“We’ve lost nearly half our social referral traffic in the last 12 months” is the title of a Buffer case study by Kevan Lee that fascinates me. It’s a perfect example of best practices gone wrong. I’ve got to tell you this story:
It was a dark and stormy night when Kevan Lee, of Buffer’s marketing team, admitted his even darker secret:
“We as a Buffer marketing team – working on a product that helps people succeed on social media – have yet to figure out how to get things working on Facebook (especially), Twitter, Pinterest, and more.”
Cue the crickets.
They had a ton of theories about their social slump.
Most of their theories were really good.But still their social referral traffic went down. They lost nearly half in a year.
“I don’t have the answer for what’s gone wrong. I wish I did!”
Kevan found himself spiraling into self-doubt, resulting in some not-so-good theories and some major impostor syndrome (you can do it Kevan! I believe in you!).
Maybe we’ve reached peak content saturation, he wonders. Maybe there’s just too much competition (he cites this 2-year-old stat: “Every time someone visits the Facebook News Feed there are on average 1,500 potential stories . . . for them to see.”) Still, there are brands and people out there that continue to rock the social media space (shout-out to Gary Vaynerchuk), which dashes the peak content saturation theory.
One thing he does note is a recent change in the type of content Buffer posts. They moved away from productivity and lifehacking content (which got great numbers) and now share mostly social media tips and strategies.
What I love about this post is that he doesn’t deliver the answer, because he doesn’t know it yet. Instead, Kevan, being the rock star that he is (and I mean that sincerely), ends the post with a few things he’s going to try, and then opens up the conversation to comments and suggestions.
This is where it gets really interesting.
Maybe you’re measuring the wrong thing? Is ‘reach’ really what you want? Better to find 10,000 potential customers of Buffer than reach 100,000 people who won’t ever buy…Look at it this way… are sales down as a result of the reduced reach?