using them properly or at all, it’s never too late to start.
Thoughts from Me
Tips, advice, and more from my experience as a copywriter, marketer, and small business owner.