Social Media Marketing appears to be the latest buzz word for anyone planning to increase their online existence and sales, but is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?
S.M.M companies are now emerging all over the place nowadays and they are telling anyone that will listen about how incredibly crucial social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your service but, for the average little to medium sized service, does marketing to social networks really measure up to all the hype? Is spending a small fortune on working with a SMM company really worth it? And has anybody actually done their research study on this before they hired someone to establish there Facebook company page? Some SMM companies are establishing things like Facebook organisation pages (which are complimentary) for $600 to $1,000 or more and informing their clients that they don't need a site since Facebook is the biggest social media network on the planet and everyone has a Facebook account. Now while it may be true that Facebook is the biggest social media worldwide and yes, Facebook's members are possible consumers, the genuine concern is are they actually purchasing? Social media marketing companies are all too delighted to mention the positives of social media like the number of people utilize Facebook or the number of tweets were sent out last year and how many individuals watch YouTube videos and so on however are you getting the complete picture? I once sat next to a SMM "expert" at a service seminar who was spruiking to anybody who came within earshot about the fantastic advantages of establishing a Facebook business page for small business (with him of course) and selling on Facebook. Intrigued by the previously mentioned "specialists" guidance I looked him up on Facebook only to discover he had only 11 Facebook pals (not an excellent start). Being the research nut that I am, I decided to take an excellent look into SMM in regard to selling to see if it really worked, who did it work for and if it did why did Social Media Marketing work for them? And should service rely so greatly on social media networks for sales?
As a web designer I was constantly (and now significantly) challenged with a number of social networking challenges when possible clients would state that having a site sounds great but they had a Facebook service page and had been informed by numerous sources (the ever present yet confidential "they") that social media networks were the thing to do, however after discussing their requirements it became rather clear that those possible customers didn't in fact understand why they required socials media or SMM to produce online sales, They simply wanted it. For little and medium sized organisation I constantly suggested building a quality website over any kind of social media, why? Well it's simple really because social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not company media and company networks (that would be more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds basic however it holds true and the data back it up. The reality is that social media marketing cannot inform you that Facebook is a social media network not an online search engine and regardless of the variety of Facebook users and Google users being around the very same, individuals do not use 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 company or items. They utilize it to correspond with family and friends or for news and entertainment. In a recent study done by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of all social media users stated that they do not engage with brands over social media at all and only around 23% really purposefully use social media to interact with brand names. Now out of all the people who do utilize social media and who do engage with brands whether purposefully or not, the majority (66%) state they need to feel a company is interacting truthfully before they will communicate.
So how do you utilize social media marketing? And is it even worth doing?
Well initially of all I would say that having actually a well optimized site is still going to bring you far more organisation that social media in many cases specifically if you are a small to medium sized regional business since 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 don't have a site you're missing out on all of that prospective organisation. In spite of all the (not so excellent) statistics I still believe it is still a good idea for organisation to use social media simply not in the same way that a lot of SMM specialists are today, Why? Is it in a Social Media Marketing company's finest interest to talk social networks up?
One of the greatest issues service face with social networks and SMM is perception. The primary reason most people give for interacting with brand names or company on social media is to get discount rates, yet the brands and company themselves think the main reason individuals engage with them on social media is to discover about new products. Most businesses believe social media will increase advocacy, but only 38 % of customers concur.
There were some great initiatives shown in the IBM research study of business that had actually gotten some sort of a manage on how to use social media to their advantage, keeping in mind that when asked what they do when they interact with organisations or brands via social media, SEO Agency consumers list "getting discounts or vouchers" and "purchasing items and services" as the leading 2 activities, respectively an U.S ice cream company called Cold Stone Creamery used discount rates on their products on their Facebook page. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce the advantage is clearly in the favour of the great trick & the prospective consumer to social media marketing is to sell without trying to offer (or looking like your selling) unfortunately most social media marketing is focused the incorrect way.
Developing a concrete purchaser to consumer relationship through social media is not easy and probably the most benefit to company' utilizing social media to boost their sites Google rankings. But service' need to comprehend that you cannot just setup a Facebook business page and expect the best. SMM needs effort and potential customers have to see value in exactly what you need to provide via your social media efforts provide something worth their social interaction and time and after that 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 rate ... and the claims are flying
As a web designer I was constantly (and now progressively) confronted with a number of social networking obstacles when potential clients would say that having a website sounds excellent however they had a Facebook company page and had been told by various sources (the ever present yet confidential "they") that social networks were the thing to do, but after discussing their needs it became quite clear that those possible customers didn't actually know why they needed social networks or SMM to create online sales, They simply wanted it. Well it's simple really since social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Social Networks they are not service media and business networks (that would be more like LinkedIn). In a recent research study done by the IBM Institute for Company Value around 55% of all social media users mentioned that they do not engage with brand names over social media at all and only around 23% really purposefully utilize social media to communicate with brand names. Well first of all I would state that having a well enhanced website is still going to bring you far more organisation that social media in many cases specifically if you are a small to medium sized regional service due to the fact that far more people are going to type in "hair stylist 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 business. The main reason a lot of people offer for engaging with brands or service on social media is to receive discount rates, yet the brands and service themselves think the primary reason individuals communicate with them on social media is to find out about new items.