A rant about digital marketing

Digital marketing is a difficult beast. Everyone thinks they can do it better than the next person and everyone thinks it takes little-to-no-effort to do that. Truth be told, if you want to be successful in digital marketing, you need to be willing to put the time and effort in. You also need the know-how to make smart, strategic decisions. Whether this is to do with business, or your personal ventures online, the odds of becoming an overnight success is about as likely as you beating Bianca Andreescu at the US Open.

Just because you say it does not mean that people should listen.

It’s a hard lesson to learn. It’s a hard lesson to teach. A few weeks back I was talking to a professional acquaintance of mine who was asking me to make a Facebook page for her business. She wanted to give me a $1,000 budget to make a Facebook page for her business that day and proceed to run Facebook advertisements throughout the next few months.

THIS IS NOT EFFECTIVE DIGITAL MARKETING. Though, by definition, it does meet the requirements of being marketing, is it worth the time, effort or money that it’s going to take? Hell no.

I cannot stress this enough. Just because you say it does not mean that people should or will listen.

If you know your way around the internet, what would your reaction be to seeing a Facebook advertisement, or advertisement on any social media platform for that matter, from a company that had no following, no established profile and made no effort to do so?

You’d probably think twice before believing anything that appeared in that advertisement, right? You’d probably make use of the brain in your head and opt for a business with an established profile on social media. Or, at the very least, one with reviews.

But this acquaintance of mine, she’s under the impression that if she pays for the Facebook advertisements, people will pay for her service. Actually, there’s a lot of people out there who believe this. It’s astounding to me how many people operate under the notion that if you throw money at social media, you’ll get what you want.

I’m using this story as an example because I think it’s an important belief that I’d like to quash. If you open a business profile on social media or WordPress with the single goal being to make sales, you will fail. You’ll likely fall flat on your face very quickly into your quest. If you start your own blog, or twitter, or youtube channel, etc.. with the sole goal of becoming famous, you will likely fail. You can buy the fanciest cameras and computers, all of the editing equipment you could ever desire, and it won’t matter.

People need to see credibility in the content they’re reading, watching or listening to. They need to see an established effort to make connection. They don’t just want productions… or opinions jammed down their throats with no character, humility or genuine nature to them. They want something real. If you fail to establish that real, you’re going to sink before your dreams of success will ever be realized.

I’ve been working in digital marketing for a decade. I’ve worked with social media accounts that only have 100 followers and social media accounts that have nearly 100,000. I’ve made the mistakes. I’ve felt the victories and I’ve seen what it takes to make an account go from 100 followers to 100,000. Let me tell you, there is no quick fix. You’re not going to sink $1,000 into Facebook advertisements and have a booming business. You’re not going to sink a couple of ‘Nice Post’ comments into the comment section of another blog and suddenly have enough money to buy a Range Rover.

If you want people to invest in you (because you are integral to this scenario), your social media following, your blog, your business accounts, any aspect of what is online that you are trying to market, you need to work at it. You need to make strategic decisions and take the appropriate time and effort necessary to grow organically. This applies to business. This applies to personal.

Be authentic. Put forth the necessary effort to actually participate in the realms you’re operating. If you don’t, you’ll never find what you’re seeking from social media, blogs, the web in general, digital marketing will forever escape you and you’ll continue to wonder why.

55 thoughts on “A rant about digital marketing

  1. Definitely true on what you said in your post. When I did my freelance gigs as a social media manager for two people, they wanted to have x amount of followers and blow so much money into their advertisements. I usually tell them that you’re not going to get an instant following just because you shelled out so much money and only post one content via social media. For me, my realistic goal for my WordPress blog is to have more readers to view my illustrations and the content I write. But I know that spending $5K or more won’t help me get more viewers. It’s why I prefer taking the time to engage with the audience and build solid relationships. Word of mouth goes a long way.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Engagement is so important. That must have driven you crazy when you were doing freelancing and all they wanted was advertisements! If all they wanted was followers I would have been like ‘screw the advertisements just buy the followers’ lol.

      It sounds like you do have some realistic goals for your blog, which will work well for you in the long run!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah it definitely drove me nuts when they asked me on it 😂 sad thing is, it’s probably more accessible to buy followers than pay for the ads. But I steer clear away from it. At the end of the day, I care about having fun with my illustrations and sharing it with others. Even if it’s one or two people following 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. contract work rule: think it through, what does the job involve, how long will it take to do it right, calculate the proper hourly rate x the time (which will be longer than they expect, generally, sometimes not even doable by anyone short of sending you through medical school, an internship, and residency in the proper specialty, charge for it all!), show them the estimate.

    wipe off your hands from that gratis time you’ve done for the estimate, worry that someone will offer them some skeletal poo for $1000, but rest assured you warned them and are good with god


    1. Pretty much.

      When I told her no, she was like ‘It’s easy. Just do it. It’ll take you no time at all!” Trying to sit and talk with her about how social media works, she really didn’t understand. There’s nothing you can do to fix that if someone’s not willing to listen.


