Social Media Marketing seems to be the current buzz word for anybody looking to increase their online presence and sales, however is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?
S.M.M business are now springing up all over the place these days and they are telling anybody that will listen about how incredibly crucial social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your company but, for the average little to medium sized business, does marketing to social networks actually live up to all the hype? Social media marketing business are all too pleased to point out the positives of social media like how many individuals utilize Facebook or how numerous tweets were sent out last year and how many individuals watch YouTube videos and so on but are you getting the complete photo? Being the research nut that I am, I decided to take an excellent look into SMM in regard to selling to see if it in fact worked, who did it work for and if it did why did Social Media Marketing work for them?
As a web developer I was continuously (and now progressively) challenged with a number of social networking obstacles when prospective customers would state that having a website sounds great but they had a Facebook organisation page and had actually been told by different sources (the ever present yet confidential "they") that social media networks were the important things to do, but after discussing their requirements it became rather clear that those potential customers didn't really understand why they needed social media networks or SMM to create online sales, They simply wanted it. For little and medium sized service I always advised developing a quality site over any type of social media, why? Well it's easy actually since social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not business media and service networks (that would be more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds easy however it's true and the data back it up. The fact is that social media marketing cannot tell you that Facebook is a social media not a search engine and despite the variety 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 look for business or items. They use it to correspond with friends and family or for news and entertainment. In a current research study done by the IBM Institute for Service Value around 55% of all social media users specified that they do not engage with brand names over social media at all and only around 23% in fact purposefully use social media to connect with brands. Now from all individuals who do use social media and who do connect with brands whether actively or not, the majority (66%) state they need to feel a business is communicating truthfully before they will interact.
So how do you utilize social media marketing? And is it even worth doing?
Well to start with I would state that having a well enhanced site is still going to bring you far more service that social media in most cases particularly if you are a little to medium sized local organisation because far more individuals are going to type in "hairdresser Port Macquarie" into an online search engine like Google, Yahoo and Bing than they ever will on any Social Media Site and if you do not have a website you're missing out on all that potential company. Nevertheless in spite of all the (not so great) statistics I still believe it is still a great idea for company to utilize social media just not in the same way that a lot of SMM specialists are today, Why? Because it's plainly not working in the way they declare it does. Generally SMM Companies and Organisation as a whole looked at social media networks like Facebook as a fresh market ripe for the selecting and when Facebook started getting users determined 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 equity capital firms have actually made financial investments into Facebook and in October 2007, Microsoft revealed that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million. Given that Facebook's humble starts up till now (2012) both SMM Companies and Company have actually failed to really capitalise on the substantial number of Facebook users online. The fact is numbers does not equal buyers. Is it in a Social Media Marketing business's benefit to talk social networks up? Definitely. Is it in a Social Media like Facebook's benefits for people to believe that companies can offer en masse by advertising and marketing with them? Obviously it is. In early 2012, Facebook revealed that its revenues had leapt 65% to $1 billion in the previous year as its revenue which is mainly from advertising had leapt nearly 90% to $3.71 billion so plainly the principle of SMM is working out for them but it is working out for you? Well ... statistically no, however that does not always suggest that it never ever will.
I think the major distinction in between social media networks and search engines is intent. Individuals who utilize Google are deliberately looking for something so if they do a search for hair stylists that's what they are looking for at that specific time. With something like Facebook the main intent is normally to connect with family and friends. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself stated "I do not think social media networks can be generated income from in the same way that search (Online search engine) did ... In three years from now we have to find out exactly what the maximum design is. But that is not our primary focus today". Among the greatest issues service face with social networks and SMM is perception. According to the IBM Institute for Company Worth study there were "considerable gaps between exactly what services believe customers appreciate and what consumers say they desire from their social media interactions with business." In today's society individuals are not 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 Logan Williams SEO for me?" comes into play. So the main reason many people give for interacting with brand names or organisation on social media is to get discounts, yet the brands and organisation themselves believe the main factor individuals engage with them on social media is to learn about new products. For brands and business receiving discounts just ranks 12th on their list of reasons that individuals engage with them. A lot of services believe social media will increase advocacy, but only 38 % of consumers agree.
Companies need to discover more ingenious methods to connect with social media if they want to see some sort of result from it. There were some excellent efforts shown in the IBM study of companies that had actually gotten some sort of a manage on ways to use social media to their advantage, keeping in mind that when asked exactly what they do when they connect with organisations or brand names through social media, consumers list "getting discounts or coupons" and "acquiring product or services" as the leading two activities, respectively an USA ice cream business called Cold Stone Creamery provided discounts on their products on their Facebook page. There is a fantastic program launched by Finest Purchases in the UNITED STATE called Twelpforce where workers can respond to customer's concerns through Twitter. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce the benefit is clearly in the favour of the excellent technique & the prospective customer to social media marketing is to offer without attempting to sell (or looking like your selling) regrettably most social media marketing is focused the wrong way.
Developing a concrete purchaser to consumer relationship via social media is challenging and probably the most benefit to organisation' utilizing social media to boost their sites Google rankings. However business' have to understand that you cannot simply setup a Facebook business page and wish for the best. SMM requires effort and prospective customers have to see value in exactly what you have to offer via your social media efforts give them something worth their social interaction and time and after that you might get better results.
Now just as a footnote Facebook shares have dropped to under $20 per share, that's half their initial cost ... and the lawsuits are flying
As a web designer I was continuously (and now progressively) confronted with a number of social networking challenges when prospective customers would say that having a site sounds good however they had a Facebook business page and had been informed by various sources (the ever present yet confidential "they") that social networks were the thing to do, but after discussing their requirements it ended up being quite clear that those prospective customers didn't actually understand why they needed social networks or SMM to produce online sales, They simply wanted it. Well it's basic really due to the fact that social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not business media and service networks (that would be more like LinkedIn). In a current study done by the IBM Institute for Service Value around 55% of all social media users specified that they do not engage with brand names over social media at all and just around 23% actually actively utilize social media to interact with brand names. Well initially of all I would say that having actually a well enhanced website is still going to bring you far more service that social media in the majority of cases especially if you are a little to medium sized regional business since far more individuals 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 Site and if you don't have a site you're missing out on all of that prospective service. The main reason a lot of people give for engaging with brand names or business on social media is to receive discount rates, yet the brand names and business themselves believe the primary reason people communicate with them on social media is to discover about brand-new products.