Buffer's Social Failure / Watershed
Last wee Buffer wrote about losing 40% of their "social traffic". While key metrics such as conversion rates or the value of the lost traffic weren't included their panic was unmistakeable.
Never panic may be the hardest lesson my team and I learned during my 7 year tenure as Director of Ecommerce for a multimillion dollar website. We didn't start that way.
We started as frightened and panic stricken as Buffer. We learned the hard way how little panic matters. The web is MATH and GAMBLING. Sometimes the math turns FOR you and sometimes against.
@Cendrine Marrouat - cendrinemarrouat.com makes great points in her LInkedIn post (linked along with my comment with a jump link on Make Buffer's Social Failure Your Success (http://www.curagami.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/10/buffer-failure-your-success.png ). One of my favorite points, and one overlooked by the Buffer team, is LOOK TO THYSELF.
Cendrine points to a harsh new truth - the world is FASTER, LEANER and more VISUAL than before. She notes how poorly Buffer has tuned their content to our new mobile, social and gamified world. Brilliant point well made (as usual form a favorite #mustfollow curator),
My point is Buffer ISN'T asking the right questions in the right way. They assume they want their traffic back, but they don't explain what if any deeper meaning their traffic has to their WHY - the reason they exist, the reason users love them. I point out that if traffic goes down but conversions go UP life is good since Buffer would be paying less for more subscribers.
The abject terror in Buffer's post would seem to indicate conversions are off too. As I noted in my original post, conversions are a TRAILING indicator and so unlikely to be off nearly as much as their traffic. Another way of saying that is losing some of their "social traffic" is nothing but net (good).
If I were part of Buffer's team we would be exploring Cendrine's important point - has our content and so our brand lost touch with our customers? What do we stand for? Why do our customers love us? Why might a new generation of customer love us?
None of those questions seem to be on Buffer's agenda. Instead they are on a "traffic hunt", a mistake so many make since meaningless metrics such as followers, traffic and likes abound. As I point out in our Curagami post - NO METRIC MEANS ANYTHING ON IT's OWN. Every metric is TIED to some other metric.
We tied traffic to money. Our $ by visitor was a great way to VALUE traffic in a meaningful way. When traffic went up or down money per visitor usually trailed. If traffic was down 40% money per visitor was probably down 15% or 20%. Eventually those lines cross or reach zero and you don't want that (lol).
Best way to avoid having your metrics reach zero is to avoid PANIC (it doesn't help and can distract), test, create a new plan, seek input and ask for help. Buffer is doing some of those, but they are using community tactics in a pedantic way - telling instead of showing, asking for help but not curating responses, not handing their keys over to the kids (their community).
So they started GREAT but have slipped back into the solipsism virus that effects so many web marketers. Cendrine's brilliant point about the TYPE of content being created is getting more of an airing on my blogs and social than Buffers (not good).
What about you? Are you experiencing "social traffic decline"? Have you stopped using tools like Buffer recently? Why? What do you think Buffer can do to recover?
Share your answers here, in comments on the Curagami post or email martin(at)Curagami.com and we will curate your thoughts in with a link back. Thanks, Marty