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Social Media & Business: Don’t believe the hype

I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve read about why you should allocate money & time to social media. There are countless articles and posts about “conversion optimization tips”.

Tweet More. Engagement. More Likes. Gimme.

But do they actually make a difference?!?

That’s the question that most people forget to ask.

So, I put out a tweet about my How to Make your First Dollar Course to find out for myself.

Out of 13,090 followers how many would you expect to click after I tweeted?



More like 109 clicks, a 0.8% CTR. WTF Twitter?!? Compare my Twitter conversion rate to my email conversion.

Either most of my followers are bots or something funky is going on.

How many times have you heard someone say “you have to be on YouTube” or brag about how many Facebook fans they have?

It’s distracting with case studies making it appear that social media is the new holy grail.

The real secret is that there is no same way that will work for marketing in all businesses.

So I was curious how many clicks I got via email from my 3,547 subscribers.

882 clicks!!! Holy shit

First off I love you.

Secondly, that’s a 24.8% CTR and 8x improvement over Twitter.

Bottom-line: I’m not saying you must go use email over Twitter but I wanted to plant the seed for you to focus on effectiveness vs hype…

When’s the last time you were surprised?


P.S. It is interesting that when I asked my Twitter followers to join my email list I had a huge response. As we learned above email has a better click-through-rate so it’s worth asking your Twitter followers and Facebook fans on a regular basis to join your email list. It’s one of the best ways to get more subscribers.


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143 responses to “Social Media & Business: Don’t believe the hype”

May 13, 2019 at 3:23 pm

Been grappling with this fro months, spent some $$ with very small results and realized they want you to be in it ‘for the long term’.. yeah till you stop breathing maybe? I Agree, everyone seems to chant the social media tune and you feel pushed to join the crowd, BIG BIG crowd, you get lost… frustrated with all the efforts and skimpy results, only to realize how much you wasted .
My question is how do you do this if your friends list is small? How can yan you get emails to build your list from twitter users? IMO friends waste your time.
What’s the way forward? Any suggestions? (And : Yeh Noah you got MY email, what’s yours?0.

Laurel Bern
June 14, 2018 at 12:04 am

Thank you so much for sharing this! I’m an interior designer turned full-time ID blogger and it’s going very well.

I tell anyone who’s interested that my blog is my social media. Take those silly links off of your website. You want people staying ON your site unless your primary means of business is on facebook or somewhere else.

However, for me, pinterest drives thousands of visitors to my blog every day. But pinterest is really a search engine.

The problem is that brands and retailers have bought the hype and are slow to understand the reality.

Thanks again!

Tom Spence (
October 1, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Absolutely loved this post Noah! Some great things to think about so thanks for sharing. For me, the one remarkable thing that happened recently is private messaging people on Instagram. Just tee’ing relationships that I might be able to use in the future! Started with people a little further down the road than me and was completely honest with what I said. So far so good!

Rollis Fontenot III
September 10, 2017 at 11:24 am

It seems like social media is largely a waste of time if not coupled with paying to boost the posts. We receive similar very low ROI on organic/unpaid social media posts unless it is a topic that really grabs people.

September 3, 2017 at 3:35 pm

Thanks Noah for sharing those real numbers!
I guess it has the same philosophy as do vs talk. Unless I do and test by myself I rely on others’ experiences and journeys which might be completely different to mine…

August 27, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Denise D-T’s marketing was exceptional for her latest launch – combination of email and social media. But I liked how after the campaign ended she acknowledged that she was sending out a lot of emails and then her email routine went back to normal. I liked this approach and was in contrast to other campaigns/methods I’ve experience when they just ramp up emails more and more which I really don’t like.

Besnik Ligaci
August 14, 2017 at 5:28 am

Great stuff as always. You keep delivering knowledge with every post and newsletter that you release. ?

Lena Shaw
July 11, 2017 at 7:45 pm

I love this, “The real secret is that there is no same way that will work for marketing in all businesses.” It’s simple, not sexy but it’s true.

I appreciate your candid yet actionable approach to life and not simply marketing. We’re still marketing, selling, talking AT people. Everyone is different. It’s time to ditch frameworks and begin giving marketers something real.

sheralyn jones
July 9, 2017 at 10:34 pm

Noah, spot on again! Twitter is ridiculous for me for marketing as I can’t cram what I want to say in 140 characters!!! Also, FB is becoming pedantic and unfocused- all over the place.
If I’m marketing food, I want a TARGET audience! Not sure if honing an email list is the best way, but I’m digging this hole deeper and will keep going that route! Thoughts??

