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How to Look Successful in Social Media While Failing at the Same Time

By Chad PollittFeb 21, 2012

Failing at Social Media MarketingIt’s a common misconception that just because someone is “popular” in social media they are successfully using it as a business development channel. These folks are typically social media addicts that spend every waking hour on one or more platforms. They talk a mean game, too, and have convinced many that they are subject matter experts in all things social media marketing. While many of them are indeed experts at the platform interfaces themselves and are very familiar with acceptable social norms when communicating, they mostly tend to lack a true strategy that consistently converts community members into leads. Around Kuno they're known as the species Expertum Social Medium.

Being popular doesn’t equal social media marketing success

Do they get business this way? Absolutely, but it’s unpredictable, spotty and cannot be scaled. If you closely examine the number of hours they spend engaging in conversation and compare it to associated website traffic, conversions, leads and customers acquired, their activities look like a waste of time. However, they are still “popular.”

How to track and scale social media marketing

Social media is not a conversion platform per se. However, some apps like TabSite allow for conversions without leaving Facebook. In most cases though, in order to convert someone in social media they need to be sent to another website, blog or landing page via a link. This is critical if the intent is to harvest communities for leads and customers. Once this strategy is deployed, tracking is as simple as the below no matter how robust the campaign.


Social Media Site Visits Visit to Lead Leads Lead to Customer Customers Visit to Customer
Twitter 11,035 2.26% 249 20.9% 52 0.5%
LinkedIn 10,588 3.05% 323 18.3% 59 0.6%
Facebook 8,257 2.10% 174 17.8% 31 0.3%
Any Others            

. . . But that’s self-promotional!

Some would say the above is a self-promotional act and has no place in social media. This is true for those “popular” folks with brochure websites and little or no true content marketing. Generation one websites tend to provide little or no valuable problem solving or entertaining content. Instead, they’re very self-promotional and tend to communicate “look how awesome we are and what we can do for you.” Very few in social media are interested in this type of content.

The “popular” people know this, that’s why they spend all of their time engaging in conversations and sharing other people’s content. Neither of those two acts helps drive consistent visitors, conversions, leads or customers.

How to spot a successful-looking social media marketing failure

This is pretty easy to do. If the person or brand in question has lots of followers, communicates prolifically with them, seems really knowledgeable and shares really great content from other people or company blogs, they must have social media marketing down, right?

Not necessarily. If that person does not produce some combination of their own blog posts, videos, webinars, podcasts, etc. on a regular basis (two or more per week for an individual and five or more for a company) they are not social media marketing leaders, but rather represent the social media echo chamber. Without their own content and downloads to share, they have very little chance of harvesting web traffic, conversions, leads or customers with their social media marketing efforts.


It is not recommended to only broadcast self-produced content. Social media channels should be populated with a combination of your content, other people’s content and conversation in order to build communities, brands, fans and followers. Some follow the one third, one third, one third rule while others subscribe to the 10-4-1 rule to build reach. Experiment with these techniques to learn what works best for you, but never forget the most critical requirement to be successful in social media – your own problem solving and/or entertaining content.



Image: hans.gerwitz



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