Nobody is going to follow you on Instagram. Or Facebook. Or Pinterest. Or Twitter. Do you know why? Most people don't.

In today's world, social media is the "shiny new toy"--just like radio was in the 1920s, and television in the 1950s, and on and on the story goes with new marketing tools constantly being added in to the mix. A perfect example is how ballistic the world went when they realized Pokémon Go was taking over the world, and businesses could turn themselves into Pokéstops. I had a guy pitch me that his agency specialized in "Pokémon Go" marketing. Apparently that's a thing now. 

What brands and businesses don't seem to understand (and this is truly mind-blowing) is that just because there are 150 million+ users on Snapchat, doesn't mean you should spend 3 hours a day there. Just because Pokémon Go is the most popular app in the world right now, doesn't mean you should invest your money into "Pokémon Go marketing."

And you're asking, "How come? Why not?"

I'll tell you exactly why not:  That's not where your customers are.

If you are a real estate broker, and you're trying to sell luxury condos, chances are you're not going to make a sale on Snapchat. You might--oh, there are always the exceptions to the rule. But seeing as Snapchat's primary demographic leans younger, I'm going to go out on a limb and say most 13-28 year olds aren't really in a financial position to purchase a $1.3M condo. 

In simpler language: Let's say you are a construction company in, I don't know, Texas. You want to let the good people of Dallas know you exist, right? So you think to print up a whole bunch of flyers. Tons of them. Stacks and stacks because you want awareness. But then instead of posting them around the Dallas area, you ship them to your friend who lives up in Chicago, and he posts them all over the city there: "New Construction Company, Now Open In Dallas!" That makes absolutely no sense, am I right? In this example, you can pretty clearly see how sending all your marketing materials to Chicago was a very poor business decision. Sure, a lot of people in Chicago now know you exist, but the chances that they will ever be in need of your services is pretty slim. They don't live in Texas.

For some reason, we don't think this way when it comes to the Internet. It's the reason why "digital marketing agencies" are a dime a dozen. Last week, I had another guy call and say that he was a "Snapchat expert marketer." As a softball, just to see how "expert" he really was, I said, "Wow, that sounds really intriguing. I know Snapchat is becoming really popular. How many users do they have now? Is it more than Twitter?"

"Pssshhh," he said. "Tons more than Twitter. Snapchat is massive!"

False. Snapchat has around 150 million users. Twitter has around 300 million. Is Snapchat massive? Yes. Did this guy have any idea what he was talking about? Not a clue.

My point is, what's sad is that brands and businesses are, especially the big ones, run by people who are not fluent in the digital language. I can't tell you how many people I've met who open the marketing conversation with, "I have no idea how Facebook works. I just know we should be on it." Ok, yes, but maybe not. It depends on where your customers are, and at what point they are most likely to convert. Maybe that's Facebook, maybe that's Twitter, or maybe it's not social media at all because you sell life insurance and nobody makes that kind of decision while browsing their Twitter feed.

This is the biggest problem with digital marketing. Internet popularity has become the end-all. Everybody wants it. And what's amazing is that some businesses and brands seem to want it more than they want to actually drive business results. It's like they can't stand the thought of not having a massive following on Instagram because that's where all the "cool" brands are.

But here's the thing: If your customers aren't on Instagram, and that's not where you're going to actually increase sales of your product(s) or services, then who cares?

Social media is a tool, just like radio, just like television.

If that's not where your customers are, then why in the world are you spending money there?

Published on: Aug 1, 2016
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