Social Media seems to be the most recent buzz word for anyone looking to enhance their online presence and sales, but is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?
S.M.M companies are now springing up everywhere these days plus they are telling anybody that will listen about how exactly incredibly important social media marketing like Facebook twitter and YouTube will be to your small business but, for the average small to medium-sized business, does marketing to social networking sites really fulfill all of the hype? Is spending a small fortune on hiring a SMM company really worth it? And has anyone really done their research with this before they hired someone to put together there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are putting together such things as Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $1,000 or even more and telling their clients they don’t require a website because Facebook is the biggest social network on earth and everybody features a Facebook account. Now while it could be factual that Facebook is the largest social networking on the planet and yes, Facebook’s members are potential consumers, the real real question is are they actually buying? Social media marketing companies are common too happy to point out the positives of social networking like the amount of people use Facebook or how many tweets were sent last year and exactly how many individuals watch YouTube videos etc. however are you obtaining the full picture? One time i sat next to a SMM “expert” at a business seminar who has been spruiking to anybody who came within earshot concerning the amazing benefits of starting a Facebook business page for business (with him obviously) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued from the aforementioned “experts” advice I looked him up on Facebook only to discover he had only 11 Facebook friends (not a good start). So being the investigation nut i am, I made the decision to take a good look into SMM when it comes to selling to find out if it actually worked, who made it happen work for and if it did why did social media sites work for them? And must business rely so heavily on social networks for sales?
As being a web developer I used to be constantly (now increasingly) confronted with several social media challenges when potential customers would claim that possessing a website sounds good however they experienced a Facebook business page and had been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social networking sites were the thing to do, but after discussing their demands it became quite clear that those prospective clients didn’t actually know why they needed social networks or SMM to produce online sales, They only wanted it. For small, and medium-sized business I usually recommended building a quality website over any sort of social network, why? Well it’s simple really because social media is Social Media Marketing, and social Networks are Social Networks they are certainly not business media and business networks (that would be a lot more like LinkedIn). I am aware that sounds simple but it’s true and also the statistics back it up. The reality is that social media marketing fails to let you know that Facebook is a social media 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 the same way that they use a search engine like Google (which includes around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to search for business or products. They utilize it to keep in touch with friends and relations or news and entertainment. In a recent study done by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of all the social networking users stated they usually do not engage with brands over social networking in any way and only around 23% actually purposefully use social networking to interact with brands. Now out of all the people who use social networking and that do connect with brands whether purposefully or otherwise, the majority (66%) say they should feel an organization is communicating honestly before they will interact.
Well to start with I might state that possessing a well optimized website is still planning to provide you with far more business that social media marketing typically especially if you really are a small to mid-sized small business because a lot more people will key in “hairdresser Port Macquarie” into a search engine like Google, Yahoo and Bing compared to what they ever will on any Social Networking Site and if you don’t use a website you’re missing out on all that potential business. However despite all the (not so good) statistics I still think it is still a wise idea for business to utilize social media marketing not in the same manner that the majority of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly not working in the manner they promise it can. Basically SMM Companies and Business as a whole looked at social networking sites like Facebook as a fresh market ripe for your picking and when Facebook started getting users measured from the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US$500,000 for 7% of the company (in June 2004) and also since them a few venture capital firms are making investments into Facebook and in October 2007, Microsoft announced which 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 neglected to truly capitalise on the huge number of Facebook users online. The simple truth is numbers fails to equal buyers. Is it in a Social Media company’s best interest to talk social networking sites up? Absolutely. Will it be in a Social Networking like Facebook’s best interests for folks to believe that companies can sell en masse by advertising and marketing together? Of course it really is. At the begining of 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the previous year as the revenue that is mainly from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the idea of SMM is training on their behalf yet it is exercising for you personally? Well… statistically no, but that does not always mean which it never will.
In my opinion the major difference between social networking sites and check engines is intent. Individuals who use Google are deliberately looking for something in case they perform a search for hairdressers that’s what they are searching for at that particular time. With something similar to Facebook the main intent is generally to get in touch with family and friends. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social media sites can be monetized in a similar manner that search (Search Engine Listings) did… In 36 months from now we need to determine what the optimum model is. But that is certainly not our primary focus today”. One of the biggest problems business face with social networking sites and SMM is perception. Based on the IBM Institute for Business Value study there was “significant gaps between what businesses think consumers care about and what consumers say they want off their social media interactions with companies.” For example in today’s society people are not just going to hand you there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back because of it, and so the old adage “what’s in it to me?” comes into play. So the primary reason most people give for getting together with brands or business on social media marketing dfrbnq to obtain discounts, yet the brands and business themselves think the key reason people connect with them on social media is to discover new releases. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on their own list of main reasons why people connect with them. Most businesses believe social media marketing increases advocacy, only 38 % of consumers agree.