Social Media Marketing appears to be the latest buzz word for anyone looking to increase 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 all over the place these days and they are informing anybody that will listen about how exceptionally essential social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your company but, for the typical small to medium sized business, does marketing to social networks actually measure up to all the hype? Is investing a little fortune on employing a SMM company truly worth it? And has anyone really done their research study on this before they hired somebody to set up there Facebook business page? Some SMM business are setting up things like Facebook company pages (which are complimentary) for $600 to $1,000 or more and informing their customers that they do not need a website due to the fact that Facebook is the most significant social media network worldwide and everybody has a Facebook account. Now while it might hold true that Facebook is the largest social media in the world and yes, Facebook's members are possible consumers, the genuine concern is are they actually buying? Social media marketing business are all too delighted to mention the positives of social media like how many individuals utilize Facebook or how many tweets were sent out last year and how many people view YouTube videos etc. however are you getting the complete image? I as soon as sat beside a SMM "specialist" at a business workshop who was spruiking to anybody who came within earshot about the fantastic benefits of establishing a Facebook company page for small business (with him of course) and selling on Facebook. Interested by the previously mentioned "experts" guidance I looked him up on Facebook only to find he had only 11 Facebook buddies (not a great start). So being the research study nut that I am, I chose to take an excellent look into SMM in regard to selling to see if it actually worked, who did it work for and if it did why did Social Media Marketing work for them? And should company rely so greatly on social media networks for sales?
As a web designer I was constantly (and now progressively) faced with numerous social networking challenges when potential customers would say that having a website sounds good however they had a Facebook company page and had actually been told by numerous sources (the ever present yet anonymous "they") that social networks were the important things to do, but after discussing their needs it ended up being quite clear that those prospective clients didn't in fact know why they required social media networks or SMM to create online sales, They simply wanted it. For little and medium sized company I constantly suggested building a quality site over any type of social media, why? Well it's easy really due to the fact that social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not company media and organisation networks (that would be more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds basic but it holds true and the data back it up. The truth is that social media marketing cannot tell you that Facebook is a social media not a search engine and in spite of the number of Facebook users and Google users being around the exact same, individuals don't utilize Facebook in the same way that they use an online search engine like Google (which has around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to search for organisation or products. They utilize it to keep in touch with friends and family or for news and entertainment. In a current study done by the IBM Institute for Company Worth around 55% of all social media users stated that they do not engage with brand names over social media at all and only around 23% in fact purposefully utilize social media to interact with brand names. Now from all the people who do utilize social media and who do connect with brands whether actively or not, the majority (66%) say they have to feel a company is communicating honestly prior to they will communicate.
How do you utilize social media marketing? And is it even worth doing?
Well firstly I would state that having a well enhanced website is still going to bring you much more business that social media for the most parts specifically if you are a small to medium sized regional business since even more people are going to key in "hairdresser Port Macquarie" into an online search engine like Google, Yahoo and Bing than they ever will on any Social Media Website and if you do not have a site you're missing out on all of that prospective organisation. Regardless of all the (not so good) stats I still believe it is still an excellent concept for company to use social media simply not in the same way that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Since it's plainly not working in the way they declare it does. Generally SMM Business and Service as a whole looked at social media networks like Facebook as a fresh market ripe for the selecting when Facebook began 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 few venture capital companies have made investments into Facebook and in October 2007, Microsoft revealed that it had actually purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million. Considering that Facebook's humble starts up until now (2012) both SMM Companies and Service have actually stopped working to truly capitalise on the big number of Facebook users online. The fact is numbers does not equivalent buyers. Is it in a Social Media Marketing business's best interest to talk social media networks up? Definitely. Is it in a Social Media like Facebook's benefits for people to believe that business can offer en masse by marketing and advertising with them? Of course it is. In early 2012, Facebook revealed that its earnings had leapt 65% to $1 billion in the previous year as its revenue which is mainly from marketing had leapt nearly 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the idea of SMM is exercising for them however it is Website working out for you? Well ... statistically no, but that does not necessarily imply that it never ever will.
I think the major difference between social media networks and online search engine is intent. Individuals who utilize Google are intentionally searching for something so if they do a search for hairdressers that's what they are searching for at that specific time. With something like Facebook the main intent is generally to connect with friends and family. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said "I do not believe socials media can be generated income from in the same way that search (Online search engine) did ... In three years from now we have to figure out what the optimum model is. However that is not our primary focus today". One of the biggest problems company face with social media networks and SMM is perception. Inning accordance with the IBM Institute for Company Value research study there were "considerable gaps between exactly what organisations believe consumers appreciate and exactly what consumers say they want from their social media interactions with companies." For example in today's society people are not just going to hand you over there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back for it, so the old expression "what's in it for me?" enters play. The main factor the majority of people give for engaging with brands or business on social media is to receive discount rates, yet the brands and company themselves believe the main factor people communicate with them on social media is to learn about brand-new products. For brand names and company receiving discount rates only ranks 12th on their list of reasons that people communicate with them. Most businesses think social media will increase advocacy, but just 38 % of consumers agree.
Companies have to find more innovative ways to connect with social media if they wish to see some sort of result from it. There were some great initiatives displayed in the IBM study of business that had actually gotten some sort of a deal with on the best ways to use social media to their advantage, remembering that when asked what they do when they interact with services or brand names through social media, customers note "getting discounts or discount coupons" and "acquiring services and products" as the top 2 activities, respectively an USA ice cream company called Cold Stone Creamery used discount rates on their products on their Facebook page. There is a terrific program launched by Finest Buys in the USA called Twelpforce where staff members can respond to consumer's questions by means of Twitter. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce the benefit is plainly in the favour of the prospective customer & the fantastic trick to social media marketing is to offer without trying to offer (or looking like your selling) sadly most social media marketing is focused the wrong way.
Constructing a tangible buyer to consumer relationship by means of social media is hard and most likely the most benefit to company' using social media to boost their sites Google rankings. Business' need to comprehend that you can't just setup a Facebook company page and hope for the finest. SMM needs effort and possible clients need to see worth in exactly what you have to offer by means of your social media efforts give them something worth their social interaction and time and then you might get better results.
Now just as a footnote Facebook shares have actually dropped to under $20 per share, that's half their initial price ... and the claims are flying
As a web designer I was constantly (and now increasingly) challenged with a number of social networking challenges when possible clients would say that having a site sounds great but they had a Facebook service page and had been informed by numerous sources (the ever present yet anonymous "they") that social networks were the thing to do, however after discussing their requirements it became rather clear that those prospective clients didn't really know why they required social networks or SMM to produce online sales, They just desired it. Well it's simple actually since social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not company media and service networks (that would be more like LinkedIn). In a recent research study done by the IBM Institute for Company Worth around 55% of all social media users stated that they do not engage with brand names over social media at all and only around 23% in fact purposefully utilize social media to communicate with brand names. Well initially of all I would state that having actually a well optimized site is still going to bring you far more company that social media in many cases especially if you are a small to medium sized regional organisation because far more people 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 Website and if you do not have a website you're missing out on all of that prospective business. The primary factor the majority of individuals offer for interacting with brands or company on social media is to get discount rates, yet the brand names and business themselves think the main reason individuals interact with them on social media is to learn about brand-new items.