Social Media Marketing seems to be the latest buzz word for anyone trying to increase their online presence and sales, but is Social Media (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?
S.M.M companies are now springing up just about everywhere nowadays and they are generally telling anybody that will listen regarding how incredibly important social media marketing like Facebook twitter and YouTube will be to your business but, for that average small to medium-sized business, does marketing to social networking sites really fulfill each of the hype? Is spending a little fortune on employing a SMM company well worth it? And contains anyone really done their research with this before they hired someone to set up there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are putting together things like Facebook business pages (which can be free) for $600 to $one thousand or even more and telling their clients which they don’t require a website because Facebook will be the biggest social networking on the planet and everybody includes a Facebook account. Now while it could be factual that Facebook is definitely the largest social media on earth and yes, Facebook’s members are potential consumers, the real question for you is will they be actually buying? Social media marketing companies are too happy to indicate the positives of social media like how many people use Facebook or how many tweets were sent a year ago and how many individuals watch YouTube videos etc. however are you obtaining the full picture? One time i sat close to a SMM “expert” with a business seminar who has been spruiking to anybody who came within earshot about the amazing benefits associated with establishing a Facebook business page for small enterprise (with him obviously) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued by the aforementioned “experts” advice I looked him on Facebook only to discover he had only 11 Facebook friends (not a good beginning). So being the research nut that I am, I decided to take a good look into SMM in regard to selling to see if it genuinely worked, who made it happen work with and in case it did why did social media platforms work for them? And must business rely so heavily on social media sites for sales?
As a web developer I had been constantly (and today increasingly) confronted with several social media challenges when potential customers would claim that using a website sounds good but they had a Facebook business page along with been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social networks were the move to make, but after discussing their requirements it became quite clear that individuals prospective clients didn’t actually know why they needed social networks or SMM to create online sales, They simply wanted it. For small and medium-sized business I usually recommended creating a quality website over any sort of social networking, why? Well it’s simple really because social media is Social Media Marketing, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not business media and business networks (that would be similar to LinkedIn). I know that sounds simple but it’s true and also the statistics back it up. The truth is social media marketing fails to inform you that Facebook is a social media not a search engine and despite the quantity of Facebook users and Google users being round the same, people don’t use Facebook in the same manner that they use a search engine like Google (that has around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to look for business or products. They utilize it to communicate with family and friends or news and entertainment. In a recent study done by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of all social media users stated that they tend not to engage with brands over social networking whatsoever and only around 23% actually purposefully use social networking to interact with brands. Now out of all the individuals who do use social media and that do connect with brands whether purposefully or otherwise, the majority (66%) say they should feel a business is communicating honestly before they are going to interact.
Well to begin with I would personally state that possessing a well optimized website remains going to give you much more business that social networking generally specifically if you certainly are a small to medium-sized local business because a lot more people are going to key in “hairdresser Port Macquarie” into an internet search engine like Google, Yahoo and Bing compared to they ever will on any Social Networking Site and if you don’t have a website you’re losing out on all of that potential business. However despite each of the (not so good) statistics I still believe that it is still a great idea for business to use social media simply not in a similar manner that the majority of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly not working in how they promise it will. Basically SMM Companies and Business in general checked out social networks like Facebook as a fresh market ripe for the picking and once Facebook started getting users measured through the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US$500,000 for 7% of the company (in June 2004) and also, since them several venture capital firms are making investments into Facebook as well as in October 2007, Microsoft announced which it had bought 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 number of Facebook users online. The simple truth is numbers fails to equal buyers. Could it be in a Social Networking company’s welfare to dicuss social media sites up? Absolutely. Could it be in a Social Media like Facebook’s best interests for folks to think that companies can sell en masse by advertising and marketing with them? Of course it really is. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the previous year as the revenue which is mainly from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the thought of SMM is training on their behalf yet it is working out to suit your needs? Well… statistically no, but that does not always mean that it never will.
I think the main difference between social networks and look engines is intent. Those who use Google are deliberately trying to find something therefore if they perform a search for hairdressers that’s the things they are looking for at this particular time. With something such as Facebook the key intent is normally to connect with relatives and buddies. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social media sites may be monetized in the same way that search (Search Engine Listings) did… In 3 years from now we have to evaluate which the optimum model is. But that is not our primary focus today”. One of the greatest problems business face with social networking sites and SMM is perception. Based on the IBM Institute for Business Value study there was “significant gaps between what businesses think consumers care about and what consumers say they desire from their social media marketing interactions with companies.” As an example in today’s society people are not just likely to hand you there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back for it, and so the old adage “what’s inside it for me personally?” comes into play. So the main reason many people give for getting together with brands or business on social networking dfrbnq to obtain discounts, however the brands and business themselves think the main reason people communicate with them on social media marketing is to learn about new releases. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on their set of reasons why people connect with them. Most businesses believe social networking increases advocacy, only 38 % of clients agree.