Social Media Advertising and marketing, Real truth in addition to Sits
Social Media Marketing appears to be the newest buzz word for anyone looking to boost their online presence and sales, but is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?As a web 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 had been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social networks 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 networks or SMM to generate online sales,
They just wanted it. For small and medium sized business I always recommended building a quality website over any type of social network, why? Well it’s simple really because social networking is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not business media and business networks (that could be more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds simple but it’s true and the statistics back it up. The fact is that social networking marketing fails to share with you that Facebook is a social network not a search engine and despite how many Facebook users and Google users being around exactly the same, people don’t use Facebook in exactly the same way they make use of a internet search engine like Google (which has around half the internet search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to search for business or products. They use it to help keep in touch with family and friends or for news and entertainment. In a recently available study done by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of social networking users stated that they don’t engage with brands over social networking at all and only around 23% actually purposefully use social networking to communicate with brands. Now out of all of the those who do use social networking and who do communicate with brands whether purposefully or not, most (66%) say they have to feel a business is communicating honestly before they will interact.
So how do you use social networking marketing? And is it even worth doing?
Well first of all I’d claim that having a well optimized website is still going to bring you a lot more business that social networking generally especially if you are a small to medium sized local business because far more folks will key 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 missing out on all of the potential business. However despite all of the (not so good) statistics I still believe it is still a good idea for business to make use of social networking not in exactly the same way that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly not in the way they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and Business as a whole looked over social networks like Facebook as a fresh 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 organization (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 up until now (2012) both SMM Companies and Business have failed to truly capitalise on the huge quantity of Facebook users online. The truth is numbers does not equal buyers. cheap panel Can it be in a Social Media Marketing company’s best interest to talk social networks up? Absolutely. Can it be in a Social Network like Facebook’s best interests for folks to believe that companies can sell en masse by advertising and marketing together? Obviously it is. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the earlier 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 personally? Well… statistically no, but that does not necessarily imply that it never will.
I believe the major difference between social networks and search engines is intent. Individuals who use Google are deliberately trying to find something so if they do a search for hairdressers that’s what they are seeking at that particular time. With something like Facebook the principal intent is usually to get in touch with friends and family. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social networks may be monetized in exactly 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” ;.One of 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 worry about and what consumers say they desire from their social networking interactions with companies.” As an example in today’s society people aren’t just going to hand 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?” makes play. So the principal reason many people give for interacting with brands or business on social networking is for discounts, yet the brands and business themselves think the main reason people communicate with them on social networking is to master about new products. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on their listing of reasoned explanations why people communicate with them. Most businesses believe social networking increases advocacy, but only 38 % of consumers agree.
Companies need to locate more innovative ways to get in touch with social networking if they would like to see some type of result from it. There have been good quality initiatives shown in the IBM study of companies that had gotten some type of a handle on the best way to use social networking for their advantage, bearing in mind that when asked what they do when they communicate with businesses or brands via social networking, consumers list “getting discounts or coupons” and “purchasing products and services” as the most truly effective 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 good program launched by Best Buys in the U.S called Twelpforce where employees can respond to customer’s questions via Twitter. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce the advantage is clearly in the favour of the potential customer & the great trick to social networking marketing is to offer without trying to sell (or looking like your selling) unfortunately most social networking marketing is focused the incorrect way.
Building a real buyer to consumer relationship via social networking is challenging and one of the most benefit to business’ using social networking to enhance their websites Google rankings. But business’ need to realize that you can’t just setup a Facebook business page and a cure for the best. SMM requires effort and potential customers need to see value in what you have to offer via your social networking efforts provide them with something worth their social interaction and time and then you may get better results.