You can't throw a stone without hitting an article praising social media. While I really enjoy certain aspects of social media it doesn't seem like it would be a very effective marketing tool. Just looking at my own history how many times have I seen a tweet and then pulled out the credit card? I don't know if I ever have. Are other people that much more wiling to buy stuff based off random links they see on social media? Maybe.
Last Thursday I announced the WooCommerce Cookbook on my blog and via social media. The goal of course was to let people know that my book was finally released and that they can go to the publisher's site or Amazon to buy it. I thought this would be the perfect situation to experiment on how effective social media can be.
Share on Social Media
I shared the post on all of the usual social media channels. That includes a WooCommerce Facebook group, my personal Facebook, my Twitter account, and my LinkedIn profile.
The Facebook group didn't do very well. I've been commenting on various conversations for the past several months so I'm not a total stranger there. I made a quick post and linked to the release article. I got a total of 21 likes and 3 “way to go” comments from a group with 1,500 members.
I also posted on my own wall and got a surprising number of likes. Of course my Facebook friends aren't exactly my target market but it's still possibly to get a few sales. My personal post received 71 likes and a few more “way to go” comments.
Overall I got 176 visits from Facebook that landed on the announcement post.
Twitter is a bit more interesting. I have a twitter audience of just over 1,000 followers and there were 21 retweets which went out to approximately 29,700 viewers. Unfortunately despite how many people this was sent out to only 61 people actually clicked the link to read the blog post.
Several other people sent out tweets on my behalf. WooThemes which makes WooCommerce sent a message out to their followers.
— WooThemes (@WooThemes) April 2, 2015
Between the various people tweeting and sending this message out to 30K+ people only 92 visits actually came from Twitter.
I posted on my personal LinkedIn account and received: 0 likes and 0 visits.
Okay so what did all of these visits do?
Facebook sent 33 visits to the publishers website and 6 visits to Amazon.com.
Assuming every single person who went to the publishers website bought the hardcover book (haha that everyone would buy and also that everyone would buy the most expensive option) that would be $231. And $29 from Amazon (once again assuming everyone buys and no one buys the Kindle edition).
Twitter sent 19 visits to the publishers website and 6 visits to Amazon.com.
Making the same assumptions that I did for Facebook I would make $133 from the publisher and another $29 from Amazon. The grand total is below…
The grand total from Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn is $422. Being a bit more realistic many of those people aren't going to buy and they certainly aren't all going to buy the hardcover edition. With generous numbers I'd estimate that purchases via social media generated about $100, which is the equivalent to one hour of consulting.
Is Social Media Worth It?
I love social media. I think it's great for creating and maintaining connections. But unless you have an audience of millions and unless you spend a ton of time learning how to maximize different social channels it just doesn't seem worth it to me. I'd rather focus on building great products than on learning how to maximize a system that's always changing. I'll continue to send out tweets about new products but I'm not going to expect anything.
Update 2015/04/13: A few days after this post I sent this information out to my newsletter subscribers and compared the results.