Social network Marketing appears to be the latest neologism for any person seeking to raise their on-line visibility and sales, however is Social Media Advertising And Marketing (SMM) all it is gone crazy to be?S.M.M firms are currently emerging all over the place these days and they are telling anyone that will listen about exactly how extremely crucial social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your service but, for the ordinary little to medium sized service, does advertising to social media networks truly measure up to all the hype? Is spending a small fortune on employing a SMM firm truly worth it? And has any individual actually done their research study on this prior to they worked with someone to establish there Facebook business web page? Some SMM business are setting up things like Facebook organization pages (which are cost-free) for $600 to $1,000 or more as well as informing their customers that they do not need an internet site because Facebook is the greatest social media network on the planet and also everybody has a Facebook account. Currently while it may hold true that Facebook is the biggest social network on the planet and also of course, Facebook’s participants are potential consumers, the real concern is are they actually buying? Social media advertising and marketing companies are all also pleased to explain the positives of social media sites like the amount of people make use of Facebook or the number of tweets were sent out last year and also the number of people watch YouTube videos and so on however are you getting the full image? I as soon as sat beside a SMM “professional” at a service seminar who was spruiking to anyone who came within earshot about the impressive benefits of establishing a Facebook business page for small business (with him naturally) and marketing on Facebook. So, fascinated by the aforementioned “specialists” advice I looked him up on Facebook just to find he had only 11 Facebook good friends (not an excellent begin). So being the research study nut that I am, I determined to take a great explore SMM in regard to marketing to see if it in fact functioned, who did it help and if it did why did Social Media Advertising and marketing work for them? And should company rely so greatly on socials media up for sale?
As a web programmer I was constantly (and currently significantly) confronted with a number of social networking challenges when prospective customers would claim that having an internet site sounds good but they had a Facebook business web page and had been told by numerous resources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social networks were things to do, yet after discussing their demands it came to be rather clear that those possible clients really did not really recognize why they required social media networks or SMM to produce online sales, They simply desired it. For little as well as medium sized organization I always recommended developing a high quality site over any type of social media network, why? Well it’s straightforward actually due to the fact that social media is Social media site, as well as social Networks are Social Networks they are not company media and service networks (that would be more like LinkedIn). I understand that sounds basic yet it holds true and the statistics back it up. The reality is that social media advertising fails to inform you that Facebook is a social network not an internet search engine and in spite of the number of Facebook customers as well as Google individuals being around the same, individuals do not use Facebook similarly that they use a search engine like Google (which has around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to search for business or products. They use it to 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 all social media users stated that they do not engage with brands over social media at all and only around 23% actually purposefully use social media to interact with brands. Now out of all the people who do use social media and who do interact with brands whether purposefully or not, the majority (66%) say they need to feel a company is communicating honestly before they will interact.
Well first of all I would say that having a well optimized website is still going to bring you far more business that social media in most cases especially 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 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. However despite all the (not so good) statistics I still think it is still a good idea for business to use social media just not in the same way that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly not working in the way they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and Business as a whole looked at social networks like Facebook as a fresh 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 few venture capital firms have made investments into Facebook and in October 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased 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 huge number of Facebook users online. The truth is numbers does not equal buyers. Is it in a Social Media Marketing company’s best interest to talk social networks up? Absolutely. Is it in a Social Network like Facebook’s best interests for people to believe that companies can sell en masse by advertising and marketing with them? Of course it is. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the previous year as its revenue which is mainly from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the concept of SMM is working out for them but it is working out for you? Well … statistically no, but that does not necessarily mean that it never will.
I believe the major difference between social networks and search engines is intent. People who use Google are deliberately searching for something so if buy instagram live video views they do a search for hairdressers that’s what they are looking for at that particular time. With something like Facebook the primary intent is usually to connect with friends and family. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social networks can be monetized in the same way that search (Search Engines) did … In three years from now we have to figure out what the optimum model is. But that is not our primary focus today”. One of the biggest problems business face with social networks and SMM is perception. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value study there were “significant gaps between what businesses think consumers care about and what consumers say they want from their social media interactions with companies.” For example in today’s society people are not just going to hand you over there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back for it, so the old adage “what’s in it for me?” comes into play. So the primary reason most people give for interacting with brands or business on social media is to receive discounts, yet the brands and business themselves think the main reason people interact with them on social media is to learn about new products. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on their list of reasons why people interact with them. Most businesses believe social media will increase advocacy, but only 38 % of consumers agree.
Companies need to find more innovative ways to connect with social media if they want to see some sort of result from it. There were some good initiatives shown in the IBM study of companies that had gotten some sort of a handle on how to use social media to their advantage, keeping in mind that when asked what they do when they interact with businesses or brands via social media, 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 great program launched by Best Buys in the U.S called Twelpforce where employees can respond to customer’s questions via Twitter. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce 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.
Building a tangible buyer to consumer relationship via social media is not easy and probably the most benefit to business’ using social media to boost their websites Google rankings. But business’ need to understand that you can’t just setup a Facebook business page and hope for the best. SMM requires effort and potential customers need to see value in what you have to offer via your social media efforts give them something worth their social interaction and time and then you may get better results.