Social Media Marketing generally seems to end up being the latest word that is buzz anybody seeking to increase their online presence and sales, it is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked around be?
S.M.M companies are now springing up all around the place these days and they are telling anyone that may listen regarding how incredibly important social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your business but, for the typical small to medium sized company, does marketing to social support systems really live as much as all of the hype? Is investing a small fortune on hiring a SMM business actually well worth it? And has anyone actually done their research on this before they hired someone to create up there Facebook business web page? Some SMM companies are setting up things like Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $1,000 or more and telling their clients that they do not require a website because Facebook is the greatest network that is social the world and everybody has a Facebook account. Now whilst it could be true that Facebook is the biggest social network in the world and yes, Facebook's users are prospective consumers, the real question is are they actually buying? Social media marketing companies are all too pleased to point the positives out of social networking like how many people use Facebook or just how many tweets were delivered a year ago and exactly how many people watch YouTube videos etc. but are you currently obtaining the full image? I when sat next to a SMM "expert" at business seminar who was simply spruiking to anybody who came within earshot about the amazing advantages of setting up a Facebook business page for small business (with him of course) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued by the aforementioned "experts" advice I looked him up on Facebook only to get he had only 11 Facebook buddies ( perhaps not a good start). So being the study nut that we am, I decided to take a good explore SMM in regards to attempting to sell to see if it really worked, who did it benefit of course it did why did Social Media Marketing work for them? And should business rely therefore greatly on social support systems for sales?
As a web developer I had been constantly (and now increasingly) confronted with several networking that is social when prospects would say that having a website appears good but they had a Facebook business page and had been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous "they") that social networks were the thing to accomplish, but after talking about their needs it became quite clear that people prospective clients didn't really know why they needed social networks or SMM to generate online product sales, They just wanted it. For small and medium business that is sized constantly recommended building a quality internet site over any kind of social network, why? Well it's easy really because social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not business media and business companies (that would become more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds simple but it's real while the statistics right back it. The reality is that social media does not tell you that Facebook is a social network maybe not a search engine and despite the number of Facebook users and Google users being around the same, people avoid Facebook just as they use a search engine like Google (which has around half the search motor market), Yahoo and Bing to search for company or products. They make use of it to communicate with family 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 reported that they do not engage brands over social media at all and only around 23% actually purposefully use social news to interact with brands. Now out of all the people who do utilize media that are social that do interact with brands whether purposefully or perhaps not, the majority (66%) say they have to feel a company is communicating honestly before they'll interact.
So how do you utilize media that are social? And is it even well worth doing?
Well firstly all I might say that having a well optimized internet site is still going to create you much more business that social news in most cases especially if you are a small to medium sized local business because a lot more individuals 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 lacking out on all that potential business. But despite all the ( maybe not brilliant) statistics I still think it is still a good idea for business to use social news simply not in the same way that a whole lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Since it's demonstrably not working in the means they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and Business as a whole looked at social networks like Facebook as a new market ripe for the picking when Facebook started getting users measured by the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel spent 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 and in October 2007, Microsoft announced that it had bought 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 facts is numbers does not buyers that are equal. Is it in a Social Media Marketing company's interest that is best to talk social networks up? Definitely. Can it be in a Social Network like Facebook's best passions 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 very nearly 90% to $3.71 billion so obviously the notion of SMM is working out for them but it is training for you? Well... statistically no, but that will not suggest that it never will.
I believe the major difference between social networks and se's is intent. People whom use Google are intentionally searching for something so if they do a seek out hairdressers that's what these are typically trying to find at that particular time. With something like Facebook the primary intent is usually to connect with friends and family members. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said " I don't think social support systems may be monetized in the same way that search (Search Engines) did... In three years from now we have actually to figure out just what the optimum model is. But that's perhaps not our focus that is primary today". Certainly One of the biggest problems business face with social support systems and SMM is perception. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value study there were "significant gaps between what companies think consumers care about and what consumers say they want from their social news interactions with companies." As an example in today's culture people are not merely going to hand you over there tips, Facebook likes, commentary or details without getting one thing back for me?" comes into play for it, so that the old adage "what's in it. So the reason that is primary individuals give for interacting with brands or business on social news is always to receive discounts, yet the brands and business themselves think the key reason people connect to them on social media marketing is to master about brand new products. For brands and business discounts that are receiving ranks 12th on the variety of reasons why people interact with them. Most businesses believe social networking will increase advocacy, but only 38 % of consumers agree.
Businesses have to find more innovative ways to link with social media if they want to see some type of derive from it. There had been some initiatives that are good in the IBM research of businesses which had gotten some sort of a handle on how to utilize social news to their advantage, keeping in mind that when asked what they do when they interact with businesses or brands via social networking, consumers list "getting discounts or coupons" and "purchasing products and solutions" as the very best two tasks, 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 consumer's questions via Twitter. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce the benefit is clearly in the favour associated with potential customer & the fantastic trick to social internet marketing is always to sell without attempting to sell (or looking like your selling) unfortunately most social networking marketing is focused the wrong manner.
Building a tangible buyer to consumer relationship via social media just isn't easy and probably the most benefit to business' using social media to boost their internet sites Google rankings. But company' have to recognize that you canot only setup a Facebook company web page and hope for the best. SMM requires effort and potential clients have to see value in everything you have to offer via your social media efforts give them one thing worth their and then you may get better results.