Author: Reuben

I spend my days telling stories and diving into data to help independent retailers flourish!

It’s not all about being liked

Social media can be a fickle beast. There seems to be a new so-called influencer on my feed every week with their particular hack that’s going to catapult my marketing to new, unfounded levels of success.  

They promise followers and engagement and likes flowing like a waterfall, if only you ‘follow these three simple steps.’ But then, when you try the tactics, strategies and principles they suggest, the results are never quite what was promised. Maybe an extra like here and there, maybe a few shares of your posts. But ultimately, likes of your Facebook page aren’t the same as dollars in the bank – so if it’s not getting people to buy things then what’s the point? 

Maybe we’re missing something that will make a bit of a difference to the whole social situation

I was reading through the Digital 2020 Report and one statistic really caught my eye, and I’m sure you’ll see why. It was this: 

The total number of pages that the average Facebook user likes in their lifetime is one 

That’s right. One page. That’s the average.  

At first, I thought this seemed odd. Surely there had to be a mistake, or perhaps the data was incomplete. After all, looking at my own Facebook profile, I have liked over 500 pages in the decade or so that I’ve been using Facebook. Something doesn’t add up there.  

As I’m always on the hunt for a reason to bust out a calculator, I did the math.  

What this means, if you stop and think about it, is that at least half of Facebook’s 2.4 billion users like 1 or fewer pages on Facebook ever. In reality, it’s likely much more than half given that Facebook doesn’t deactivate their users due to inactivity. We have to assume that there are a whole lot of accounts that don’t like any pages, largely because they were setup and then never logged into again. They’re just sitting there, dormant; like a big, metric-fluffing army of the un-dead.  

Zombie jokes aside this has some pretty significant implications for the way we think about Facebook and how it relates to our businesses.  

Pages likes are a vanity metric and they should be treated as such 

As I was looking through the 500 things that I had told Facebook that I liked, it struck me that I could only recall seeing posts from maybe five of those pages on my feed in the last few months. So, for all these pages where I have explicitly indicated that I am a fan of that brand, or product, or musician, or whatever else, Facebook deems about 1% of that content worth my attention.  

It stands to reason that having a huge number of likes on your page really isn’t all that important when it comes to growing your business. You could have thousands of ‘fans’ on Facebook and they could still not be seeing your posts. Does that mean that social media is a waste of time for business? Absolutely not! It just means you need to look a little closer to see how you’re performing.  

Focus your attention of what things are engaging your audience 

Personally, I think the word engagement in a marketing context is getting a bit overused and is losing its meaning. But, as I can’t think of a better alternative, it’s the word we’re going to stick with. Besides, if you really think about what it means, then it really is quite an apt way to describe what you should be aiming for with social media.  

The 1% of those pages that I regularly see content from on my own feed are the ones that actually make good content that I genuinely find entertaining, informative or useful. But here’s the thing about social media: often the actions that users take are more about who they’re interacting with than what they are personally interested in.  

Think about it: how often do you actually like something that you see on social media? Then, of those posts that you actually interact with, how many are brands or businesses?  

The Digital 2020 report tells us that, over a 1-month period, the average Facebook user will like 13 posts, share 1 post, post 5 comments and click on around 12 ads. When you consider these numbers in the context of the hundreds of posts one user would be exposed to in a 30-day period, there really isn’t a whole lot of engagement to go around.  

This demands a holistic approach to measuring your engagement. Just because people aren’t liking your posts doesn’t mean they aren’t looking at them. Take note of metrics such as reach and impressions – sometimes they can tell a much clearer story around what is catching people’s eye than likes or shares. Clicks are another great metric – if you’re getting more clicks and impressions on one post and not another, there’s probably something to learn from that.  

Ultimately, conversions are what counts

We could spend hours unpacking the nuances of different post types, tactics and metrics and it probably still wouldn’t help your social media game all that much. At the end of the day, social media will always be a difficult way to drum up business simply because you’re not really in control. The dreaded algorithm sees all and even the experts are really just guessing at what’s going to work this week.  

The logical opposite to this situation is that any channel which you have direct control over is going to give you a much better idea of how your efforts are working. It’s pretty simple, right? If you’ve got a website that is getting regular traffic, enquiries or sales that means you’re doing something that your customers are resonating with. Sure, you probably need to keep up the effort on social but at least you’ve got a consistent and controllable way to see if you’re doing the right things.  

If you want a solid and consistent way to track how your business is doing, you really can’t go past a good, old fashioned website that is set up to sell stuff. There’s no greater proof that you’re doing the right things than seeing sales flow in. Incidentally, if you don’t have one already, Storbie can help you out with that.  

