Confession of a Digital Marketer – 2017

Social media is a good brand communication channel that breaks down the information about a product and services into a more straightforward but frequent method. As a digital marketer, I have experienced a gradual increase in the social media adoption in a brand’s marketing mix working with about with 400+ brands at various verticals and business sizes, I could see. Predominantly, SME’s see social media as a sales tool over an engagement tool. I don’t deny that Social media platforms can also generate leads, but only at a cost. Now the point is, does an SME has a considerable amount of budget and time to streamline Social media campaigns as a lead generator for their sales funnels. SME’s or startups entering social media as their only lead generation source to support their funnel they might end up in disappointment.

Digital marketing companies generate content and post it on handles expecting magic in sales and revenues. Many marketers will agree that without a post-boost, the cost spent on content will not see the required reach and engagement. As per a recent research done by Buzzsumo brand pages are seeing a 20% decline in their organic engagement. I honestly suspect the degrowth of the organic engagement is much more than the findings in the last qtr of the year 2017. I am sure that Facebook claims the lower organic reach is because of the algorithm that designed based on 1000 factors that are related to an audience on their newsfeed since its attempt of feeding the most relevant content to the customer.

Suspecting that Facebook is trying to make more money by forcing the brands to increase the spend per post for a higher reach and engagement? Let’s read their quote in one of their QA’s

“Is organic reach dropping because Facebook is trying to make more money?
No. Our goal is always to provide the best experience for the people who use Facebook. We believe that delivering the best experiences for people also benefits the businesses that use Facebook. If people are more active and engaged with stories that appear in News Feed, they are also more likely to be active and engaged with content from businesses.”

I went and looked at a comparison between Q3 2016 Net Income vs the Q3 2017 Net income. There is an excess net income of 2,000 Mn USD comparatively to this year’s Q3 against last year Q3. So the quote mentioned above from Facebook is as innocent as saying Iraq had WMD’s and Donald Trump is a better president.

The only problem with the dominant social media & search platforms I see is that they consistently are encouraging SME’s across the globe to spend more than the larger brands. Because the smaller brands will spend their money quickly in a day or a week, so the platforms can accommodate as many SME’s to spend their money on them, Also the bid rate increases between the number of people ready to invest for their demography and target audience they wanted to reach. Hence leading to a gradual increase in the budget spent by SME’s every year on year but end up with low return on investment.

These paid platforms built their revenue engine based on the large chunk of small brands rather than the small chunk of the large brands. Till then we would be coming across similar media articles encouraging SME’s to spend more on their platforms. That reminds me of the market failure and the Information asymmetry that helps only these social platforms and search engines to be on the side of benefit.

So the best possible digital marketing strategy for SME’s is to create strong digital assets and have a consistent, long-term but multi-channel digital marketing strategy which focuses on brand reach and impressions alone. Use all the social media platforms as a free content distribution space where you usually spend ad budget on one or two platforms to increase the reach. Lets honestly agree that sales are the by-product of the effective communication that you usually run through the awareness campaign. The large organizations whom so ever already spending a considerable amount of budget now have to focus on the optimisation of the campaign to have the best possible ROI on the usual quantity of the budget spent. Large organizations have to set goals and map their budget spent against the revenues and the demography of the business for continuous improvement.

For businesses, it’s important to realize that Social media could also be a place where they can generate leads and sales, but it shouldn’t be the only place where business are trying to establish their sales. It would be a disappointment. And also for brands, Paid campaign is not a long-term solution since the cost of the paid campaigns will increase your overall ad budget year on year which will have a major impact on your margins. So balance your current marketing ad budget spent on both paid and organic campaigns, where paid campaigns will give you the immediate impact you try to create based on the budget, and you always build those strong organic assets to reduce the budget dependency of the paid campaigns in the near future.

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