Given that I make a living by providing SEO, SEM, and social media consulting, it probably will not come as a shock to learn that my answer to the question in the title is that do-it-yourself social media marketing is over hyped as an easy to implement customer acquisition tool.
Social media is a great tool for connecting with existing prospects and customers. It is also an effective resource for reinforcing your credibility as a vendor or service provider. However, social media marketing is not the easy path to acquiring new customers that some article writers and conference speakers seem to suggest. While there are plenty of examples of effective social media campaigns, most of the successful efforts have been driven by a major expenditure of time and effort. There is a reason that there are over 1 million results on Google for the term “social media is a time suck”.
A vivid illustration of the effort required to reach a wide audience is provided by statistic supplied by Technorati. They found that over half of the top authority bloggers post five or more times per day. According to Eric Enge, President of the Stone Temple SEO consulting agency, “There is no question that social media is not free. Success in social media requires real effort. For many businesses which must choose between marketing initiatives, other approaches may be more effective“.
In discussing social media, Joey Stawn states, “You don’t just magically wake up one day and have 13,768 followers on Twitter the same way you don’t wake up one day and magically understand everything there is to know about marriage. It’s not easy.”
A key reason reaching a new audience via social media is so difficult is due to competition with the massive quantity of content being generated, much of which is being published by savvy social media types that have learned the tricks of getting their posts viewed. According to a Search Engine Land article there are an average of 700 Facebook and 600 Twitter updates every second of the day.
There is a major exception to my suggestion that do-it-yourself social media marketing is unlikely to be effective as a customer acquisition tool. Successful results can be produced by social media content that is hyper targeted upon terms for which there is little competition. As an example from the real estate field, social media content about a popular term such as “short sales” is unlikely to ever be viewed outside of your network of “friends”. However, content about “short sales in the Shady Pines subdivision of Smallville” may have a chance of reaching new prospective customers. But the development of content that drives a successful social media campaign, even for hyper targeted terms, usually requires a big time investment. If you are still unsuccessful to get followers on your social media pages then you can consider getting free instagram likes daily with the help of paid Instagram campaign.
The primary use of do-it-yourself social media campaigns should be for connecting with your existing network of prospects and customers. Further, do not be seduced by the minimal media placement costs. The time required to create great content and manage a network of connections can be an enormous time drain. If you are planning to launch a social media marketing campaign, consider hiring a professional to assist with strategy setting, site development, and results tracking.