Social Media Marketing seems to be the most recent buzz word for anybody looking to improve their online presence and sales, but is Social Networking (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?
S.M.M companies are springing up everywhere today plus they are telling anyone who will listen about how exactly incredibly important social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are going to your 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 contains anyone really done their research about this before they hired someone to set up there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are establishing things like Facebook business pages (that are free) for $600 to $one thousand or more and telling their clientele that they don’t require a website because Facebook is the biggest social media in the world and everybody includes a Facebook account. Now while it may be factual that Facebook will be the largest social networking on the planet you will find, Facebook’s members are potential consumers, the true question for you is are they actually buying? Social media marketing companies are too happy to indicate the positives of social networking like the number of people use Facebook or how many tweets were sent this past year and just how many people watch YouTube videos etc. but are you obtaining the full picture? I remember when i sat alongside a SMM “expert” with a business seminar who had been spruiking to anyone that came within earshot concerning the amazing advantages of establishing a Facebook business page for business (with him obviously) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued from the aforementioned “experts” advice I looked him on Facebook only to find he had only 11 Facebook friends (not a good start). So being the research nut that I am, I made the decision to take a good look into SMM in regard to selling to determine if it really worked, who did it work with and if it did why did social media marketing work for them? And should business rely so heavily on social networking sites for sales?
As being a web developer I was constantly (and today increasingly) confronted with several social media challenges when prospective clients would state that having a website sounds good but they had a Facebook business page along with been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social media sites 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 media sites or SMM to generate online sales, They just wanted it. For small, and medium sized business Normally i recommended constructing a quality website over any kind of social media, why? Well it’s simple really because social media is Social Networking, and social Networks are Social Networking Sites they are certainly not business media and business networks (that would be similar to LinkedIn). I understand that sounds simple but it’s true as well as the statistics support it. The truth is social networking fails to inform you that Facebook is a social networking not a search engine and despite the amount of Facebook users and Google users being round the same, people don’t use Facebook in a similar manner which they use the search engines like Google (which includes around half the major search engines market), Yahoo and Bing to find business or products. They use it to communicate with family and friends or perhaps for news and entertainment. In a recent study performed by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of social networking users stated which they do not engage with brands over social networking at all and merely around 23% actually purposefully use social media marketing to interact with brands. Now of all the people who use social media and that do connect with brands whether purposefully or not, most (66%) say they should feel an organization is communicating honestly before they will interact.
Well to start with I might claim that using a well optimized website continues to be planning to give you far more business that social media marketing generally particularly if you really are a small to medium sized local company because much more people will key in “hairdresser Port Macquarie” into the search engines 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 of that potential business. However despite all of the (not good) statistics I still believe it is still a good idea for business to utilize social networking simply not in the same manner that many SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly not working in the way they promise it can. Basically SMM Companies and Business overall looked at social media sites like Facebook being 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% in the company (in June 2004) and also since them a few venture capital firms are making investments into Facebook as well as 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 to now (2012) both SMM Companies and Business have neglected to truly capitalise on the huge quantity of Facebook users online. The simple truth is numbers does not equal buyers. Could it be in a Social Networking company’s best interest to talk social networks 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? Needless to say it really is. At the begining of 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the earlier year as its revenue which can be mainly from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the concept of SMM is working out on their behalf however it is exercising to suit your needs? Well… statistically no, but that does not necessarily mean it never will.
I think the key distinction between social networks and check engines is intent. People who use Google are deliberately trying to find something so if they do a search for hairdressers that’s whatever they are trying to find at that particular time. With something like Facebook the key intent is generally to get in touch with family and friends. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social networking sites can be monetized in a similar manner that search (Search Engine Listings) did… In 3 years from now we need to figure out what the optimum model is. But which is not our primary focus today”. One of the biggest problems business face with social networking sites and SMM is perception. In accordance with the IBM Institute for Business Value study there were “significant gaps between what businesses think consumers worry about and what consumers say they desire using their social media interactions with companies.” For example in today’s society people are not only going to hand you over there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back for this, so the old adage “what’s within it for me?” is needed. So the primary reason many people give for getting together with brands or business on social media marketing dfrbnq to receive discounts, yet the brands and business themselves think the main reason people interact with them on social media marketing is to discover new items. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on their own set of main reasons why people communicate with them. Most businesses believe social networking improves advocacy, only 38 % of clients agree.