Today I wanna talk about why social media is a bet you can’t win and what you can do about it. A lot of people are betting their businesses on social media.

I was in a client meeting where they were asking, how do we increase more sales from Instagram? Well, you have to drive traffic to where people spend money, right? But the key thing is that Instagram does not allow you to put a link into a post. You can create engagement, but it’s really hard to drive traffic from Instagram. Same thing with Facebook. Same thing with LinkedIn and Twitter.

Those are all platforms which are built around engagement. They want people to stay inside of their sandbox. They want people to play there. Why? Because they make more money when people are staying on their platform because they can sell more ads. So when you think about it, social media is built around advertising. Not about promoting your content. Unless, you’re paying for the advertising.

Betting On Your Business?

I personally think that there are great ways to use social media and to build your business. But the average person walking in is like an armature gambler at a casino. A professional gambler understands a lot more logic behind the games that they’re playing. But the average citizens working in the social media platforms don’t understand all of the back-end sequences that happen.

The deck is stacked against us.

When you walk into a casino. If you’re playing roulette and betting, let’s say $100 an hour, in the long run you’re going to lose about $5.25 an hour. That means you have basically about 20 hours until you’ll be broke. Believe me. I’ve played roulette. I’ve lost a lot faster than that.

But what the casinos are counting on is one particular thing, which is the loudest and most colorful attraction in the casino. It attracts most first time gamblers. That’s the slot machine. The odds of winning a considerable amount of money on a slot machine are extremely high. Yet it’s near impossible for anybody to make money on it. Yeah, you can get lucky. But the odds of winning are really stacked in the favor of the casino.

The Social Media Casino

Now, I’m not saying that social media platforms are casinos. But, they’re in the business of making money just like a casino is. So if you think about it, social media is kind of like the slot machine. It’s the bright, shiny object that gets everybody’s attention.

The average person spends around 22 minutes on Facebook a day. They spend maybe about four minutes a day on LinkedIn, which is nowhere near as much time. But here’s the thing about social media that you have to be aware of: first and foremost, you don’t own it. Everything you put up there, you don’t own. Now you may put a link from something you do own, like a podcast or a blog or a graphic you’ve created, for example. But you don’t own it.

Secondly, you cannot control what’s seen. Yeah, you can play the system. You can buy ads. You can game the system. You can get people to like and share, but you still don’t control the overall experience of the user.

The other part of this is you cannot rely on the statistics that they provide you. Let’s say you have a business page. When you look at the stats that they give you when you dig deep into you business page, they’re not there to help you promote your content organically. They’re there to help you sell ads. As a matter of fact, they constantly say, this post is doing better than others. You should boost it to get more traffic. The statistics are basically advertising to you to spend money on the platform so that your stuff can be seen more.

So, hopefully you understand that you’re playing in a casino. And yeah, you can win. But, the deck is stacked against you. So what can you do about it?

Playing With House Money

Own The Casino

There are five things that are going to make a big difference. It starts with owning it. The thing that you want to do is to get people off of social media and have them fill out a form. You want to get to know their name and their email address, so that you can communicate with them. What if social media blocked you tomorrow — could you do anything? No. If you have an email address in an email program that you’re paying for, and you also have a spreadsheet back-up, now you have an asset that you can use over and over to communicate.

So, you wanna get people off of social media. You want to take an inventory of the names that you have and utilize those.

Know Your Customers

The second thing that you want to do is take those names and the assets that you’ve created — meaning the podcasts, the blogs, the graphics, whatever it is. And you want to start to categorize them. You want to be able to say that this particular person is interested in this particular piece of information that I have.

In my case, it could be about websites. It could be about LinkedIn. It could be about Google Analytics or podcasting. The key thing is that I need to better understand what my audience wants so I can feed them very targeted specific data.

Improving Your Odds

Next, I need to figure out where I have holes. If there’s an audience out there and I don’t have content for them, I need to create content and fill in the gaps so that I can communicate the right stuff to the right people at the right time.

Safe Betting

The next thing that we have to look at is, how do I leverage all of that information?

You want to make sure that you have the content on your website in a place where you can utilize it, and then share it to social media. But also, rely on things like email or text messaging or even print advertising. You want to find a way to use the assets that you have, and leverage it to communicate the right information to the right people at the right time.

Count Your Winnings

The last piece of this puzzle is you need to be able to measure the results. There are three main things you need to measure. The first is engagement. The second thing is activity, and the third thing is sales. When I say engagement, are people seeing what you’re posting? Are they liking? Are they commenting? Are they sharing?

The second piece is activity. Are they clicking on links? Are they joining your list?

And then the last piece is, are they doing what you want them to do? Are they getting on your list and staying on your list? Are they purchasing from you? You need to measure the results of what it is that you’re doing.

Final Thoughts

So, those five things are the cornerstones of what you can do to unstack the deck in the social media casino.

  1. Take inventory of what you have.
  2. Segment your audiences so you can put the right information in front of the right people.
  3. Fill the holes in the content that you’re missing.
  4. Leverage all of those assets and get people to do something and take action.
  5. Then measure the results.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?