Fluid Frame
July 9, 2017 at 8:38 pm

I ran Facebook ads for a Father’s day sale I did for a local physical product I make. 9 optins, zero sales. I posted the product at full price on Facebook marketplace for free and sold 6! I have yet to hear a marketer mention selling locally on Facebook marketplace. Glad I did and still doing it!

July 9, 2017 at 5:01 pm

I was surprised to see that, judging by the comments, you first published this in 2013 – I thought Twitter actually worked back then! But my experience now, albeit with (very) much smaller numbers, is that the ratio is about the same, maybe worse. Anything up to 50% CTR with email versus Twitter / FB….. well it’s mostly crickets.

June 25, 2017 at 2:32 pm

Seeing ikea furniture in the Paris metro a few years back was surprising, entertaining and effective (i.e. I took a picture, shared it with my friends back then and still remember the experience fondly now)

May 15, 2017 at 7:00 am

And the numbers keep rolling in. Marketing organically on social media is a low ROI.

Tom Augenthaler
April 7, 2017 at 10:05 am

About time someone called BS on what passes for social media marketing by so many. Please keep it up as I find your posts informative, helpful and inspirational.

It’s also nice to know I’m not the only one who sees through a lot of the crap!

March 31, 2017 at 3:32 pm

Something surprising: Our new rescue pup is 9 lbs of fur and fearlessness. The one thing that really terrifies him–making fart sounds with your mouth. He’s 8″ tall and that is the ONE thing that will send him three floors down and hiding under a sofa. Theories?

Additionally, I love this post. Especially since I did have good experiences with social media a decade ago, but that was then, and now only recently did I purchase Sumo Pro. I am excited for when I have a minute to integrate all of its tools with my site and see some carefully crafted magic occur!
Just yesterday a friend in Austin helped me work out a plan of action to grow my passion project into a legit, money-making business: write an ebook (writing is my superpower), give it away with email/newsletter sign-up, offer readers a discount on the Kundalini Yoga 40-day video plans I am working on, and make the world a better place 🙂
Thanks Noah for Sumo, your emails, and having fun in the process!

March 30, 2017 at 5:28 pm

Noah – two things might skew the results in favor of the email campaign: 1) email list might be a “clicker” file vs general people who Opt’d in to your email list 2) email creative and subject line.

Steve nathan
March 23, 2017 at 7:17 pm

The difference between personal one to one and one to many, yelling into the darkness. Personalised is the way forward.

Andrew M. Warner
February 10, 2017 at 7:57 pm

Oh most definitely, Noah.

I had a similar experience. And have heard many people share similar experiences. Email list will always be better than whatever you promote on social media. So it stands to reason that building an email list is the No. 1 thing you need to do for your business.

– Andrew

February 4, 2017 at 6:27 pm

I don’t care about social media. I do believe you are one of the best for me to read.
I’m a grama just getting going on this internet thing. Stay sane and go for it!

January 20, 2017 at 12:37 am

Yes, it’s so true. I’ve got more leads via email than Twitter or any other social media. Email works because it’s not like facebook newsfeed where your post might get lost in the crowd. We read every email we receive or at least click on it to delete.

December 9, 2016 at 7:17 am

You asked what has surprised me! I’d say it’s people’s ignorance and negativity towards working from home. I initially thought network marketing was a fab idea to work from home and thought everyone else would agree and join my business! So I was surprised everyone said no and even friends ignore you!

November 24, 2016 at 8:17 pm

This is really great idea..i would love to learn more..
Happy Thanksgiving

Will McLellarn
August 11, 2016 at 9:00 pm

I was very surprised to learn that Jet was being acquired, despite a languishing business model. I guess Wal-Mart is feeling the squeeze, or out of better options! Good for the Jet folks though.

Laura Wilbur
July 22, 2016 at 6:12 am

Noah, I think there is too much emphasis on trying to be on all social platforms. I think the first concentration should be on creating great content or products, building an email list nad then picking one or two social platforms to promote them and not 5 or 6. Just my opinion.

June 16, 2016 at 5:27 pm

Good to know!!

