Retailers told to forget social media [Video]

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Jun 08, 2018 by Matthew Stern At the Internet Retail Conference and Expo 2018 (IRCE) in Chicago, Jamie Salvatori, founder of Vat19, tore down some myths about the efficacy of social media marketing. “Is social media worth it?” Mr. Salvatori said. “I would argue that it’s...

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Jun 08, 2018

Matthew Stern

At the Internet Retail Conference and Expo 2018 (IRCE) in Chicago, Jamie Salvatori, founder of Vat19, tore down some myths about the efficacy of social media marketing.

“Is social media worth it?” Mr. Salvatori said. “I would argue that it’s not. … I’m talking about the creation and posting of so-called organic content for your company or brand. The promise of social media was, ‘I make all this content and I can put it up there and I can build this audience, I’m going to build my brand, I’m going to build my sales …’ I’ve been making these videos for 12 years. It doesn’t work that way in my experience too much.”

Vat19, an online store for irreverent gifts, distinguished itself with its YouTube videos. The company has five million YouTube subscribers (which pushes 60 percent of its orders). But Vat19 also has 202,000 Facebook followers (who account for only 1.4 percent of sales) 185,000 Instagram followers (who make up 0.3 percent of sales) and 41,000 Twitter followers (who make up zero percent of sales).

He noted that while his YouTube channel had resulted in the most conversions, it was a professionalized operation with 10 full-time employees on which he spends $15,000 to $20,000 a month for ads — countering to the notion that creating organic content is easy and free.

While Mr. Salvatori said that advertising on social media could work, he doesn’t buy building a huge audience on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram as the path to huge returns, and sees it as unrealistic to expect a piece of content to go viral.

“How much money should you spend on creating organic content that gets less than 10 percent reach? Not much,” Mr. Salvatori said. “Why bother trying to build your own Facebook page, your own Instagram? Now if you find a platform that really works for you like YouTube works for us, yeah.”

“You must have liability insurance, but you do not have to have a social media presence,” said Mr. Salvatori.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Do you agree with Jamie Salvatori’s assertion that creating content for social media — or even having a social media presence — isn’t worth it? Should businesses demand that social channels achieve a certain level of conversions to justify investing time and resources?

Braintrust

“You have to be where your customers are. But that doesn’t mean you have to relentlessly promote to them every place where they are. “

“Social media means being social. It is an outlet to connect with the retailer’s “community.” Pushing value-added content … is the way to go.”

“Organic social is not the ideal direct response channel but it is part of an overall strategy that helps you tell your story…”

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