Social Media seems to be the latest buzz word for everyone seeking to improve their online presence and sales, but is Social Media (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?
S.M.M companies are springing up everywhere nowadays plus they are telling anybody that will listen regarding how incredibly important social media marketing like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your small business but, for that average small to mid-sized business, does marketing to social networks really live up to each of the hype? Is spending a small fortune on employing a SMM company well worth it? And contains anyone really done their research with this before they hired someone to setup there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are putting together things like Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $one thousand or more and telling their customers that they don’t need a website because Facebook is definitely the biggest social media on earth and everybody has a Facebook account. Now while it could be true that Facebook will be the largest social media on earth you will find, Facebook’s members are potential consumers, the actual question for you is will they be actually buying? Social networking companies are all too happy to indicate the positives of social networking like how many people use Facebook or the number of tweets were sent last year and just how lots of people watch YouTube videos etc. but are you obtaining the full picture? One time i sat next to a SMM “expert” in a business seminar who was spruiking to anyone who came within earshot regarding the amazing advantages of establishing a Facebook business page for business (with him needless to say) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued from the aforementioned “experts” advice I looked him high on Facebook only to find he had only 11 Facebook friends (not a good start). So being the investigation nut that I am, I chose to have a look into SMM when it comes to selling to find out if it genuinely worked, who made it happen benefit and if it did why did social media apps work for them? And must business rely so heavily on social networks for sales?
As being a web developer I was constantly (and now increasingly) confronted with several social networking challenges when prospective clients would say that possessing a website sounds good but they experienced a Facebook business page along with been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social media sites were the action to take, but after discussing their demands it became quite clear that individuals potential customers didn’t actually know why they needed social networking sites or SMM to produce online sales, They simply wanted it. For small and medium sized business I usually recommended constructing a quality website over any sort of social network, why? Well it’s simple really because social media marketing is Social Media Marketing, and social Networks are Social Media Sites they are certainly not business media and business networks (that might be more like LinkedIn). I understand that sounds simple but it’s true and also the statistics back it up. The truth is social media fails to let you know that Facebook is actually a social networking not an internet search engine and despite the number of Facebook users and Google users being round the same, people don’t use Facebook in a similar manner that they use a search engine like Google (that has around half the major search engines market), Yahoo and Bing to find business or products. They utilize it to keep in touch with friends and relations or news and entertainment. In a recent study carried out by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of all the social networking users stated they usually do not engage with brands over social networking whatsoever and just around 23% actually purposefully use social networking to have interaction with brands. Now out of all the individuals who use social media marketing and who do communicate with brands whether purposefully or otherwise, the majority (66%) say they need to feel an organization is communicating honestly before they will likely interact.
Well first of all I would claim that using a well optimized website remains likely to provide you with a lot more business that social networking typically specifically if you really are a small to mid-sized local company because a lot more people are going to type “hairdresser Port Macquarie” into the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Bing compared to what they ever will on any Social Networking Site and when you don’t use a website you’re losing out on all of that potential business. However despite all the (not good) statistics I still think it is still a good idea for business to use social media marketing just not in the same way that the majority of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly no longer working in the manner they promise it will. Basically SMM Companies and Business overall checked out social networks like Facebook as being a fresh market ripe for the picking so when Facebook started getting users measured by the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US$500,000 for 7% from the company (in June 2004) and since them a couple of 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 until now (2012) both SMM Companies and Business have did not truly capitalise on the huge quantity of Facebook users online. The reality is numbers does not equal buyers. Is it in a Social Networking company’s interest to speak social networks up? Absolutely. Could it be in a Social Media like Facebook’s best interests for people to imagine that companies can sell en masse by marketing and advertising together? Needless to say it really is. During early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the earlier year as the revenue which is mainly from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the thought of SMM is exercising for them but it is training to suit your needs? Well… statistically no, but that does not necessarily mean which it never will.
In my opinion the major difference between social networks and search engines is intent. Those who use Google are deliberately looking for something therefore if they do a search for hairdressers that’s whatever they are trying to find at this particular time. With something like Facebook the primary intent is generally to connect with relatives and buddies. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social networking sites could be monetized in the same manner that search (Search Engine Listings) did… In three years from now we need to determine what the optimum model is. But which is not our primary focus today”. One of the greatest problems business face with social media sites and SMM is perception. Based on the IBM Institute for Business Value study there have been “significant gaps between what businesses think consumers value and what consumers say they want using their social media marketing interactions with companies.” As an 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 it, therefore the old adage “what’s inside it for me?” is necessary. So the primary reason most people give for interacting with brands or business on social media marketing dfrbnq to receive discounts, yet the brands and business themselves think the main reason people communicate with them on social media marketing is to learn about new releases. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on their listing of reasons why people connect with them. Most businesses believe social networking improves advocacy, only 38 % of consumers agree.