June 12, 2016 at 3:09 pm

I was surprised when Gangnam Style became the first Youtube video to reach one billion views and it was really just intended to be a sort of prank to mock hipsters. Goes to show, you never know what might go viral…

Stuart Russell
June 2, 2016 at 5:30 pm

I follow you on twitter and don’t remember seeing the tweet you mentioned. But i did read your email. Email in box has about 30 emails each morning. twitter feed has 1000’s
its clear that email will get higher attention, from me any way.

April 8, 2016 at 12:09 am

I have never trully utilized twitter for anything rather than talking to my friends. I’m kind of new to online marketing and just learning things, putting content one day at a time. So to answer your question, I read blogs like your to learn things.

April 1, 2016 at 12:25 am

Loved the article thanks Noah. It’s a relief too, I find social media to be… not a good use of my time.

March 17, 2016 at 5:20 pm

Enjoyed your email today, thanks for the real talk. So refreshing!

lluis mencheta
February 24, 2016 at 1:39 pm

The last time I felt a ‘pop’ in my brain was when read the biography on Wikipedia of one of my top favourite therapy writers, John O. Stevens, and discovered he was the same person that Steve Andreas… another top favourite of mine. What a good taste I have!

Andy S.
February 15, 2016 at 8:18 pm

What actually surprises me in online marketing (or marketing in general) is genuine, authentic people providing value for a reasonable price. The hype is so thick and so constant that actually culling through the bullshit becomes a skill. So, when I find someone authentic it’s quite refreshing.

Sciencing real, proven ways to market is a challenge, but the only real way to find methods that work.

Michael Green
January 8, 2016 at 2:11 am

Great article. Each product and service has unique selling points and require promotion through mediums to their demographic profile-Data Horticulture! It is all about conversion versus hype and the right mediums for communication. Great article,thank you!

January 8, 2016 at 12:07 am

I found out that you are in Austin! I am in Austin too working on a fitness startup. I sent the first email campaign in my life yesterday to a tiny list. I was super nervous when I was about to press the send button and kept refreshing the stats screen to see the numbers go up. Result is 30% open rate, out of which 25% either opened more than once, or clicked or subscribed to my list. Not a bad start. Can I buy you tacos in exchange for advice?

John K W
November 26, 2015 at 5:09 pm

Im suprised you are sellingb those king sumo shoes en masse nk

Charles Bradley
October 31, 2015 at 7:39 pm

Kudo’s to everyone sharing here…(nothing is more important to me right now over gaining other people’s perspective)
…Interesting topic; thought I’d chime in… To me, Twitter is perfect in terms of my social documentary…Reason being that I can get long winded at times and the 140 character limit solves that issue…Twitter to me is networking slash personal online diary… Facebook is more family check-in as well as page/group collaboration (I haven’t even started the contest’s yet)… ? If a company/person really wants to get at me on any serious business, they have to connect via #1)~Linked In~ ,2)Google hangouts, 3)my phone, or an 4) email that’s not bulk messenger related…
I don’t pit social media outlets against eachother…I look at each social media as a finger that when used together can grab the attention of industry leader’s…and they like it, as long as we don’t squeeze too hard… They can have ten thousand followers…I only want one follower…

“Creative Commons Corporation”
I advise any business that’s thinking on a global level to donate as much as they can…

…I waited thirty-six years to open my first Facebook & Twitter…You can believe that I’m after far more than follower’s…

LoL…this is why I tweet…

Love you guys…It’s difficult to find engaging intellectual conversation…I like to re-read old topic lines mostly… Take care all…And keep it coming Noah…This doesn’t happen w/out you…

October 22, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Solid post! It’s always interesting to think about what’s behind the numbers and what the numbers *actually* mean.

You asked the last time I was really surprised by something. Well, this one’s marketing related. I was pretty blown away this morning to learn that AirBnB thought it was a good idea to run an ad campaign in SF that complained about the fact that their business had to pay back taxes. Whiny and weird. What’s up with that? How did they think it was a good decision to publicly bemoan their success? Bizarre.

Story here via Ad Week:

Anyway, keep up the great work!

October 11, 2015 at 2:30 pm

I was super surprised today when my parents (my kids grandparents) showed no interest in my business that I pour my life into.

September 25, 2015 at 12:50 pm

Thanks for being so focus on results and less in marketing! Love your practical tips. Greetings from Argentina. Pablo.

annie smith
September 25, 2015 at 9:12 am

thanks so much for this post. we struggle with the likes and interaction on social media and I ‘m glad to see we aren’t the only ones!

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