Social Media Marketing seems to be the most recent buzz word for everyone looking to boost their online presence and sales, but is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked as much as be?As a website developer I was constantly (and now increasingly) met with several social networking challenges when potential clients would claim that having a website sounds good but they had a Facebook business page and have been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social networks were the move to make, but after discussing their needs it became quite clear that those potential clients didn’t actually know why they needed social networks or SMM to generate online sales,
They just wanted it. For small and mid-sized business I recommended building a quality website over almost any social network, why? Well it’s simple really because social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not business media and business networks (that could be a lot more like LinkedIn). I understand that sounds simple but it’s true and the statistics back it up. The truth is that social media marketing fails to inform you that Facebook is a cultural network not a research engine and despite the number of Facebook users and Google users being around the same, people don’t use Facebook in the same way which they use a se like Google (which has around half the se market), Yahoo and Bing to find business or products. They put it to use to keep in touch with family and friends and for news and entertainment. In a current study done by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of all social media users stated that they don’t 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 of the individuals who do use social media and who do interact with brands whether purposefully or not, almost all (66%) say they have to feel an organization is communicating honestly before they will interact.
So how will you use social media marketing? And could it be even worth doing?
Well first of all I would claim that having a well optimized website remains going to bring you far more business that social media in most cases particularly if you are a small to mid-sized local business because far more folks will type in “hairdresser Port Macquarie” into a research 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 all of that potential business. However despite all the (not so good) statistics I still think it is still advisable for business to use social media simply not in the same way that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly not in the direction they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and Business in general looked over 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 the company (in June 2004) and since them a couple of venture capital firms have made investments into Facebook and in October 2007, Microsoft announced so it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million. However since Facebook’s humble beginnings until now (2012) both SMM Companies and Business have failed to seriously capitalise on the huge number of Facebook users online. The simple truth is numbers does not equal buyers. Could it be in a Social Media Marketing company’s best interest to talk social networks up? Absolutely. smm provider Could it be in a Social Network like Facebook’s best interests for individuals to trust that companies can sell en masse by advertising and marketing together? Needless to say it is. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the earlier 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 personally? Well… statistically no, but that doesn’t necessarily signify 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 seek out hairdressers that’s what they are searching for at that one time. With something such as Facebook the principal intent is normally for connecting with friends and family. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social networks could 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” ;.Among the biggest problems business face with social networks and SMM is perception. In line with the IBM Institute for Business Value study there were “significant gaps between what businesses think consumers value and what consumers say they desire from their social media interactions with companies.” For instance in today’s society people aren’t just going handy 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 personally?” makes play. So the principal reason a lot of people give for getting together with brands or business on social media is to receive discounts, yet the brands and business themselves think the primary reason people interact with them on social media is to understand about new products. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on their set of reasoned explanations why people interact with them. Most businesses believe social media increase advocacy, but only 38 % of consumers agree.
Companies need to get more innovative ways for connecting with social media if they wish to see some kind of result from it. There have been good quality initiatives shown in the IBM study of firms that had gotten some kind of a handle on the best way to use social media to their advantage, keeping in mind that whenever 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 answer customer’s questions via Twitter. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce the power is actually in the favour of the potential customer & the truly amazing trick to social media marketing is to market without trying to sell (or looking like your selling) unfortunately most social media marketing is focused the wrong way.
Building a concrete buyer to consumer relationship via social media is challenging and one of the most benefit to business’ using social media to improve their websites Google rankings. But business’ need certainly to understand that you can’t just setup a Facebook business page and hope for the best. SMM requires effort and potential customers need certainly to see value in what you have to provide via your social media efforts provide them with something worth their social interaction and time and then you may get better results.