It’s been said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing repeatedly but expecting different results.
Keep that in mind as you read the next few lines…
In the early 1990s, America Online (AOL) spent over $300 million in mailing CDs to everyone’s mailbox. According to then-CMO Jan Brandt:
At one point, 50% of the CD’s produced worldwide had an AOL logo on it. We were logging in new subscribers at the rate of one every six seconds.
In a decade, AOL rose to over 25 million users — an unbelievable number at the time. They were the hottest company in the world. And they began opening up new opportunities for brands to reach consumers.
Companies raced to build up their AOL brand pages, and you would see “AOL” all over the commercials.
But eventually it fell out of favor (like every social network to date), and lost users in droves. Those huge marketing investments companies made into AOL was wasted — because it was a “closed system”. All the data and user information belonged to AOL, not the companies who worked so hard to build it in the first place.
Today, we have the same exact thing going on with Facebook.
Companies love talking about “Likes” and promoting their pages wherever they can. But here’s the problem…
Facebook is starting to double-tax you to reach your own fans. According to the NY Observer,
“Facebook acknowledged it as recently as last week: messages now reach, on average, just 15 percent of an account’s fans. In a wonderful coincidence, Facebook has rolled out a solution for this problem: Pay them for better access.” “As their advertising head, Gokul Rajaram, explained, if you want to speak to the other 80 to 85 percent of people who signed up to hear from you, “sponsoring posts is important.”
So if you want to reach more of your own fans — the ones you already spent time, money and energy acquiring in the first place — you have to PAY AGAIN with advertising.
That doesn’t seem very logical, does it?
Getting referral traffic from Facebook is great. And using it to reach new people, while also increasing engagement and retaining customers is good too.
But don’t throw a lot of money down the drain by investing in a closed system that you don’t own or control.
If you’re looking for awareness, then track visits, not “Likes.” If you’re looking for sales from repeat visitors, then use email marketing, not Facebook.
Because social media has changed the medium — not the principles.
And timeless marketing strategies still apply
JG adds…consider using Cost Per Hire as your social recruiting metric and SourceMob can show you how to do this.