Social media gimmicks you don’t need, but agencies will sell to you

When we set out to work for ourselves, we did that because a couple of reasons and one of those – freedom to do whatever we see as the right thing for ourselves, our clients and society. From time to time we’ve struggled to package our offering since it’s ever-changing and evolving. For example, for a while we had removed social media from our pitch decks entirely – just because we saw that we can add much more value elsewhere than in monthly content plans.

So here goes our shortlist:

Social media calendar

When I started my career in digital marketing my first duties where exactly these – create social media post calendars, get them approved, publish and monitor/reply to engagement on social media for the biggest brands in Latvia. Now I kinda don’t believe anymore that creating 15-20 Facebook posts per month adds any value. Especially in a market which is as small as ours (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia).

We have run tests with our performance clients – after 5-6 months of work which includes up to five posts per month we have switched to full-blown monthly calendar with 15-20 posts. Impact on business results – 0. It’s not how many posts you (or your agency) produce – it’s how many people see them and how persuasive they are.

How to test this? Stop creating content for one month and switch all budget from post creation to one (make it good) post’s promotion. You’re welcome.

Social media audit

Average social media audit: “You should create more videos, also some new topics should be introduced on your company’s Facebook page. To increase engagement you should create a bit more engaging content, maybe even run a giveaway contest from time to time.”

I have done a couple of social media audits. It was a while ago, but I still have the dirty feeling. It’s usually a bunch of bullshit on the basis of what the social media “auditor” thinks is the average approach everyone should do on Facebook.

What should you do? If you want to reach more people – use paid advertising (it’s a must on Facebook nowadays). If you want to sell more – talk about your products and why they’re better than your competitor’s. Stop using gifs and trying to be funny.

Social media metrics that don’t matter

About five years ago we were a part of new brand launch in Latvia (online retailer). We were tasked with campaign adaptation from another country, translations and local management of the campaign.

Expenses were (approximately):

  • Facebook app – 4000 €
  • Media budget – 2000 €
  • Prizes – 2000 €
  • + our fees

Result on Facebook – 5000 Likes for the page (from zero)

Business result from the campaign and page posts published later – 10 orders with average order value 70€. Yes, 800€ in marketing for each purchase that was approximately 70€.

What should you measure then? If you do any marketing activities and don’t see any change in business revenue (or at least new client inquiries, etc.), it doesn’t matter if there are likes, shares, retweets or comments. This is a very harsh example, but never focus on social media metrics like Likes, engagement etc. Look at your revenue.

Is social media waste of time then?

No. Just don’t waste time on stuff that doesn’t make sense and look for what works. Content is important, but creating content for content’s sake usually is a waste of resources (time & money).

“What will sell?” is a much harder question than “What will get likes?”, but there’s no way around it.