Friday, October 5, 2012

Is Web Marketing a Waste of Time?

I really wanted to title this piece, "Is Web Marketing a Load of Crap?" but I think the graphic would have turned too many people off.

 But I'm really steamed:

- In the last two weeks, my Web traffic has dropped by 50 percent. As far as I can tell, I haven't done anything differently. But part of the problem could be my over-dependence on Social Media to generate traffic. These services -- Facebook, Linked In, and Twitter -- can and do change policies and features as they see fit. They also seem to be over-saturated with users generating useless crap. (OK, I'm as guilty as anyone) I'm investing a lot of time in these services, what if they go belly up? What if they decide they don't like me and cancel my account? What there's a technical glitch I can't figure out -- where's the tech support? (Typically, we're reduced to Googling for help from other users.) Maybe it's just me, but I get the impression that their loyalty isn't to us customers who aren't paying them a nickel.

Here are my specific beefs as they relate to my online book marketing:

- My Facebook posts are being seen by half as many people. (A statistic called Reach, which used to average about 400 people, is now down to 200. I still have more than 2,000 fans, but only 1/10 of them are seeing my posts.) Here's a possible explanation that proves that I'm not insane. All I know is bad news about the company's stock price appears in the WSJ all too frequently. The company seems very concerned about its shareholders, but seems to have no compunction about screwing over Fan Page owners by limiting the number of our own Fans that we can reach.

- Linked In just introduced what appears to be another useless feature called "Endorsements," for enticing users to spend more time on the site. So, now there's a nuclear arms race to get as many of your connections to endorse you for all of your skills. Excellent! Now, you can go to Linked In and just start clicking away -- endorsements will be about as meaningful as Followers on Twitter.

- I've been spending more and more time trying to figure out Twitter. I post regularly, follow influential people and topic hashtags that supposedly are also followed by potential readers. Most of the stuff I see on Twitter is crap -- spam, inane comments, links to inane images. And all these folks that have thousands of followers but never tweet? Very suspicious.

- And I'm constantly getting e-mails from folks smarter than I am asking for help with their social media marketing. Something smells funny. (If you insist on an image...)

Sorry for the rant. Am I just in a bad mood or does anyone else think that the only people getting rich from social media are the folks who own the social media sites?

The last time I whined about online marketing:

Is online book marketing a waste of time:

Part II: Is Online Book Marketing a Waste of Time?

*Clock image at the top of this page is by Didofficiel (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons  

*Link about Facebook changes provided by the very knowledgeable Carla Thornton.

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