The Most Dangerous Studies About Social Media for YOUR Business
I need to get something off my chest.
I have read multiple “studies”, posts and articles recently that are saying these are the best times to post on social media platforms and the best number of posts to make. They qualify it by saying we studied 320 top brands in the world, or 350,000 tweets, or some other group that has nothing to do with YOUR business.
These studies are then reposted ad nauseum by hordes of media, bloggers and social media “experts”.
So Why Are these “Studies” so Dangerous for your business?
These posts are dangerous because they study what a small group, a group that doesn’t resemble small to medium sized businesses, or a nebulous average that has NOTHING to do with what is best for YOUR business.
The simple fact is that nothing works universally. If there was something that was universally the best we wouldn’t be seeing all these social media “experts”. A comprehensive study or two, follow what the study says is the perfect time, place, length and number of tweets. Automate it and sit back and become billionaires.
Marketing doesn’t work that way and yes Social media is marketing.
If the people posting these articles were either; a) real experts or b) honest about their approach to content marketing, they would be telling you to test. Then test again. Then test again to find out what works best for YOUR business, your niche, your goals, your objective, your city, and most importantly your customers.
So who is doing these Social Media “studies”
The studies I have seen have come from Bitly, Yesmail, and others. The straw that broke the camels back for me came from Buddy Media entitled “Strategies for Effective Tweeting”.
Here is my rant about the Buddy Media study:
Yes Coca Cola and Ford can get away with tweeting once or twice a day, but YOU can’t. THEY have millions of built in followers and advertising budgets in the hundreds of millions to drive traffic and build attention FOR their social media accounts.
YOU are not one of the top 320 brands in the world. YOU are a small business that needs to build a following, inform, perform customer service, influence, and drive traffic with your social media.
The top people DOING BUSINESS on Twitter all tweet a minimum of twice that per day and most post 20-30-40-50-100 times per day.
Learn these names and emulate what they are doing on Twitter.
Kawasaki, Bullas, Voss, Coates, Lee, Koster, Northey, Green, Olsen, Hayes, Tran, Whitlock, Stark, Lee, Rubin, Garrett, Husong, Fitton, Waldow, Kramer, Trapani, O’Reilly, Jantsch, Moreno, Rowse, Karthick, Baer, Pencak, Schaefer, Gardner, Dodaro, Zarrella, Ross, Idugboe, Naslund, Meerman Scott, Clark, Hines, Todd, Baroudi, Brogan, Handley, Vaynerchuk, Stratten, Gilmore, Strauss, Falls, Smith, Monty, Moore, Barron, Coine, Solis, Mayer Orsburn, Ruff, Oatway, Owyang, Garst, O’Neil, Taylor, Schaffer, Farnsworth, vonRosen, Collier, Abraham, Rubel. and Penn to name a few of the best.
Most of those names are on the Forbes list of the Top 50 Power Influencers on Social Media or Ad Age’s Top 100 blogs.
Emulate what THEY are doing, not what Coca Cola or General Motors is doing UNTIL your business is the size of General Motors with a similar media budget.
So why are the Social Media “experts” posting articles about these studies?
What they are doing is being lazy. Studies like these from big names in the industry create a buzz and a buzz creates traffic. Its easier to simply post an article about a study by a big name and get traffic to your site than it is to come up with fresh content that teaches your readers.
The studies are flawed in that they do not measure what works for you and (I hope) most of these people know it. But having the names Bitly and Yesmail and Buddy Media in your article will attract attention (read SEO) and authority to the article they post about the studies from Bitly or Buddy Media..
If it seems a little dishonest, that is because it is. Well, maybe dishonest is too strong of a word. Lets use disingenuous.
Most know upfront its bad advice to give people just starting out in social media and that their readers would be better served with some good advice on when to post and how frequently to post on Twitter and Facebook.
What REAL marketing experts teach us we should be doing
Professional marketers learned one universal truth about marketing and advertising early on.
Test. And then Test again!
Test what times work best to reach YOUR target market. Test how many posts work best to fulfill your goals and purpose of being on social media. Once you have tested, test again. And keep testing to further refine what works best for you because your target market and the mediums keep evolving.
Open two accounts on Twitter. Test what times and frequency work best by utilizing different times and frequency on each.
Do a 3 month test on Facebook of posting twice as much as you currently do. What are the results? Do a 3 month test on Facebook where you post half as much as you currently do. What are the results?
Determine for your particular target market, product or service and social media purpose and goals what works best for you by testing.
Do not believe that just because it works for Ford or Coca Cola it’s going to work for you. It may, but it may be an unmitigated disaster that kills your social media efforts.
So when you see these “studies” of what the best times and frequency for posting on social media, take them with a grain of salt and go back to testing what works for you.
2 thoughts on “The Most Dangerous Studies About Social Media for Your Business”
Whilst I agree with the overall tone of your article, I’m slightly surprised that you are against emulating Ford but suggest emulating “…the top people doing business on Twitter…” What’s the difference?
I agree that one needs to be posting frequently but, personally, anything more than 20-30 tweets a day will guarantee I don’t follow you. The last thing I want is for my Twitter feed to be inundated by one person or company. The reason I use Twitter is to get a variety of perspectives, not what one person (however ‘top’ they are) thinks I should be reading about.
Thanks for your comment. i appreciate it.
Ford is a huge brand that has an incredibly large advertising budget (Over $1.2 BILLION in 2011) to drive attention to its social media efforts. Seeing advertisements with social media logos is what drives their social media efforts, not organic growth of their social media presence. Those billions of dollars spent on advertising have led to millions of followers/fans and hence why they can get away with a few posts per day.
Small businesses on social media cannot rely on the methods that drive business for Ford or other large brands with huge budgets. They need to emulate the people that started as a small business on social media that have grown large and active followings.
The simple fact is the most successful people on Twitter post alot. If some people unfollow them then they are not their market, but they continue to post 4 or more times what the study of these huge brands like Ford says is optimum. That is what built their following. That is what is driving revenue for them.
Just goes to show that what works for big companies doesnt always/normally work for small business.