With all the hype surrounding social media for business, you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the single most important thing for your business to do in marketing right now.

But it’s not.

In fact, social media accounts for a small fraction of all sales leads that convert into customers online globally, according to a recent Marketing Sherpa report that analysed 270 million website visits.

So if you go after social media for business before you consider the big ticket online marketing strategies, it would be like trying to fish for minnows when you can see salmon jumping out of the water!

Here are the facts…

All Social Media For Business Combined Is Just A Fifth Of Google Search Volumes

When it comes to making sales, somebody has to visit your site and take some action before you make any money.  And while the big social sites like Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and all the rest are clearly buzzing with activity, they seem to generate just a fraction of the traffic that converts into customers.

In fact, according to this article about social media for business from Search Insider, statistics from over 270 Million website visits show that under 10% of all visitors came from social media, while almost half of all traffic comes from Google natural search results.

If you want to produce the best results from your marketing, you need to do it scientifically.  Which means measuring and going after the areas that produce the most traffic.

Now, what I do know about social media is that it can be an incredibly powerful tool to use for making relationships with specific, targeted individuals.  So if you’re trying to network your way into a big contract with a specific firm, a good social media strategy might be a great asset.

On the other hand, the majority of small businesses just want to generate leads online with the minimum of cost and fuss.  In decent volume.

I have taught many of my clients how to exploit the internet for their businesses, including a payroll business, a heating engineer, a luxury travel company and many others besides.

The Secret is Not Social Media.

Social media takes a lot of time to do well and is only so popular because everybody who’s on social media will talk it up.

The figures speak for themselves.

So, while most businesses struggle to understand business internet marketing, it is not difficult to design an online marketing strategy that will quickly produce results.

In fact, if one strategy could be considered a “secret weapon”, it would be email.

Most people think that emails sent by businesses are spam, and they want to avoid becoming spammers.

Yet the reality is that email produces massive spikes in traffic to your website when you’ve had a bit of practice.

And that massive spike in traffic can turn into a spike in sales, too.  Or fill your restaurant.  Or get people to attend a webinar or seminar at an accountancy practice.  Or any other action you want them to take.

You may want to take a look at my email marketing tips post for further information on this topic.

It’s one of the first strategies I get all my clients to use and it never fails to generate leads from the internet.

Back To The Data – Social Media – Ho-Humm…

So from the same article linked earlier, it’s apparent that Google natural search listings are huge at 50% of the traffic.  Which tallies with our behaviour online, doesn’t it?

You want to buy something, you start by doing a Google search.  Then you visit a few sites.  Research and consider any reviews you found.  Finally you make your decision and either a website or a shop somewhere gets your business.

But the important point here is that Google was your tool for research.  While you may have chatted to some friends on Facebook or Twitter about it, the chances are that you researched a lot more yourself.

So when you ultimately made your decision to buy, if you bought online, you probably used a Google search to find a place to buy it.

And your customers are doing just the same, too.

So what’s your strategy to make sure your website is on page 1?

Forget social media until you’ve sorted out your website to work as a proper online lead generation tool, not just a shop window.

Forget social media until you’re building an email database (email is another massive traffic generator for website sales)

Forget social media until you’ve got as much traffic as you can realistically squeeze and afford from SEO and Pay Per Click searches.

And don’t go right to social media then, either.  Consider Facebook and LinkedIn paid advertising before you consider tweeting and other social strategies.  It’s way more hype than substance, and so let your competitors go chasing after it while you take the lion’s share of the business by being a wolf and thinking for yourself, not a sheep who follows the crowd.

In fact, for most entrepreneurs in the UK, who want to focus their efforts to produce maximum results, the advice is crystal clear.

Forget social media for business.

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