Social Media’s Biggest Advantage for Business Goes Extinct

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Social media platforms are often seen as the most effective and affordable marketing tool for businesses. These advantages of the social websites, however, may have already become a thing of the past. A new research has found that the majority of unpaid, organic social media posts generate zero engagement.

A report called “Data Drives Social Performance” explains that barely 1% of all the unpaid social media publications enjoy some engagement. To reach to this finding, researchers have analyzed 1.6 million unpaid posts across today’s top social networking sites between April and July this year. What they discovered was that these publications managed to reach to over 360 million social users. Also, they triggered 1.5 billion social actions. While this sounds very impressive, almost all this activity was limited to just 1% of all the posts.

This poses a question: Does social media continue to be a good marketing tool for businesses? The answer is “Yes,” but mainly for those companies that are willing to pay in order to promote their posts on social media platforms.

Other studies seem to back up that tendency. For instance, the 2013 Social Rich Media Benchmark Report has found that paid social ads improve both a post’s reach and performance. Moreover, paid social publications enjoyed a higher organic and viral reach for all types of content (photos, links, videos and others). However, they are were less effective for status updates. In addition, paid posts encouraged fewer click-throughs.

At the same time, traditional and free social media strategies have started to wear off and lose their marking power. EdgeRank Checker has discovered that adding hashtags to your posts will no longer boost their reach or trigger more engagement. In fact, the study states that posts with hashtags now tended to generate even lower engagement and were less likely to go viral. Still, the research doesn’t provide an explanation for these tendencies.

Despite all that, a Nielsen survey shows that nearly 90% of businesses continue to rely on free social media tools. Also, analysts share that there are still some strategies which can be every effective in social media marketing campaigns. One of them is the so-called “content recycling” which is posting the same content over different periods of time. Therefore, giving up on social media free advertising may be too early.

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