A project of Tim Grahl

YOUR FIRST 1000 COPIES: the step-by-step guide to marketing your book by Tim Grahl

Why doesn’t social media work as a sales tool?

An excerpt from Your First 1000 Copies:


Email seems old school compared to social media and other more recent inventions of the changing Internet marketing world. But while social media is more popular, email is more effective. To understand why, you must realize that most people interact with social media and email in vastly different ways.

For example, when was the last time you read every tweet in your Twitter stream or every update in your Facebook newsfeed or every pinned item on Pinterest?

Now consider, when was the last time you skipped reading an email that made its way into your inbox? Two wildly different answers, right?

The difference between your two answers explains why social media is an ineffective sales tool: Most people only choose to see and consume a tiny portion of the content that fills their social media channels because those channels are fire hoses of information. In contrast, email is still a manageable connection channel that we all regard as more private.

I run an ongoing, unscientific survey with friends and colleagues that validates these behaviors. On average, they admit to reading only about 1% of the total social media updates that fill their feeds. I then ask them how many of their emails they read. The response is usually close to 100%.

Industry math shows why we have adopted these behaviors. Twitter users generated 200 million updates a day in June 2011[1]. At the same time, three million photos and the same number of messages were being posted to Facebook every 20 minutes.[2] Today, those numbers are much higher.

Given the flood of information flowing through social media, email remains the most direct and reliable way to get in front of people in the digital world.

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