Social Media Marketing seems to be the latest buzz word for anyone aiming to increase their online presence and sales, but is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?
S.M.M business are now springing up all over the place these days and they are telling anyone that will listen about how incredibly crucial social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your business however, for the typical small to medium sized business, does marketing to socials media really live up to all the hype? Is spending a little fortune on working with a SMM business truly worth it? And has anyone really done their research on this before they worked with somebody to set up there Facebook company page? Some SMM companies are establishing things like Facebook company pages (which are complimentary) for $600 to $1,000 or more and telling their customers that they do not need a website because Facebook is the most significant social media network in the world and everyone has a Facebook account. Now while it might be true that Facebook is the biggest social network worldwide and yes, Facebook's members are possible consumers, the real question is are they in fact purchasing? Social media marketing business are all too pleased to point out the positives of social media like how many individuals use Facebook or the number of tweets were sent out last year and the number of individuals watch YouTube videos etc. but are you getting the complete image? I when sat beside a SMM "professional" at a business workshop who was spruiking to anyone who came within earshot about the incredible advantages of establishing a Facebook company page for small business (with him of course) and selling on Facebook. Intrigued by the previously mentioned "professionals" recommendations I looked him up on Facebook just to find he had just 11 Facebook buddies (not a good start). So being the research nut that I am, I decided to take a great check out SMM in regard to 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 company rely so heavily on social networks for sales?
As a web developer I was constantly (and now increasingly) faced with several social networking obstacles when possible clients would state that having a site sounds good however they had a Facebook company page and had actually been informed by various sources (the ever present yet confidential "they") that social media networks were the important things to do, but after discussing their needs it ended up being quite clear that those prospective clients didn't really know why they required social media networks or SMM to produce online sales, They just wanted it. For medium and little sized service I always suggested constructing a quality site over any kind of social media, why? Well it's simple really since social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not organisation media and company networks (that would be more like LinkedIn). I understand that sounds easy however it holds true and the statistics back it up. The reality is that social media marketing fails to tell you that Facebook is a social media network not an online search engine and regardless of the number of Facebook users and Google users being around the exact same, people don't utilize Facebook in the same way that they use an online search engine like Google (which has around half the online search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to search for organisation or items. They utilize it to keep in touch with friends and family or for news and home entertainment. In a recent research study done by the IBM Institute for Service Value around 55% of all social media users stated that they do not engage with brand names over social media at all and only around 23% actually actively utilize social media to interact with brands. Now out of all individuals who do use social media and who do interact with brand names whether purposefully or not, the majority (66%) state they have to feel a company is interacting truthfully before they will interact.
How do you use social media marketing? And is it even worth doing?
Well first of all I would state that having a well optimized website is still going to bring you even more company that social media most of the times particularly if you are a little to medium sized local company because much more people are going to enter "hair stylist Port Macquarie" into a search engine like Google, Yahoo and Bing than they ever will on any Social Media Website and if you don't have a website you're losing out on all of that possible business. Nevertheless regardless of all the (not so good) data I still think it is still a great idea for service to utilize social media simply not in the same way that a lot of SMM experts are today, Why? Since it's plainly not operating in the way they claim it does. Generally SMM Business and Business as a whole took a look at social media networks like Facebook as a fresh market ripe for the selecting when Facebook started getting users measured by the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US$ 500,000 for 7% of the business (in June 2004) and given that them a few equity capital companies have actually made investments into Facebook and in October 2007, Microsoft revealed that it had actually purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million. Given that Facebook's humble beginnings up till now (2012) both SMM Companies and Company have actually stopped working to truly capitalise on the huge number of Facebook users online. The reality is numbers does not equivalent purchasers. Is it in a Social Media Marketing company's benefit to talk social networks up? Definitely. Is it in a Social Network like Facebook's best interests for individuals to think that business can offer en masse by advertising and marketing with them? Of course it is. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its revenues had leapt 65% to $1 billion in the previous year as Social Media Agency its earnings which is mainly from advertising had jumped nearly 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the idea of SMM is exercising for them however it is working out for you? Well ... statistically no, however that does not always suggest that it never will.
One of the most significant problems organisation face with social networks and SMM is understanding. The primary factor many people give for connecting with brand names or company on social media is to receive discount rates, yet the brand names and service themselves believe the primary factor people interact with them on social media is to learn about new items. A lot of companies believe social media will increase advocacy, however just 38 % of customers concur.
There were some good efforts shown in the IBM study of business that had gotten some sort of a handle on how to utilize social media to their advantage, keeping in mind that when asked exactly what they do when they interact with businesses or brands by means of social media, consumers list "getting discount rates or vouchers" and "purchasing products and services" as the top 2 activities, respectively an U.S ice cream company called Cold Stone Creamery provided discounts on their items on their Facebook page. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce the advantage is clearly in the favour of the fantastic trick & the prospective consumer to social media marketing is to sell without attempting to sell (or looking like your selling) regrettably most social media marketing is focused the wrong way.
Developing a concrete purchaser to consumer relationship through social media is hard and probably the most benefit to company' utilizing social media to boost their websites Google rankings. However business' have to comprehend that you can't simply setup a Facebook business page and expect the very best. SMM requires effort and possible customers need to see value in exactly what you have to provide by means of your social media efforts give them something worth their social interaction and time then you may get better outcomes.
Now just as a footnote Facebook shares have actually dropped to under $20 per share, that's half their initial rate ... and the claims are flying
As a web designer I was continuously (and now progressively) confronted with several social networking challenges when possible customers would say that having a website sounds excellent however they had a Facebook company page and had been informed by different sources (the ever present yet anonymous "they") that social networks were the thing to do, but after discussing their requirements it ended up being quite clear that those potential customers didn't really know why they required social networks or SMM to produce online sales, They just desired it. Well it's easy really because social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not organisation media and service networks (that would be more like LinkedIn). In a recent research study done by the IBM Institute for Service 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% in fact purposefully use social media to connect with brands. Well first of all I would state that having a well enhanced website is still going to bring you far more business that social media in the majority of cases particularly if you are a small to medium sized regional business due to the fact that 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 do not have a site you're missing out on all of that prospective company. The main reason most individuals give for connecting with brands or organisation on social media is to receive discounts, yet the brand names and business themselves believe the main factor people connect with them on social media is to find out about new items.