The moral of this story? Don’t sweat it too much if you’re not at Kardashian levels of likes and engagement. Just remember, Kardashians and vanity go hand-in-hand, and having lots of likes doesn’t mean you’ll be successful. You might not have the biggest following, but you can still create a great online presence by getting the basics right and focusing on engaging with your audience.  

4 myths from the app vs. websites debate that you can forget about in 2020

When we think mobile, we often think of apps and with good reason – smartphone owners will collectively download around 205 billion apps this year alone. You may think that this means an app is the best way to get in front of your customers on mobile, but that’s not necessarily the case. There are a bunch of reasons that a mobile-friendly website may be a better option for you, especially if you’re planning on selling anything on your site.  

To help you make up your mind, let’s go through the top 4 myths that we hear about apps vs. websites and why you can kick them to the curb today.  

Apps are more versatile than websites 

There is no doubt that mobile is the way of the future, especially when it comes to buying things online. That being said, there is still a large proportion of online activity that takes place on laptops and desktop computers. One of the huge benefits of a well-designed website is that it seamlessly works across different platforms without needing a complete redesign for each.  

With apps, even though they’re just on mobile, you need to have a version that works with Apple devices and a completely different version for Android – and don’t even ask about Windows phones! Versatile? Maybe not so much. Add to this that a higher percentage of desktop searches result in sales than mobile searches and thinks start looking a little shaky for the app argument.  

Apps are easier to navigate and more enjoyable for the end user

Have you ever had an interesting ad or social media post catch your eye only to click through to a ‘download our app” page? I don’t know about you, but that’s usually a deal breaker for me. When it comes to ecommerce, time is the most valuable commodity.  

You have probably heard some variation of this before, but the average person online has an attention span of around 8 seconds. Sure, a particularly motivated shopper might download, install, sign-up and then search again for the thing that piqued their interest – but a lot of others simply won’t. An app with no users isn’t doing anyone much good.  

Adding to this dilemma is the fact that apps don’t often make it into Google search results, especially if someone is searching for a product rather than your specific app. Given that 35% of product searches on Google turn into transactions within a week, not being in those search results would be a pretty big disadvantage.  

With a website, you’ll be easy to find when your customers are looking for you and you’ll be more likely to make a sale when they do find you; and isn’t that really the whole point? Long story short, even if the experience is a little better once you’re in the app, a website is a much better bet when making sales is the name of the game. Which leads us to myth number 3: 

You can do more with an app than you can with a website

One of the upsides of a mobile app is the ability to create features and experiences that might not be possible on a typical website. It used to be the case that even simple websites didn’t work particularly well on mobile – but this far from the reality these days. Web design has come a long way. It’s easy to get caught up in the glitz and glamour but it’s worth asking what value this really adds to the online shopping experience?  

When people look for information online they want to find solutions to their problems and they want it to be easy and quick.  Unless you’re willing to spend a lot of time and energy on getting people to download your app there’s a good chance you won’t be considered a fast and easy option in the moment. So when someone needs to know, right now, where they can get their favourite fluffy socks, you might not look like their best option.  

Conversely, when you have a well-designed website you can still create a great experience for your customers without adding unnecessary extra steps. Keeping it simple and aligned with what your customers expect – that’s the path to success.  

I can get an off the shelf app that can be customised to my needs 

Okay, so this one isn’t a myth, per se. You can get white label apps which can be customised to suit your needs. Putting aside all the reasons that apps aren’t the ideal ecommerce solution in the first place, let’s consider what an off the shelf app might involve.  

Even if the option you choose is optimised for ecommerce, you can probably assume that no solution will be perfect for the way your business operates. It’s a bit like buying a car – you can choose your own wheels, colour and maybe even the seat fabric, but ultimately, it’s the same car underneath. You’ll be stuck with whatever systems and layouts the developer has prebuilt and if they don’t work for you, then you’ll be stuck.  

On that note, you’ll almost certainly need help from a developer as apps are inherently more complex than a website. So why go through this hassle when there’s a much simpler option? There are some great ‘off the shelf’ website options that are much simpler and give you greater control over the look and feel.  

We might be biased but this one is a pretty good option. Could be worth considering. Just a thought.  

So, there you have it. 4 reasons to get a website disguised as reasons not to get an app (pretty sneaky, right?). At the end of the day, it’s all about creating an experience that fits your customers’ expectations and gets you closer to your business goals. When you’re on a budget in a competitive market, a website will always be the better choice over an app. Period.