Social Media Advertising, Reality as well as Is
Social Media Marketing is apparently the most recent buzz word for everyone looking to boost their online presence and sales, but is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked around be?
S.M.M companies are now actually springing up all around the place nowadays and they’re telling anyone that will listen about how precisely incredibly important social media marketing like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your organization but, for the average small to medium-sized business, does marketing to social support systems really meet all of the hype? Is spending a tiny fortune on hiring a SMM company really worth it? And has anyone really done their research with this before they hired someone to setup there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are setting up things like Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $1,000 or maybe more and telling their clients they don’t need a web site because Facebook is the greatest social network on the planet and everybody features a Facebook account.
Now while it might be true that Facebook is the greatest social network on the planet and yes, Facebook’s members are potential consumers, the real question is are they actually buying? Social media marketing companies are typical too happy to indicate the positives of social media marketing like how many people use Facebook or how many tweets were delivered this past year and how many people watch YouTube videos etc. but are you getting the entire picture? I once sat next to a SMM “expert” at a company seminar who was spruiking to anybody who came within earshot in regards to the amazing advantages of setting up a Facebook business page for business (with him of course) and selling on Facebook. instagram panel So, intrigued by the aforementioned “experts” advice I looked him through to Facebook only to get he’d only 11 Facebook friends (not an excellent start). So being the study nut that I am, I chose to take a good consider SMM regarding selling to see if it really worked, who did it work for and if it did why did Social Media Marketing work for them? And should business rely so heavily on social support systems for sales?
As a net developer I was constantly (and now increasingly) confronted by several social networking challenges when potential clients would claim that having a web site sounds good but they had a Facebook business page and have been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social support systems were the action to take, but after discussing their needs it became quite clear that those potential clients didn’t actually know why they needed social support systems or SMM to generate online sales, They just wanted it. For small and medium-sized business I usually recommended developing a quality website over almost any social network, why? Well it’s simple really because social media marketing is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they’re not business media and business networks (that would be similar to LinkedIn). I understand that sounds simple but it’s true and the statistics back it up.
The fact is that social media marketing marketing fails to tell you that Facebook is a social network not a research engine and despite how many Facebook users and Google users being around the exact same, people don’t use Facebook in the exact same way they make use of a search engine like Google (which has around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to find business or products. They put it to use to help keep in touch with family and friends or for news and entertainment. In a recent study done by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of most social media marketing users stated that they don’t engage with brands over social media marketing at all and only around 23% actually purposefully use social media marketing to interact with brands. Now out of all those who do use social media marketing and who do interact with brands whether purposefully or not, most (66%) say they need to feel a company is communicating honestly before they’ll interact.
So how do you use social media marketing marketing? And can it be even worth doing?
Well to start with I’d claim that having a well optimized website continues to be going to create you much more business that social media marketing typically particularly if you really are a small to medium-sized local business because far more folks are likely to type in “hairdresser Port Macquarie” into a research engine like Google, Yahoo and Bing than they ever will on any Social Media Site and if you don’t have a web site you’re missing all of this potential business. However despite all of the (not so good) statistics I still believe that it is still advisable for business to use social media marketing just not in the exact same way that many of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly not in the direction they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and Business all together looked at social support systems like Facebook as a brand new market ripe for the picking and when Facebook started getting users measured by the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US$500,000 for 7% of the company (in June 2004) and since them a couple of venture capital firms have made investments into Facebook and in October 2007, Microsoft announced so it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million. However since Facebook’s humble beginnings up to now (2012) both SMM Companies and Business have failed to truly capitalise on the huge quantity of Facebook users online. The stark reality is numbers doesn’t equal buyers. Could it be in a Social Media Marketing company’s best interest to talk social support systems up? Absolutely. Could it be in a Social Network like Facebook’s best interests for individuals to trust that companies can sell en masse by advertising and marketing together? Needless to say it is. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the earlier year as its revenue which can be mainly from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the idea of SMM is training for them but it is training for you personally? Well… statistically no, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that it never will.
I think the major difference between social support systems and search engines is intent. Those who use Google are deliberately looking for something so if they do a look for hairdressers that’s what they are looking for at that specific time. With something like Facebook the principal intent is usually to connect with friends and family. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social support systems can be monetized in the exact same way that search (Search Engines) did… In 36 months from we now have to find out what the optimum model is. But that is not our primary focus today” ;.One of the biggest problems business face with social support systems and SMM is perception. Based on the IBM Institute for Business Value study there have been “significant gaps between what businesses think consumers value and what consumers say they desire from their social media marketing interactions with companies.” For example in today’s society people are not just going handy you over there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back for it, therefore the old adage “what’s inside it for me?” comes into play. So the principal reason most people give for reaching brands or business on social media marketing is to receive discounts, the brands and business themselves think the key reason people interact with them on social media marketing is to understand about new products. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on their set of explanations why people interact with them. Most businesses believe social media marketing increase advocacy, but only 38 % of consumers agree.
Companies need to get more innovative ways to connect with social media marketing if they wish to see some kind of derive from it. There have been good quality initiatives shown in the IBM study of firms that had gotten some kind of a handle on the best way to use social media marketing with their advantage, keeping in mind that whenever asked what they do once they interact with businesses or brands via social media marketing, consumers list “getting discounts or coupons” and “purchasing products and services” as the top two activities, respectively a U.S ice cream company called Cold Stone Creamery offered discounts on their products on their Facebook page. Alternatively there is a good program launched by Best Buys in the U.S called Twelpforce where employees can react to customer’s questions via Twitter. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce the benefit is obviously in the favour of the potential customer & the fantastic trick to social media marketing marketing is to market without selling (or looking like your selling) unfortunately most social media marketing marketing is focused the incorrect way.
Building a real buyer to consumer relationship via social media marketing is difficult and one of the most benefit to business’ using social media marketing to boost their websites Google rankings. But business’ need to realize that you can’t just setup a Facebook business page and expect the best. SMM requires effort and potential customers need to see value in that which you have to supply via your social media marketing efforts provide them with something worth their social interaction and time and then you may get better results.