Social network Advertising seems to be the latest buzz word for anybody wanting to enhance their on-line presence and also sales, yet is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is gone crazy to be?S.M.M firms are currently springing up everywhere these days and also they are informing anybody that will pay attention concerning exactly how exceptionally essential social media like Facebook twitter as well as YouTube are to your organization but, for the average little to medium sized organization, does advertising and marketing to social networks really live up to all the buzz? Is spending a small ton of money on working with a SMM business truly worth it? And also has any person really done their study on this before they worked with somebody to set up there Facebook organization web page? Some SMM business are setting up things like Facebook service web pages (which are cost-free) for $600 to $1,000 or more and also informing their customers that they don’t need an internet site due to the fact that Facebook is the biggest social media network in the world and everybody has a Facebook account. Now while it may hold true that Facebook is the largest social media in the world and of course, Facebook’s participants are prospective customers, the real inquiry is are they in fact getting? Social network advertising firms are all too pleased to mention the positives of social media like the number of people use Facebook or how many tweets were sent out last year and also how many individuals see YouTube videos etc yet are you obtaining the full image? I once rested alongside a SMM “expert” at a business workshop that was spruiking to anybody who came within earshot regarding the outstanding benefits of setting up a Facebook organization web page for local business (with him naturally) as well as selling on Facebook. So, captivated by the aforementioned “professionals” suggestions I looked him up on Facebook only to discover he had just 11 Facebook good friends (not an excellent begin). So being the research nut that I am, I chose to take an excellent check out SMM in relation to marketing to see if it in fact worked, who did it benefit and also if it did why did Social Media Marketing help them? And should business depend so heavily on social media networks available?
As a web designer I was continuously (and currently increasingly) challenged with numerous social networking obstacles when possible clients would say that having a website seems excellent however they had a Facebook business web page and also had been told by different sources (the ever existing yet confidential “they”) that socials media were the thing to do, however after discussing their needs it became rather clear that those possible clients really did not in fact understand why they required social media networks or SMM to create online sales, They simply wanted it. For tiny and also medium sized business I constantly advised building a high quality internet site over any kind of type of social network, why? Well it’s basic really since social networks is Social Media, and also social Networks are Social Networks they are not service media and company networks (that would be a lot more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds straightforward but it holds true and also the data back it up. The fact is that social media advertising and marketing falls short to buy instagram live video views tell you that Facebook is a social network not a search engine and also regardless of the number of Facebook users as well as Google customers being around the same, people don’t make use of Facebook in the same way 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 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.