Karl “Web Genius” Steinmann here. I’ve been doing traditional SEO/SEM/social media marketing for a long time. I've ranked pages, videos and even whole sites to page one, number one on Google. I've spent years in the trenches doing all the dirty jobs, from content creation to backlink generation. Recently, I've spent a lot of time on social media, which, as many will agree, is an additional huge and largely worthless time suck. I've even dominated the entire first page of Google, controlling ten out of ten slots! Few SEO firms can deliver anything like that. The upshot is, I know of what I speak.
So here's the thing: In my considered opinion (and I know this is going to be controversial) professionals and small businesses operators have been thoroughly deceived by the industry about SEO/SEM/social media marketing. In fact, I have come to the rather radical conclusion that for most, online marketing is a more or less complete and utter waste of time and money!
Here's a staggering fact for you. Approximately 65% of web searchers on Google ARE NOT clicking on the organic search results these days. That's right, they're clicking on the ADs!
Now we can argue about whether that's a fixed game or not (it is), and whether “the big G” has become a self-serving enterprise (so much for it's vaunted “ethics”), though I think the evidence very clearly shows that it has. But the point is, what Google has done is make it so that with the very best SEO/social strategy in the world – will get only a piece of 35% of the traffic. And that's, of course, assuming you have put in the time/money to get high up on page one to begin with. It's a glorious dream few will ever achieve on their own.
So, to put it bluntly… the game is rigged. The social media “masters” have conned you, and Google will “f” you. It's a matter of time, and it's just that simple.
Trying to get free traffic from Google, in decent quantity, is enough to drive men mad. It nearly put me over the edge, and you may be feeling the same way. But what's a business person supposed to do? Well, stick with me, because the affordable, rational solution is below…
Now, let's examine why I said it – and what's to be done about it.
There's a massive ecosystem (I call it, only half kiddingly, the “Social SEO Industrial Complex”) that has sprung up around social media, and the promotion of same. It seems to be all the rage still, and has been for some time. There are countless social sharing sites, tools and methods, and an endless din of mostly self-professed “experts,” all telling you what new and cool social networks you should be using – in addition to the old ones, of course.
They'll tell you how many pieces of content you should be pushing out every week, how to promote said content, point you towards all the “latest and greatest” social media tools (usually $25+/mo., or more)… and remind you time and time again how freakin' glorious it all is, and will be for you, if you just keep at it for the next… say, year or so.
Can you see why I say “social media sucks?”
The good news is, there's an easy, cost effective, less intensive and expensive way around this nightmare. I'll explain it below…
The stats are in, people, and if you still need convincing that Facebook should be a key piece of your small business marketing strategy – if not, in fact, the key piece – then the following infographic should make it all crystal clear.
Here are the key points (as shown), with commentary.
• People aged 35 years and above now represent over 30% of the Facebook crowd.
The “kids” are leaving Facebook for Instagram, Path, Pocket and Pinterest, but that's more than OK, since it's the 30-somethings that have the serious intent and money to spend.
Many small business owners have mistaken ideas about social media marketing. Some believe it is “only for the big boys.” Others think “it is a waste of time for small businesses.” A few even believe both. But nothing could be further from the truth.
See what I mean – and what you need to know – in our fast, FREE, “no pitch” Social Media Marketing Webinar. All you're going to be hit with is great, eye-opening info. Period.
Not only is social media and social media marketing important to any and all businesses that are serious about their marketing, it is increasingly becoming a critical factor and focus of any small business marketing strategy. Social media marketing justifies it's own existence by having a far better ROI than traditional media. But it does so much more for a business than just improving the bottom line – as if that wasn't enough in and of itself!
Social media marketing improves everything you're doing to promote your business online – and off! Sure, it creates buzz and virility, building your brand and making customers into evangelists. If all it did was that, it would probably be enough. But social media also amplifies and enhances SEO and “standard” web marketing. Social signals tell Google and the other search engines and directories that your site and/or content is valuable and useful.
You've probably heard the expression “the sum is greater than the whole of the parts.” It means all the pieces, when brought together, create a dynamic synergy that is greater than anything those pieces could do alone, even if running in tandem but independently of each other. Social media and social media marketing – done the right way – is the juice that creates that incredible synergy.
In our free webinar, we show you why you cannot afford to ignore social media or dabble at it. In some ways, social media marketing is now more important that your website – and that's assuming you're not one of the 50%+ of small business owners/managers that are still lacking even one of those!
Here are some social media marketing factoids you should know that will be touched on in the webinar:
2/3 of online adults use social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn regularly (Pew).
Facebook now has over 1 billion members and over 500 million active users.
93% of customers expect companies to have a social presence (Cone).
61% of small businesses active in social media found that social media marketing brought them new business and repeat customers (Network Solutions).
There are many more startling and I would hope motivating facts and figures to be found in the webinar, and here on this site, all presented without pitch or hype. It's pure, valuable information. What you do with it is up to you.
At imaWebGenius, we know that Social Media Marketing is no longer kid's play – not that it ever was. The new reality and simple facts of life are that if you want to be achieve a maximum level of success online – or even a moderate one – you simply must do it, and do it right.
Note: if you are already doing some things online (with your site, social, or both) and want to get an objective assessment of how well your efforts are faring in the eyes of Google, then I suggest you check out the infographics and information in our Small Business Marketing – Did You Know? series.