Got Too Much Money? Here’s a Way to Waste It.

Given that we do web marketing, you might expect us to be very high on social media marketing. Many of you are getting plenty of proposals and sales calls from marketing companies about how they can manage your social media presence and bring you more customers.

Let’s be clear up front:

  • Social media is fun.
  • It’s a great way to connect with old friends, family and even existing patients.
  • It is NOT, in any way, shape or form, a good business investment.

At least, organically posting on Facebook and Twitter all the time are not good investments. The ROI is just too low. Here is one big statistic: A study by Outbrain shows that search is the #1 driver of traffic to content sites, beating social media by more than 300%.

Now Gallup has come out with even more information about WHY that is true. Gallup, the polling people, produced a report last year called “The Myth of Social Media.”

Here is why so many companies are pitching you to manage your social media, and why so many of you are falling for it. In one day, according to Gallup:

  • Facebook users post 4.75 billion items of content
  • Twitter users send 400 million tweets
  • Instagram users “like” 1.2 billion photos
  • YouTube users watch 4 billion videos

Here are a few more stats:

  • 72% of U.S. adults use these channels, with the majority saying they use them several times a day.
  • According to BIA/Kelsey, U.S. companies spent $5.1 billion total on social media advertising in 2013.
  • By 2018, that number is projected to grow to nearly $15 billion.

So you can see why dentists and many other business owners want to get their message out on social media. But here is what Gallup says about that:

“But most consumers aren’t visiting social media sites to engage with brands – they are there to interact with people they know. According to Gallup research, the vast majority of consumers (94%) who use Facebook, Twitter, and other social networking channels do so to connect with family and friends. They are far less interested in learning about companies and/or their products, which implies that MANY COMPANIES HAVE SOCIAL MEDIA STRATEGIES IN PLACE THAT MAY BE LARGELY MISDIRECTED.”

That is a strong statement, and it really has two parts:

  1. Your potential clients aren’t on social media looking for a dentist.

That would be like hot tub salesmen setting up shop in a restaurant: Sure, you might find a few people who have been looking for a hot tub who happen to be at that restaurant. But that comes down to pure, dumb luck. And is that how you want to spend your marketing dollars – hoping to get lucky?

  1. Companies that are spending money on social media trying to get new patients are making a mistake.

In fact, Gallup found out that:

  • 94 percent of people use social media to connect with family and friends.
  • 29 percent use social media to follow trends or find product reviews and information.
  • 20 percent use social media to comment on what’s hot or new or write reviews of products.

We’ve been telling our clients this same information for years. And it’s possible that you’ve been wasting time and money on social media for years.

In my next post, I’ll tell you what’s working on social media and how you can make it work for your dental practice.