Social Media Marketing seems to function as latest buzz word for anybody seeking to increase their online presence and sales, but is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked around be?
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S.M.M companies are now springing up all around the place these days and they are telling anyone that will pay attention regarding how incredibly essential social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your company but, for the common small to medium sized company, does marketing to social support systems actually reside up to most of the buzz? Is spending a small fortune on employing a SMM company actually well worth it? And has anyone really done their research on this before they hired someone to create up there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are setting up things like Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $1,000 or even more and telling their clients that they don't need a website because Facebook is the largest myspace and facebook in the world and everybody has a Facebook account. Now while it could be real that Facebook is the biggest social network in the world and yes, Facebook's members are prospective consumers, the real question is are they actually buying? Social media advertising companies are all too very happy to point the positives out of social networking like how many people use Facebook or exactly how many tweets were delivered a year ago and just how many individuals watch YouTube videos etc. but have you been getting the full photo? We when sat next to a SMM "expert" at business seminar who was simply spruiking to whoever arrived within earshot about the amazing benefits of setting up a Facebook business page for business (with him of course) and selling on Facebook. Therefore, intrigued by the aforementioned "experts" advice I looked him up on Facebook only to locate he had only 11 Facebook friends ( maybe not a good start). So being the research nut if it actually worked, who did it work for and if it did why did Social Media Marketing work for them that I am, I decided to take a good look into SMM in regard to selling to see? And really should business rely so greatly on internet sites for sales?
As a web developer I was constantly (and now increasingly) confronted with several networking that is social when prospects would say that having a website sounds good but they had a Facebook business web page and had been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous "they") that social networks were the thing to accomplish, but after discussing their needs it became quite clear that those possible consumers didn't actually know why they needed social networks or SMM to create online product sales, They just wanted it. For small and medium business that is sized always recommended building a quality internet site over any kind of social network, why? Well it's simple really because social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social sites they're not business media and business sites (that would be more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds simple but it is true plus the data back it. The reality is that social internet marketing fails to tell you that Facebook is a social network not a search engine and despite the amount of Facebook users and Google users being around the same, people avoid Facebook just as which they use a search engine like Google (which has around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to search for business or services and products. They make use of it to keep in touch with family members and friends or for entertainment and news. In a recent research done by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of most social media users claimed that they do not engage with brands over social media marketing at all and only around 23% actually purposefully use social news to connect with brands. Now out of all the people who do make use of social media and that do communicate with brands whether purposefully or maybe not, almost all (66%) say they need to feel a company is communicating honestly before they will communicate.
So how do you employ social media marketing? And is it even well worth doing?
Well to begin all I might say that having a well optimized web site is still going to bring you more business that social news generally in most cases especially if you should be a tiny to medium sized local business because more individuals are going to type in "hairdresser Port Macquarie" into the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing than they ever will on any Social Media Site and if you don't have an internet site you're missing out on all that potential business. However despite all the ( not brilliant) statistics I still think it's still an idea that is good business to make use of social media just perhaps not just as that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Since it's clearly not working in the method they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and company as a whole looked at social networks like Facebook as a brand new 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 this business (in June 2004) and since them a couple of endeavor capital firms have made investments into Facebook plus in October 2007, Microsoft announced so it had purchased 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 number that is huge of users online. The reality is numbers does not equal buyers. Is it in a Social Media Marketing organization's best interest to talk social networks up? Positively. Is it in a Social Network like Facebook's best passions for people to believe that organizations can sell en masse by marketing and advertising with them? Of course it is. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its earnings had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the last year as its revenue which is especially from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the concept of SMM is working out for them however it is exercising for you? Well... statistically no, but that will not indicate that it never will.
I believe the difference that is major social networks and se's is intent. Individuals who utilize Google are intentionally searching for something so they are looking for at that particular time if they do a search for hairdressers that's what. With something like Facebook the primary intent is generally for connecting with friends and family members. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said " I do not think internet sites are monetized in the way that is same search (Search Engines) did... In 36 months from now we have to work out what the maximum model is. But that is perhaps not our focus that is primary today". Certainly One of the biggest problems company face with social networks and SMM is perception. In accordance with the IBM Institute for Business Value study there were "significant gaps between what businesses think consumers care about and exactly what consumers say they desire from their social news interactions with companies." For example in today's society people are not just going to hand you over there recommendations, Facebook likes, feedback or details without getting one thing back for it, so the old adage "what's inside it for me personally?" comes into play. So that the reason that is primary people give for interacting with brands or company on social news is always to receive discounts, yet the brands and business themselves think the main reason people interact with them on social media marketing is to learn about new products. For brands and company discounts that are receiving ranks 12th on their set of reasons why people interact with them. Most businesses think social networking will increase advocacy, but only 38 % of consumers agree.
Businesses need certainly to find more ways that are innovative link with social media if they want to see some sort of derive from it. There were some good initiatives shown in the IBM research of organizations which had gotten some form of a handle on what to make use of social media to their advantage, bearing in mind that when asked what they do when they connect to businesses or brands via social networking, consumers list "getting discounts or coupons" and "purchasing products and solutions" as the top two activities, respectively a U.S ice cream company called Cold Stone Creamery offered discounts on their products or services on their Facebook page. Alternatively there is a great program launched by Best Buys in the U.S called Twelpforce where employees can react to client's questions via Twitter. 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 with both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce.
Building a tangible buyer to consumer relationship via social networking is not easy and the most benefit to business' utilizing social media marketing to boost their sites Google rankings. But business' need to recognize that you canot just setup a Facebook company web page and hope for the greatest. SMM requires effort and potential customers need to see value in what you have to offer via your social media efforts provide them with one thing worth their and then you might get better results.