The theory that people want to engage with brands online and share their enthusiasms with their friends and that their friends will share their enthusiasms with other friends through social media channels has turned out to be an infantile fantasy.

In fact, what social media sites are rapidly becoming is just one more channel for traditional paid advertising.

Here’s what you need to know about social media:

The hundreds of millions of people using social media are interested in interacting with each other.

Not brands, not ads, not you, not me.

Email remains a more effective way to acquire customers than social media.

Nearly 40 times that of Facebook and Twitter combined.

When someone chooses to share your content, this demonstrates two things.

1) The reader has found enough value in your content to recommend it to the people he or she knows.

2) Now more people are likely to read your post. After all, at the end of the day, people would rather take recommendations from their friends, than from a brand.

Once you see your shares sky-rocketing, you’ll know you’re doing something right.

There are people (in advertising) that believe that consumers are ‘in love’ with brands.

They believe consumers want to have ‘relationships’ with brands.

They want to have ‘personal experiences’ and be ‘personally engaged’ with brands.

There are people (in advertising) that believe that consumers are going on Facebook and Twitter and having conversations with each other about brands.

A study looking specifically at consumer attitudes found that consumers who had been asked to evaluate products individually, and were then told that their peers had evaluated the same products negatively, were heavily influenced by what they heard.

Consumer.ology by Philip Graves

If 90% of your traffic is coming from Facebook, then what would you do if Facebook’s next policy change tampers with your traffic flow?

If Google search (paid and organic) makes up 90% of your traffic, then what are you going to do if a financially backed competitor purchases your keywords and steals your traffic?

Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket, keep a diverse portfolio of incoming traffic sources. It’s much safer for the success of your website.

An intriguing aspect of our willingness to follow the flock is that we don’t actually need to see the flock ourselves: it’s enough for someone to tell us what the flock is doing.

Consumer.ology by Philip Graves

Your customers – or your competitor’s customers – are already out there telling you what they want. You just have to actually go look. It could be on Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, searching for (your competitor) + ‘sucks.’