Investing in Social Media to Generate Leads? Here’s What You Should Be Doing Instead

We don’t mince words when speaking with our clients, and we’re not going to sugarcoat it here either: if you’re working with a marketing consultant and they recommend investing heavily in building up social media accounts to generate leads for your small business, they don’t know what they’re doing.

Unfortunately, anyone can call themselves a marketing or SEO expert. We have many clients come to us after using a friend-of-a-friend or their second cousin’s husband for help marketing their business. Inevitably, it’s the same story:

“He told us we needed to set up shop on every social media platform, post links to our website every day, and the sales would come flooding in…but they didn’t.”

“I spent thousands of dollars on a social media marketing guru and I haven’t gotten any return on my investment, and now my business is in trouble.”

These consultants emphasize the importance of social media because they don’t know any better; if you do a little digging, most often they have little-to-no experience and no references to speak of. They talk a good game and they take advantage of small businesses that are knowledgeable about their own field of work, but not about marketing themselves.

Why Social Media Doesn’t Work

What do most people use social media for? They use it to connect. They’re not on Facebook or Instagram to look for an attorney or a locksmith. While select service industries and retailers may have success using Facebook for marketing, by and large, it’s not the best way to market professional services. If you’re investing in building up a social media following and neglecting other avenues for marketing your business, you’re throwing money out the window. No one hires an attorney because they found them on Instagram or Pinterest.

The other cold, hard truth about social media is that building up a following on these platforms is like building a house on sand. You’re not in control; Facebook and Twitter are. They frequently make sweeping changes to their algorithms with no warning. Just ask all of the small businesses who have hundreds of thousands of followers…and only a handful of them even see their posts. 

The Best Way to Market Your Small Business Online

Here’s what we tell our clients: invest where people are looking for you. For most service industries and small businesses, that means Google.

When people need an attorney, they search Google. Lawyers, locksmiths, dentists, car repair, plumbers––they’re all things we search for on the web. Furthermore, when people are searching for these services, they’re usually ready to book an appointment or make a purchase, so they’re the best kinds of leads you can get. A lead from social media is a cold lead, while leads from Google are hot. That’s what you want to invest in.

At First Source Interactive, we take an innovative, multi-faceted approach to generate such leads. It includes:

  • Boosting your small business’s visibility on local review sites like Yelp
  • Optimizing your site for search engines, which generates a continuous stream of new clients organically
  • Utilizing Google Ads to get your business front and center when people are searching for your services
  • Building up your reputation as an expert in your field

When to Use Social Media

All that said, there are some benefits of social media for small businesses and professional services. While social media is not the best avenue for generating leads, it is part of an overall SEO strategy. Google assesses your website’s links from social media, using these signals to determine how trustworthy your business is and where your site should be ranked in its search engine results pages (SERPs). 

For politicians and other public figures, social media is critical, as your goal isn’t generating leads, but instead to connect with constituents and fans. Even for small businesses, there’s value in connecting with existing customers via select social media platforms, but again: it’s not worth investing a great deal of money, time, or effort into because it’s not going to drive business the way Google Ads and SEO do.

Connect with First Source Interactive

If your marketing strategy needs an overhaul, contact First Source Interactive at 800-672-1285 or request a free quote. See why hundreds of businesses of all sizes have chosen us to handle their digital marketing.