Does Social Media Still “Work” As A Marketing Method For Beginners?

Reading time – 7 minutes

Gary Vee says that every business owner in the universe needs to be posting multiple pieces of content per day on social media platforms like TikTok and LinkedIn. He swears by this advice and constantly screams it to the rooftops, saying that doing this will make you money and get you customers, eventually.

He argues that social media truly is the world today and attention is the new currency of the 21st century, so you need to be at the forefront of this to beat your competition and make money.

At the same time, a lot of people are saying that 100% organic social media as a way to market your business is not worth it anymore and that the window for that opportunity has passed. They say instead to forget about all that influencer shit and instead focus on buying paid ads on social media to get customers rather than posting organic content.

They argue that A) the algorithms for social media suck now, B) big social media companies are crushing free speech, C) the big name guys like Joe Rogan and Mr. Beast are sucking up all the air, and D) most people are interested in looking at things like girls in bikinis or Lamborghinis on social media rather than real content.

Which side is right?

As is usually the case, they’re both wrong and the real answer is a little more complicated.

I’ll address each of the pro and con arguments above.

The algorithms most social media platforms are now using are indeed unquestionablydreadful as compared to pre-2017 or so, particularly on YouTube (the worst) and Facebook (the second-worst). Before 2017 or so, you could go to YouTube and as long as you posted new videos frequently and SEO-optimized them for the algorithm, your channel would grow into something real, even if you talked about obscure or politically incorrect topics. 

Today that is untrue. Even if you do everything on the technical side to optimize for the algorithm, if your topic isn’t one approved the today’s oppressive, politically-correct, mostly left-wing algorithm, you’re not going to get shit for regular viewers unless you run paid ads to your content or go on a lot of other people’s podcasts/videos to promote your channel.

I went through this myself and a lot of other people have too. I had blog readers measured in the millions but as soon as I made the transition to YouTube I was still at less than 10K subscribers even after many years of posting consistently and literally hundreds of videos while doing all the stupid SEO shit you’re supposed to do. I was talking about algorithm-unfriendly topics so my videos never got any traction.

When I was on TikTok, I indeed had several videos that went viral and my subscriber count skyrocketed to over 40K very quickly, which was great, until they permanently banned me for some reason and never told me why. I had a similar experience on Instagram. So not only do you have to overcome the impossible algorithm, but you must also wrestle with the authoritarian, anti-free-speech, ban-happy nature of these largely left-wing platforms.

The argument that the big guys are sucking up all the air is not one I think I agree with, since there have been people in my audience that have made social media platforms work in a post-Joe Rogan world. Chris Williamson of the Modern Wisdom YouTube channel has completely blown up and is now one of the biggest podcasters in the world, up there with people like Lex Friedman. If you go back on his very old episodes you’ll see he and I talking when we both looked very different. Super proud of him. Henry of Invest With Henry also kicked ass on YouTube very quickly and now he makes six figures a month. These guys made it work by being algorithm-friendly and putting in a lot of hard work, so it can be done under certain conditions, depending on what your topic is.

Also, Gary Vee is right in that we live in a social media world whether we like it or not. To completely ignore this as a tool in your business I think is a big mistake, despite the fact that I agree it horribly sucks as compared to six or seven years ago.

I also completely disagree with the argument that people on social media are all stupid now and are just interested in Kardashian-like content. The fact that long-form podcasts are so hugely popular and the fact that guys like Justin Welch can make a seven-figure income from just writing articles on LinkedIn clearly show that there are a lot of smart, higher-attention-span people still online who consume informational content.

So given all of this background and data, here’s how I use social media in my business, and here’s what I recommend for most other people who have or are starting an online business and not trying to be a hardcore influencer.

Very unlike most people on social media, I do not rely on any organic social media to bring me any new customers. When I say “organic” that means only free social media content, not spending any money to run ads or boost visibility. Sure, I get a few new customers through free organic traffic now and again, but I never rely on it and I consider these customers as bonuses and not something I can plan on. I’ve stated publicly many times that I don’t want to be famous and that I want the minimum amount of people to know me to hit my financial objectives.