      1. a thought: rather than simplify the explanation in hopes of getting it across, switch to super technical language and suggest that they either look terms up, or you’ll have to start the meter for teaching

        you could get a fair fee out of parlaying this into a corporate lecture

        Liked by 2 people

  3. Like a get rich quick scheme, if you throw money at it you’ll get rich quick right? Reminds me of her logic: Everyone’s doing it so it must be true. Last time I checked they weren’t any richer than when they first starred, always hopping from one shiny company to the next, in an attempt to strike it rich.

    I respect the fact that you did the right thing by declining her offer. Turning down $1000 is kinda a big deal but not worth it if you’re basically throwing money out the window for something that isn’t worth your time or energy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Hil. It’s hard but it’s like… people need to know the truth. Could she go and throw her money at someone else? She just might. But I told her the truth so if she continues down that line then it officially becomes her problem/fault when she loses out.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. She probably will, and if she does, it’s not your problem. She’ll learn the hard way if she doesn’t listen but at least you gave her warning and the truth.


    1. RIGHT? SHE’S AMAZING. Goodness, she’s the epitome of a powerful badass female. I want to teach my nieces all about her when they’re old enough. They’re going to learn about Serena too, but Bianca’s Canadian and I’m obviously biased.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I do not know one thing about digital marketing.
    In high school marketing was learning how to create a display for a store. Design an advertisment for the newspaper or leaflet flyer. All the rules of the game are new since the mid ’70’s…lol.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Think of it similarly, just think of it as putting it on the internet rather than it spreading through word of mouth like gossip in a tiny Saskatchewan town. Back in the 70’s I presume a lot of word of ‘good business’ got out based off people telling their friends ‘hey this place does a great oil change’ and so on and so forth. You have to translate that to a digital world.

      Much like people wouldn’t believe you if you stood on a park bench and screamed to the people in the park ‘go to ‘x’ company to get your oil changed’, they’re not going to believe you if you stand on the proverbial park bench that is your wordpress blog and do the same. You have to built that rapport with people.

      If you went to your friend in the 70’s and said ‘Get your oil changed here’, they would have said ‘eh, thanks man I appreciate the tip’.

      Do that online. Make people your friends. Build a relationship with them. Build a rapport around authenticity and creative development that’ll allow you to reach broader spectrums than the tiny town in Saskatchewan. Talk to the girl in B.C. and the man in India about anxiety. Talk to the mother in France about raising kids in a technological world.

      Build your authentic self online and people will trust in what you say when you say it. Then if you’re a business owner and you want to run $1,000 worth of ads, they’ll listen. And if you’re a wordpress blogger and have no ads, but just want your work out there, they’ll pay attention!

      I’m rambling. I should really stop. I’m sorry.

      Liked by 4 people

    1. This is soooo true! You’re sooo right. And I’m not sure why I didn’t see this comment until now, I am sorry I missed it!

      I think a lot of people just assume that someone is going to read their book just because they like to read books. But no, if you write a horror book, someone like me won’t read it. I don’t read horror. But hey, my brother might love it. It all is a matter of finding your audience and making them care


  5. Thanks for the post, I’m going to delve into the advertising for my upcoming business. Thanks for realizing that advertising on the internet was not that easy.


    1. Organic relationships will go a long way in starting online profiles for your business. Find 5-10 select people in your area who know ‘everyone’ so to speak, and they’ll help introduce you to ‘everyone’.


  6. Well put & great advice I hope people listen. I hate the popup adds when you open some sites useless to me. You made it clear that credibility and comment are important also.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Popup adds are so annoying! I have an ad blocker on because of them.
      Having people backing your business online is a good way to look more credible and legitimate.


  7. I’ve had this impression that for companies to be successful in digital marketing, they have to build a presence and following.

    I agree, you can’t expect an overnight success.

    To capture new customers, you need to have a good impression with your existing ones.

    Great post, and I learned a lot. Thanks!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They absolutely do have to build a following and presence before they’ll find any success with their digital marketing. Thank you for leaving this comment all those months ago, I am so sorry I am seeing it now for the first time.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. It is also true for traditional marketing. Running a bunch of television ads without having any established reputation in the community, may get you some short lived attention but will not build a business. Building a business, whether digitally or traditionally, is a lot of hard work

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m not sure why I missed this when you first wrote it, but in just seeing it now I wanted to say you’re absolutely correct. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to establish a brand before you run any advertisements for it. Your statement could not be more accurate.


  9. So much insight, I thought i was overreacting thinking digital marketing is difficult. Really appreciate this post, especially being a marketing student

    Liked by 1 person

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