Social Media Marketing appears to function as the latest buzz word for anyone trying to increase their online presence and sales, but is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all its cracked around be?
S.M.M companies are now springing up all over the place these days and they are telling anyone that may listen about how exactly incredibly crucial social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your company but, for the common small to medium sized business, does marketing to social support systems really reside up to all of the buzz? Is spending a small fortune on employing a SMM company actually worth it? And has anyone actually done their research with this before they hired someone to create up there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are setting up things like Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $1,000 or higher and telling their customers that they don't need a website because Facebook is the greatest network that is social the world and everybody has a Facebook account. Now are they actually buying while it may be true that Facebook is the largest social network in the world and yes, Facebook's members are potential consumers, the real question is? Social media advertising companies are all too very happy to point out the positives of social media marketing like exactly how numerous people use Facebook or how many tweets were sent a year ago and exactly how many people watch YouTube videos etc. but have you been having the full picture? We once sat close to a SMM "expert" at business seminar who was simply spruiking to anybody who came within earshot about the amazing advantages of setting up a Facebook business page for business (with him of course) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued by the aforementioned "experts" advice I looked him up on Facebook only to get he previously only 11 Facebook friends ( maybe not a good start). So being the study nut that I have always been, I made the decision to take a good explore SMM in regards to selling to see if it really worked, who achieved it benefit if it did why did Social Media Marketing work for them? And really should business rely so heavily on social support systems for sales?
As a web developer I was constantly (and now increasingly) confronted with several social networking challenges when prospects would say that having a website sounds good but they had a Facebook business page and had been told by various sources (the ever current yet anonymous "they") that social networks were the thing to do, but after talking about their needs it became quite clear that people possible customers didn't actually understand why they needed social networks or SMM to create online product sales, They just wanted it. For small and medium business that is sized always recommended building a quality internet site over any kind of social network, why? Well it's easy really because social news is Social Media, and internet sites are Social Networks they're not business media and business systems (that would become more like LinkedIn). I realize that sounds simple but it's true and also the data straight back it. The reality is that social media marketing fails to tell you that Facebook is a social network perhaps not a search engine and despite the amount of Facebook users and Google users being across the same, people don't use Facebook in the same manner they use a search engine like Google (which has around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to search for business or items. They utilize it to communicate with household and friends or for news and entertainment. In a study that is recent by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55percent of all social media users reported that they do not engage with brands over social media at all and only around 23% actually purposefully use social news to connect with brands. Now out of all the people who do utilize media that are social who do communicate with brands whether purposefully or maybe not, the majority (66%) say they should feel a company is communicating honestly before they'll communicate.
So how do you utilize social networking marketing? And is it even well worth doing?
Well firstly all I might say that having a well optimized internet site is nevertheless going to bring you more business that social media in most cases especially than they ever will on any Social Media Site and if you don't have a website you're missing out on all of that potential business if you are a small to medium sized local business because far more people are going to type in "hairdresser Port Macquarie" into a search engine like Google, Yahoo and Bing. However despite all the ( not so great) statistics I still think it is still a good idea for business to use social news just perhaps not in the same way that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? As it's clearly not working in the method they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and Business as a whole looked over social networks like Facebook as a new market ripe for the picking when Facebook started getting users measured by the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US$500,000 for 7% regarding the company (in June 2004) and since them a couple of venture capital firms have made investments into Facebook as well as in October 2007, Microsoft announced so it had bought a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million. However since Facebook's humble beginnings up until now (2012) both SMM Companies and Business have failed to truly capitalise on the number that is huge of users online. The reality is numbers does not equal buyers. Is it in a Social Media Marketing company's interest that is best to talk social networks up? Absolutely. Could it be in a Social Network like Facebook's best interests for visitors to think that businesses can sell en masse by marketing and advertising with them? Of course it's. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the previous year as its revenue which is principally from marketing had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so obviously the notion of SMM is working out for them however it is exercising for you? Well... statistically no, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it never will.
I believe the difference that is major social networks and search-engines is intent. People who use Google are intentionally searching for something so if they do a seek out hairdressers that's what they have been seeking at that one time. With something like Facebook the primary intent is generally to connect with friends and family members. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said " I do not think social support systems may be monetized in the in an identical way that search (Search Engines) did... In three years from now we have to figure out just what the model that is optimum. But that's maybe not our focus that is primary today". Certainly One of the biggest problems company face with social networks and SMM is perception. In accordance with the IBM Institute for Business Value study there had been "significant gaps between what businesses think consumers worry about and exactly what consumers say they want from their social media interactions with organizations." For example in today's society people are not only going at hand you over there tips, Facebook likes, responses or details without getting one thing back for me?" comes into play for it, so that the old adage "what's in it. And so the reason that is primary people give for interacting with brands or business on social news is always to receive discounts, yet the brands and company themselves think the primary reason people interact with them on social media is to learn about brand new products. For brands and company receiving discounts only ranks 12th on the list of reasons why people interact with them. Most businesses believe social media will increase advocacy, but just 38 % of consumers agree.
Businesses need to find more ways that are innovative connect with social media when they want to see some type of result from it. There were some initiatives that are good in the IBM study of businesses that had gotten some kind of a handle on how to utilize social news to their advantage, bearing in mind that when asked what they are doing when they interact with businesses or brands via social networking, consumers list "getting discounts or coupons" and "purchasing products and services" as the most truly effective two activities, correspondingly a U.S ice cream company called Cold Stone Creamery offered discounts on their products on the Facebook page. Alternatively there is a great system launched by Best Buys in the U.S called Twelpforce where employees can respond to consumer's questions via Twitter. The benefit is clearly in the favour of the potential customer & the great trick to social media marketing is to sell without trying to sell (or looking like your selling) unfortunately most social media marketing is focused the wrong way with both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce.
Building a buyer that is tangible consumer relationship via social networking is not easy and essentially the most benefit to business' utilizing social networking to enhance their sites Google rankings. But business' have to recognize that you canot just setup a Facebook business page and hope to get the best. SMM calls for effort and potential clients need certainly to see value in everything you have to give you via your social networking efforts give them one thing worth their and then you could get greater results.