February 24, 2014

Why I Have A Blog, A Facebook Page, And A Twitter Account

People often accuse me of being hypocritical. They say I am constantly whining about online advertising yet I have all the online gizmos.

They say, "If social media is not an effective business driver, why do you have a blog, a Facebook page and a Twitter feed?"

Or, "If online advertising isn't a very good business driver, why do you have a website?"

The answer is, there are certain costs associated with being in business. You need business cards, you need a sign over the door, and you need office furniture. These items do not create much in the way of sales but are essential to doing business.

Online presence has become one of these.

Those of us who were around in the middle 90's can remember when having a website was thought to be the magical road to success. Some companies that announced they were launching a website actually saw their stock prices increase. Today, a company launching a website is greeted with as much excitement as announcing they are painting the break room.

With the exception of online retailers, having a website today is understood to offer a business advantage of pretty close to zero. And yet every company has one. Why? It is a cost of doing business.

The same is true of social media. Five years ago every company in the world was rushing headlong into social media with the expectation that magic would ensue. In fact, while there have been a handful of notable successes, the advantages that social media offered most companies were small if at all, and have continued to provide diminishing returns as every company, every organization, and every individual on the planet now has some kind of social media presence.

It has become clear that a Facebook page or a blog is not the fabulous sales driver we were all promised. It's not much more than an online business card.

Adopting a technological innovation does not necessarily lead to a marketing advantage. Often times it just represents a new cost of doing business.

A perfect example is the telephone. When first introduced, having a telephone must have seemed to be a remarkable business advantage. But as every business quickly acquired one, having one provided no business advantage at all. It just became a new cost.

Just like traditional advertising, it's pretty hard for most businesses to draw a straight line between a website, a Facebook page, or a Twitter feed, and sales results.

You don't have them because they are the magic that all the bullshit artists promised.

You have them for the same reason you have a business card -- because you kinda have to.


Guest said...

nowadays, if we come to a pitch without a Facebook "activities" (yes, that's what clients call it) we lose automatically.
regardless of it being appropriate or not for the advertised product.

crane operators? we need Facebook page!
welding machines? we need a Twitter campaign.
sperm donations? donate and like us.

this is the damage that digital "experts" created.

Fscavo said...

Bob, fully agree. Plus I think another response is to point out what you spend on your web, social media, and Facebook activities. I'm guessing it is well under 100 dollars a month

Donovan Moore said...

It's always the product. Too many people forget that.

Damian Simor said...

Very true. You could say the same thing about advertising too..

Lawrence Perry said...

This is about reputation management, and Chandler Ray Solicitors of Buckingham, UK are a very good law firm. I know them personally and I use them for conveyancing.

Kate Richardson said...

The most frustrating thing is that so many clients are clueless about this because they don't actually use any of these platforms themselves. They haven't even spent 5 minutes watching a tutorial.

Can you imagine a client advertising on a local TV channel they've never watched? Or in a major magazine they've never flicked through or seen on a newsstand?

Patrick McNease said...

Haha I love your brutal honesty and I agree with you. Thank you for adding value to my day.

David S said...

Only if you consider time as having no cost. That's the real scam of online presence, that's it's "cheap". In fact if you multiplied your time by your billable rate, you might be shocked how "uncheap" social activities really are.

Jedi Gorilla said...

Yes. Exactly. And while we're on the subject, let's talk about those useless Yellow Pages. Or signs! Oh man, road signs are just the worst. But I guess you kinda have to have one. For that matter, a name for your business is total bullshit too. I make things. I don't have to have a name. It's just those Madison Avenue types telling me I need one, right?

... I enjoy most of your posts, but this one is the "best." I mean, on the 27th you say yourself that the Web is a "Much better yellow pages." The Yellow Pages were only the primary source of new and repeat business for a quarter century. And saying the Web is much better than them for helping people learn about the location, hours, services and the very existence of your company means absolutely nothing. Really, when was the last time you got directions or a phone number, NOT on the web.

Jon P said...

Everything is a cost of doing business if your communications are uninspiring. But it's a lot cheaper to be uninspiring on a blog than on network TV.

Conversely, there are a lot of inspiring people and businesses who can't afford to run TV spots, yet I'm aware of them because they have blogs worth reading. In fact, that reminds me of one.

Kate Houston/trysweettalk said...

I post your blogs on LinkedIn often. I wonder if you could get "recommend" button for that site as well?