Social Media ads are a bad deal for small businesses and individuals

Journalist and advertising consultant B.J. Mendelson (author of Social Media is Bullshit) was interviewed in the C-Realm podcast about the ineffectiveness of using social media to promote your book or small business. Root Simple has a summary of Mendelson's findings:

Any of you who administrate a Facebook page for a business or non-profit will know that unless you pay, Facebook's algorithm will bury your posts. Some other points Mendelson makes in the interview:

  • A 1% click through rate on a paid post is often as good as it gets.
  • Eighty percent of Facebook users are outside of the U.S. If you're a local business, like say a plant nursery, what good is paying to reach someone in Latvia?
  • Bots equal 60% of internet traffic (something to think about when looking at your stats).
  • What happens if you rely on Facebook as a platform for your business and, like so many other internet companies of the past, Facebook goes out of business?

To illustrate how social media companies exaggerate their advertising power Mendelson offers a personal example. He has 700,000 Twitter followers. When he sent out a tweet about his new book he sold, not hundreds or thousands of copies, but exactly 28. A tweet to his 700,000 Twitter followers asking for a donation to a breast cancer charity netted just $(removed) While acknowledging that social media can, occasionally, be an effective advertising medium, for most of us it's probably a big waste of time.