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Social Media Marketing Requires Being Selective

Stored in: Online Marketing and tagged:
Online Communities

Social media marketing is a strategy that targets users of Facebook, Pinterest and other sites that allow people talk to each other online.

But maybe, just maybe, it misses the bigger picture and sends online marketers down the second-best path.

Veteran online marketers know that Facebook and Pinterest are two of dozens and even hundreds of websites that gather people with a common purpose.

Yes, Facebook is the largest with more than 200 million monthly U.S. visitors, but it’s not alone. And Facebook’s uncertain future after major privacy mistakes makes it necessary to look for other social media options.

Other Big Players

WordPress.com, Answers.com and Tumblr.com each have more than 50 million unique visitors a month who blog, comment, answer questions and otherwise communicate with people who visit that site. (Statistics from Quantcast.com)

One of the major remaining content networks, Hubpages, has more than 30 million uniques combined.

Social activity requires a way to communicate. All of these sites offer some form of communication and the means for registered members to participate in some way and on a regular basis.

The tools may be somewhat different, and the presentation varies from site to site, but they all have one thing in common. They are communities.

Online community marketing is a more accurate description of a strategy that targets websites where people gather and communicate in large numbers.

Effective online marketing requires investing money, time and labor in creating a presence on those sites for the sake of:

  • Building brand
  • Attracting visitors to the core site
  • Generating revenue on the core site

And other reasons. Each option also requires a judgment about how much time and money to invest in them.

How Valuable is Facebook?

That raises the question about the RELATIVE value of Facebook and whether it is worth as much effort as some people put into it.

I have seen audience statistics for many dozens of sites. Some of them invest considerable effort in building a Facebook presence.

Nearly all of them see marginal benefit from the effort.

That benefit is usually in the form of unique visitors who click from Facebook posts to the website that originated the content. In most cases, the total number of visitors is well under 10 percent of total traffic. In many cases it is well under five percent of the total.

Many producers of these Facebook pages have been disappointed in the results and have cut back their efforts. They now see Facebook as a secondary promotional channel.

It is worthy of some time and attention. For some sites, it is worthy of a lot. For many, it is worthy of a little.

Take a hard look at what Facebook returns. Increase the effort if it provides a meaningful payback. Decrease the effort if it does not. If it does not, invest the time and effort in other online communities.

But don’t make the mistake of thinking the effort should go only into social media. It should go wherever there are large and vibrant online communities.

Which Sites to Choose

I have been struck by how some communities provide benefit with marginal effort.

It is becoming more apparent that the topic of a site influences which communities it should pursue.

News sites get some attention from Facebook for people who talk about issues. Therefore it makes sense to target news and issue-oriented Facebook people and groups.

Travel and fashion sites get benefit from Pinterest because people like to see photos of places they have visited or would like to visit, or they just like to look at beautiful people wearing beautiful clothes.

Learn, experiment and try again.

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