Instead, I focus on getting new customers through A) paid advertising on social media (I do several different kinds), B) word of mouth, and C) going on other people’s podcasts/videos when I have the time (which I usually don’t). Those three methods are listed in order of how important they are to me. This way can accurately predict how many new customers I get in a given period instead of just posting a shitload of content and keeping my fingers crossed and hoping I get new customers.

However, I still post a ton of regular, free organic content to my chosen social media platforms. Why do I do this if I don’t expect any new customers from it?

Ah, because I’m using social media for what it’s good at: warming your audience to you and showing that you are an authentic person who gives lots of value.

So you come into my world via some kind of paid ad or referral. You might buy something from me or you might not. But then you see or watch several videos, live streams, podcasts, posts, and/or blog posts from me clearly showing that I’m a real and authentic person who really knows what he’s talking about in the niche areas he focuses on, and who is also at least a little entertaining and different. Then, with that trust built, you buy something from me and feel good about it.

I consider my paid ads as the water pitcher you pour into the tea kettle and social media as the stove I use to warm up the water to make the tea. I don’t consider social media as the water pitcher, which is where I think a lot of people get disappointed.

So I absolutely use social media a lot and will do more this year as I expand into Twitter/X and LinkedIn. I’m just using social media a little different than most folks. This is why I crank out a lot of content, but I don’t give a shit about SEO, fancy equipment, or editing. My content is for my warm audience who doesn’t care about that stuff, not for a cold audience. I’ll get more cold audience members by running more ads because this is something I can directly control.

This brings up one last question: What if you DO want to be a 100% influencer and make it big on social media, today in 2024 and beyond? Is that still viable?

The answer is yes because I’ve just given you examples of people who have done it recently, but it’s a very qualified yes.

In my opinion, the only way you can make it big as an influencer today is to ensure these four things:

1. Your topic is algorithm-friendly. Examples of algorithm-friendly topics would be things like current events, politics, the stock market, AI, cryptocurrency, weightlifting, Star Wars, and Batman. The algorithm will actually help to boost these topics to more people. But if your topic isn’t algorithm-friendly at all, like talking about smoking weed, moving out of the USA, conspiracy theories, sex, obscure board games, or how to make bird feeders, the algorithm will literally suppress your content to make room for the topics it likes.

2. You are very, very niched. Teaching generic weight loss advice will get you nowhere. But teaching health advice to a very narrow type of person, like East Asian mothers over 60, will possibly get you traction.

3. You crank out a lot of content, every day, seven days a week.

4. You network with other influencers to get your name out there.

Question of The Week:

To have your question featured here where I will write an entire article addressing it, click here. You will always remain anonymous.

K.R. Writes:

I am going to utilize your services for obtaining residency in Paraguay in the near future. I am already convinced of Paraguay’s value as a residency option; however, I am deliberating on the feasibility of conducting business operations from within the country as well. It is my understanding that Paraguay does not impose taxes on income generated from sources outside the country. Given this, would there be any advantage to establishing a corporation in Paraguay and conducting business through this entity, or would that be unnecessary?

I appreciate the efforts and information you provide.

Thank you.

It depends on what your objectives are in the country. If all you want to do is just use it as flag where you spend several months a year there and that’s all you want, then there is no need to start a corporation there. You just take 100% of your income from your non-Paraguayan sources and pay zero taxes to Paraguay for them, which keeps things simple. Be sure to set up whatever corporation you are using in a country that won’t charge you any (or low) taxes on that corporate income, like Dubai, Hong Kong, Bahamas, Vanuatu, etc.

However, if you want to do other things in Paraguay, especially if you’re going to live there full-time for the long-term, it can often help to set up a corporation there. Here are some of the benefits of having a corporation there:

  • It raises your odds of getting a passport/citizenship there eventually.
  • You can do business inside the country with other “real” corporations.
  • You can use the corporation to buy land or real estate.
  • You may qualify for various benefits for foreigners owning real estate from the government.

Yeah, you’ll pay a tax for any income, but Paraguay is one of the lowest-taxed countries in the world. The corporate tax there is only 10% (sometimes less) and the personal income tax, which you might not even need to pay, is 8-10%. It’s almost nothing, so it’s not a big deal.

If your plan is to get a Paraguay passport at some point in the future I 100% recommend you set up a corporation there and start running real business/cash through it. It will help a ton.


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1 Comment
  • TikTok search ads
    Posted at 08:14 pm, 6th May 2024

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