Social Media Selling, Facts and even Fabrications

Social Media Marketing is apparently the newest buzz word for everyone looking to improve their online presence and sales, but is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked around be?

S.M.M companies are actually springing up throughout the place nowadays and they’re telling anyone that will listen about how exactly incredibly important social media marketing like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your business but, for the typical small to mid-sized business, does marketing to social support systems really live up to all the hype? Is spending a small fortune on hiring a SMM company well worth it? And has anyone really done their research with this before they hired someone to create there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are setting up things such as Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $1,000 or maybe more and telling their clients which they don’t need a website because Facebook is the biggest social network on the planet and everybody includes a Facebook account.

Now while it may be true that Facebook is the largest social network on the planet and yes, Facebook’s members are potential consumers, the true question is are they really buying? Social networking marketing companies are typical too happy to indicate the positives of social smm reseller panel media marketing like how lots of people use Facebook or how many tweets were delivered a year ago and how lots of people watch YouTube videos etc. but have you been getting the full picture? I once sat close to a SMM “expert” at a company seminar who was spruiking to anybody who came within earshot in regards to the amazing benefits of setting up a Facebook business page for small business (with him of course) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued by these “experts” advice I looked him on Facebook only to locate he had only 11 Facebook friends (not a great start). So being the research nut that I am, I made a decision to have a good explore SMM in regards to selling to see if it really worked, who achieved it work for and when it did why did Social Media Marketing work for them? And should business rely so heavily on social support systems for sales?

As a website developer I was constantly (and now increasingly) met with several social networking challenges when potential clients would say that having a website sounds good but they’d a Facebook business page and had been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social support systems were the thing to do, but after discussing their needs it became quite clear that those potential clients didn’t actually know why they needed social support systems or SMM to generate online sales, They just wanted it. For small and mid-sized business I always recommended developing a quality website over any type of social network, why? Well it’s simple really because social media marketing is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they’re not business media and business networks (that will be similar to LinkedIn). I understand that sounds simple but it’s true and the statistics back it up.

Truth be told that social media marketing marketing fails to share with you that Facebook is a social network not a search 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 work with a se like Google (which has around half the se market), Yahoo and Bing to look for business or products. They utilize it to help keep in touch with family and friends or for news and entertainment. In a current study done by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of most social media marketing users stated that they do not engage with brands over social media marketing at all and only around 23% actually purposefully use social media marketing to interact with brands. Now out of all of the those who do use social media marketing and who do interact with brands whether purposefully or not, almost all (66%) say they have to feel a company is communicating honestly before they will interact.

So how do you use social media marketing marketing? And is it even worth doing?

Well first of all I’d say that having a well optimized website is still going to bring you a lot more business that social media marketing generally particularly if you are a small to mid-sized local business because far more folks are likely to enter “hairdresser Port Macquarie” into a search engine like Google, Yahoo and Bing than they ever will on any Social Media Site and in the event that you don’t have a website you’re missing all of that potential business. However despite all the (not so good) statistics I still believe that it is still recommended for business to utilize social media marketing simply not in the same way that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly not working in the way they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and Business in general looked at social support systems 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 business (in June 2004) and since them a few venture capital firms have made investments into Facebook and in October 2007, Microsoft announced that 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 truly capitalise on the huge amount of Facebook users online. The reality is numbers does not equal buyers. Can it be in a Social Media Marketing company’s best interest to talk social support systems up? Absolutely. Can 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 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 that will be mainly from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the thought of SMM is training for them but it is training for you? Well… statistically no, but that doesn’t necessarily imply that it never will.

I believe the major difference between social support systems and search engines is intent. People who use Google are deliberately searching for something so if they do a look for hairdressers that’s what they are seeking at that one time. With something such as Facebook the principal intent is normally to get in touch with friends and family. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social support systems could be monetized in the same way that search (Search Engines) did… In three years from now we have to determine what the optimum model is. But that is not our primary focus today” ;.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 businesses think consumers value and what consumers say they want from their social media marketing 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, therefore the old adage “what’s in it for me?” has play. So the principal reason many people give for getting together with brands or business on social media marketing is for discounts, yet the brands and business themselves think the key reason people interact with them on social media marketing is to learn about new products. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on the list of explanations why people interact with them. Most businesses believe social media marketing increases advocacy, but only 38 % of consumers agree.

Companies need to locate more innovative ways to get in touch with social media marketing if they want to see some sort of result from it. There were some great initiatives shown in the IBM study of companies that had gotten some sort of a handle on the best way to use social media marketing to their advantage, remember that whenever asked what they do if they interact with businesses or brands via social media marketing, consumers list “getting discounts or coupons” and “purchasing products and services” as the very best two activities, respectively a U.S ice cream company called Cold Stone Creamery offered discounts on the products on the 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 clearly in the favour of the potential customer & the great trick to social media marketing marketing is to offer without attempting to sell (or looking like your selling) unfortunately most social media marketing marketing is focused the wrong way.

Building a concrete buyer to consumer relationship via social media marketing is not easy and the absolute most benefit to business’ using social media marketing to enhance 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 that which you have to offer via your social media marketing efforts provide them with something worth their social interaction and time and then you can find better results.

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