Social Media – Helpful Tool or Useful Menace?

Social Media – Help or Hindrance?

The emergence of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and more has dramatically changed the shape of Internet marketing over the years.  Millions of people spend a great deal of time at social media sites, some of it productive and some not.  Many affiliate marketers and others who want to work online from home spend a lot of time there, too, and quite a few swear by it.  While there are benefits to social media, there are also a lot of problems with it, particularly as it applies to anyone trying to earn a living online.

social mediaThis piece is part helpful advice and part rant.  One particular social media site has somewhat rubbed me the wrong way this week, so I thought I’d take a few minutes to point out some of the problems that can result if you rely on social media as a method of getting visitors to your site or your product.  It can work, but sometimes, the sites themselves will get in the way…on purpose.

Social Media Problems

Social media can be a great way to get people to your site.  If you can get a lot of people following you on Twitter or get a ton of likes on a Facebook page that you’ve set up to promote your site, you can use them to attract visitors and from there, you can educate them, engage with them or sell them something.  As Facebook has more than a billion users, there’s certainly a lot of potential traffic there.  All you need to do is to tap into that traffic.

If you can build up a lot of likes for your Facebook page and consequently get a lot of people following your timeline, you can draw quite a lot of traffic to your Website.  That’s what I’ve tried to do with my Work Online From Home Facebook page.   I post excerpts of reviews there and little snippets of some of the advice and “how to” articles I’ve published here.  Of course, the make money online niche is a competitive one, so it’s not necessarily easy to attract a lot of visitors to my Facebook page.

social_media_advertising2Facebook itself has come to the rescue; they’ve noticed that my page doesn’t have a lot of traffic or likes, and they have repeatedly contacted me by email to encourage me to buy advertising so I can get more likes.  Social media advertising is generally pretty affordable, and you can often get likes for pennies apiece.  I’ve done this with some other pages I have set up and I’ve noticed that once you reach a certain number of likes, you don’t have to advertise anymore.  Past a certain number of likes, perhaps 100 or so, the system sort of perpetuates itself; one of my pages, where I only post something about once a week, gets dozens of new likes every week with no effort on my part. The trick, of course, is getting to that first 100, and that, especially if you’re in the work from home niche, can be nearly impossible.

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One day last week, I received yet another message from Facebook recommending that I purchase advertising to get more likes to my page.   I went ahead and set up an ad campaign and created a couple of banners for it.  You always want to create more than one so that you can test to find the banner that performs the best.  Facebook has good tools and statistics for that.  I set up my ad, submitted it, and received a message telling me that my ads would start running as soon as they were approved.

An hour later, I received a message telling me that my ads were not approved, for the following reason:

Ads for “work from home”, get rich quick and other inaccurate money-making opportunities that offer compensation for little or no investment aren’t allowed on Facebook. This includes pyramid schemes or other money-making business models which do not fully explain any product or opportunity that makes a claim of income.

Obviously a mistake.  After all, I’m not promoting an opportunity that offers compensation for little or no investment.  I’m not promoting a pyramid scheme.  In fact, I’m not promoting anything other than a page that offers reviews of products and helpful tips.  I wrote back, and asked them for clarification, and explained that as I’m not doing any of the above, I cannot possibly be in violation of their guidelines.

Facebook was kind enough to reply today, and offered this as an explanation:

Your ad was rejected because it violates the Ad Guidelines. Ads must be clear about the business opportunity that leads to the advertised income. Ads for “get rich quick” schemes (ex: work from home, pyramid schemes) that offer money for little to no investment is not allowed. You must fully explain the business model and participation process in the destination website of your ad.

Again, I’m not promoting any particular opportunity, so I can’t possibly be guilty of promoting “get rich quick” schemes or “pyramid schemes.”  In fact, I’m promoting no product at all on my Facebook page, and the only product I’m promoting here on this site is a free one.  I’ve replied to that effect, mostly for the exercise, but at this point, I’ve decided it’s not worth pursuing.  (EDIT:  Facebook took the time to check out my page and my site, and they’ve since approved my ads.  I’ll admit to being surprised, and I thanked them for taking the time to examine my site.)

But wait – isn’t social media vital to online marketers?  Shouldn’t I do everything possible to get these ads out there to increase my Facebook presence?

No.  This is where you can easily find yourself spending way too much time and effort on what will, in the end, be something that doesn’t help.  Whomever has been contacting me about this issue obviously hasn’t looked at my page, nor have they looked at my site.  Chances are, they never will.   That means that instead of helping me, Facebook is wasting my time.

Social media can be helpful, but it’s not the only way to get people to your site and it’s not the only way to keep the public engaged.  I allow comments on all of my posts, for instance, and people are free to comment on my articles.  I use social bookmarking to get traffic, too.

In the end, you have to pick and choose your battles, and if things don’t work out, you move on.  Yes, there are thousands of people who do what I do who have been permitted to run ads on Facebook.  For whatever reason, I’ve been excluded.  That’s fine; I’ll use my time and resources in other ways.

Social media is important, but it’s by no means the only way to get visitors to your Website.  Keep that in mind, and try to devote your time and resources to things that actually work.

If you’re interested in learning what does work, you should consider joining Wealthy Affiliate. This comprehensive training program offers a 10 module course that will show you everything you need to know to get started making money online. You can even join Wealthy Affiliate for free.

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