Organic Social Media Is An Extraordinary Failure for Business

Abe Kasbo
3 min readOct 14, 2019

Since 2006, social media experts have enjoyed center stage. They’ve enjoyed taking their sample-of-one successes to lure CMOs and CEOs into a strange and prolonged delusion that businesses have to turn into content generating machines, which complete BS. The promise of social media was ultimately that it will make marketing more predictable by making it easier to access customers and markets. But the reality is marketing is hard work, the average CMO’s tenure is under 2-years because of ridiculous expectations from someone running a spreadsheet somewhere…Along with social media’s promise to make marketing easier, it comes with a magic word “analytics”. But if you’re assumptions are built on the stories sold by social media experts and platforms, then your analytics are misguided.

Here’s a video outlining my case below: http://bit.ly/Verasoni_Social

It’s time for an honest and way over due conversation about this in the hopes that some of us can snap out of the social media trans and get back to more efficient marketing.

Organic social media is the most inefficient medium in the history of marketing. Let’s review what’s required to become a “content generating machine” that many of these overpaid and over-hyped yet perhaps well-loved experts say you have to do (data below is is only one aspects of many):

  • You have to either set up a social media department or engage with an agency that does this for your business…In many cases, it’s both. What’s the right staffing for this effort? How much does it cost? What opportunities are gained (increased sales) and lost (if invested in other media or sales)? This sounds like a talk my kindergarten teacher gave me, but it certainly applies here…just because your competitors are doing it, doesn’t mean it’s right. But FOMO is a powerful thing, ain’t it?
  • Let’s quickly look at Facebook, for business pages and organic posts, it only delivers an engagement rate of about 2.5%…let’s do the math in 3 easy steps to show you how that will work out for you:
  1. You work so hard to bring 1,000 to your business page (a tough task for any business of any size)…And let’s say all 1,000 are relevant (not bots, not fake accounts…good luck with that one…)
  2. Facebook’s organic reach is a pitiful 2% or so, so that’s about 20 people, who JUST MAYBE have seen your very interesting and relevant post (aren’t they all?)
  3. But wait, there’s more! Of those 20 people, who MAY HAVE seen your post, the engagement rate is like 2.5%…which is…a half-a-person? And that 1/2 person may or may not be the right 1/2 person engaging your message.

As I mentioned above, there are many other issues that should raise serious eyebrows way above the hairline which aren’t mentioned here, including that Facebook hasn’t exactly been an honest broker of delivering audiences. Just last Friday, Facebook settled a lawsuit because the social media giant overstated the average time its users spent watching video. The $40 million fine is lunch money for the social network. But even in the face of data and marketing inefficiencies CMOs and CEOs continue to reward these guys buy actually hiring teams and agencies to effectively generate content that works better for Facebook than it does for their own businesses effectively staffing and working FOR Facebook on their business’ dime?!

The C-Suite must start asking more poignant questions. CMOs must hold social media platforms and more rigorously challenge the ideas the presented on stage at these glorious marketing conferences. Again, we’re talking organic here for most industries (certainly this post may or may not apply to some industries like sports, entertainment and a few others who actually produce their own content…even hyper local businesses like restaurants).

There is certainly a role for responsible organic social media, but not like this.

Time to save face and turn the page.

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Abe Kasbo

CEO, Verasoni. Immediate Past-Chair, Advisory Board of Seton Hall University Center For Innovation & Entrepreneurial Studies.