Social Media Marketing seems to be the newest buzz word for anyone trying to increase their online presence and sales, but is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?
S.M.M companies are springing up just about everywhere today plus they are telling anyone who will listen about how incredibly important social networking like Facebook twitter and YouTube are going to your business but, for that average small to mid-sized business, does marketing to social networks really meet all the hype? Is spending a tiny fortune on getting a SMM company really worth it? And it has anyone really done their research about this before they hired someone to setup there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are establishing such things as Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $one thousand or more and telling their customers they don’t need a website because Facebook is the biggest social media on the planet and everybody includes a Facebook account. Now while it may be correct that Facebook will be the largest social networking on the planet and yes, Facebook’s members are potential consumers, the true question for you is will they be actually buying? Social media companies are common too happy to point out the positives of social media like the amount of people use Facebook or how many tweets were sent out last year and just how many individuals watch YouTube videos etc. however are you obtaining the full picture? I once sat close to a SMM “expert” in a business seminar who had been spruiking to anyone that came within earshot regarding the amazing advantages of setting up a Facebook business page for small business (with him obviously) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued from the aforementioned “experts” advice I looked him on Facebook only to find he had only 11 Facebook friends (not a good start). So being the investigation nut that I am, I made the decision to take a look into SMM in regard to selling to find out if it really worked, who did it benefit and if it did why did social media apps work with them? And should business rely so heavily on social networking sites for sales?
As a web developer I used to be constantly (and now increasingly) confronted with several social media challenges when potential clients would claim that having a website sounds good nevertheless they experienced a Facebook business page along with been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social networking sites were the action to take, but after discussing their demands it became quite clear those potential customers didn’t actually know why they needed social networks or SMM to produce online sales, They simply wanted it. For small and medium sized business I always recommended constructing a quality website over any type of social networking, why? Well it’s simple really because social networking is Social Networking, and social media sites are Social Media Sites they are not business media and business networks (that would be more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds simple but it’s true and the statistics support it. The truth is social media marketing fails to tell you that Facebook is actually a social networking not an internet search engine and despite the amount of Facebook users and Google users being around the same, people don’t use Facebook in a similar manner they use an internet search engine like Google (which has around half the major search engines market), Yahoo and Bing to find business or products. They utilize it to connect with friends and relations or for news and entertainment. In a recent study carried out by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of all the social media marketing users stated that they usually do not engage with brands over social media marketing at all and just around 23% actually purposefully use social media marketing to interact with brands. Now of the many those who use social networking and that do interact with brands whether purposefully or otherwise, many (66%) say they should feel an organization is communicating honestly before they will likely interact.
Well to start with I would claim that possessing a well optimized website remains planning to provide you with a lot more business that social networking typically particularly if you really are a small to mid-sized small business because a lot more people are likely to type “hairdresser Port Macquarie” into the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing than they ever will on any Social Networking Site and if you don’t have a website you’re missing out on all that potential business. However despite all the (not too good) statistics I still think it is still a great idea for business to make use of social media not in the same way that many SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly no longer working in the way they claim it will. Basically SMM Companies and Business in general looked at social networks like Facebook as a fresh market ripe for that picking so when Facebook started getting users measured through the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US$500,000 for 7% in the company (in June 2004) and also, since them a couple of venture capital firms make investments into Facebook and in October 2007, Microsoft announced 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 did not truly capitalise on the huge number of Facebook users online. The truth is numbers fails to equal buyers. Will it be in a Social Media Marketing company’s interest to talk social networking sites up? Absolutely. Is it in a Social Network like Facebook’s needs for people to believe that companies can sell en masse by advertising and marketing along with them? Needless to say it really is. At the begining of 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 training to them however it is exercising to suit your needs? Well… statistically no, but that does not necessarily mean which it never will.
I believe the key distinction between social networks and look engines is intent. Those who use Google are deliberately looking for something so if they perform a search for hairdressers that’s whatever they are searching for at that particular time. With something similar to Facebook the main intent is generally for connecting with relatives and buddies. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social networking sites can be monetized in the same manner that search (Search Engines Like Google) did… In three years from now we need to evaluate which the optimum model is. But that is not our primary focus today”. One of the biggest problems business face with social networking sites and SMM is perception. In accordance with the IBM Institute for Business Value study there was “significant gaps between what businesses think consumers worry about and what consumers say they desire off their social networking interactions with companies.” For instance in today’s society people are not just planning to hand you over there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back for this, so the old adage “what’s in it for me?” is necessary. So the primary reason many people give for getting together with brands or business on social media marketing dfrbnq to receive discounts, however the brands and business themselves think the main reason people interact with them on social media is to discover new items. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on the listing of main reasons why people interact with them. Most businesses believe social media marketing improves advocacy, but only 38 % of clients agree.