Social media marketing seems like the latest buzzword for anyone looking to increase their online presence and sales, but is social media marketing (SMM) all that it seems?
SMM businesses are popping up everywhere these days and they are telling anyone who hears how incredibly important social media like Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube are to their business, but, for the average small and medium business, marketing targets social media. Are the networks really living up to all the hype? Is it really worth spending a small fortune to hire an SMM company? And has anyone really researched this before hiring someone to set up their Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are setting up things like Facebook business pages (which are free) for $ 600 to $ 1,000 or more and telling their customers they don’t need a website because Facebook is the world’s largest social network and all. the world has a Facebook account. Now while it may be true that Facebook is the largest social network in the world and yes, Facebook members are potential consumers, the real question is whether they are actually buying. Social media marketing companies are very happy to point out the positives of social media such as how many people use Facebook or how many tweets were sent in the past year and how many people watch YouTube videos etc. but are you getting the whole picture? I once sat next to an SMM “expert” at a business seminar who was talking to anyone within earshot about the incredible benefits of setting up a Facebook business page for small businesses (with him, of course ) and sell on Facebook. So, intrigued by the advice of the aforementioned “experts”, I looked him up on Facebook and found that he only had 11 friends on Facebook (not a good start). So, being a research fanatic, I decided to take a good look at SMM regarding selling to see if it really worked, for whom did it work, and if it worked, why did Social Media Marketing work for them? And should companies rely so heavily on social media for sales?
As a web developer, I was constantly (and now increasingly) faced with various social media challenges when potential clients said that having a website sounds good but they had a business page on Facebook and had been told so by multiple sources ( the ever-present but anonymous “they”) that social media was the right thing to do, but after discussing their needs it was pretty clear that those potential customers didn’t really know why they needed social media or SMM to drive online sales, they just wanted it. For small and medium-sized businesses I always recommended building a quality website on any type of social network, why? Well it’s really simple because social media is Social The media and social networks are Social Networks that are no business media and business networks (which would be more like LinkedIn). I know it sounds simple, but it is true and the statistics back it up. The fact is, social media marketing doesn’t tell you that Facebook is a social network, not a search engine, and even though the number of Facebook and Google users is roughly the same, people don’t use Facebook at all. the same way you use a search engine like Google (which has about half the search engine market), Yahoo, and Bing to search for businesses or products. They use it to keep in touch with family and friends or for news and entertainment. In a recent study by the IBM Institute for Business Value, around 55% of all social media users stated that they do not interact with brands through social media and only about 23% use social media on purpose to interact with brands. Now, of all the people who use social media and interact with brands, whether intentionally or not, the majority (66%) say they need to feel that a company is communicating honestly before interacting.
So how do you use social media marketing? And is it worth doing?
Well first of all I would say that having a well optimized website will still bring you a lot more business than social media in most cases especially if you are a local small or medium business because many more people will write “Port Macquarie hairdresser” on a search engine like Google, Yahoo, and Bing than they will on any social media site and if you don’t have a website, you’re missing out on all that potential business. However, despite all the statistics (not so good), I still think that it is still a good idea for companies to use social networks, but not in the same way that many SMM professionals do today, why what? Because it’s clearly not working the way they say it does. Basically, SMM companies and businesses as a whole saw social media like Facebook as a new market ready for selection and when Facebook started getting users measured in the millions, PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US $ 500,000 for it. 7% of the company (in June 2004) and since then some venture capital firms have invested in Facebook and in October 2007, Microsoft announced that it had bought a 1.6% stake in Facebook for 240 million of dollars. However, from Facebook’s humble beginnings until now (2012), both SMM companies and businesses have failed to truly capitalize on the large number of Facebook users online. The truth is that the numbers are not equal to the buyers. Is it the best thing for a social media marketing company to talk about social media? Absolutely. Is it the best thing for a social network like Facebook that people believe that companies can sell en masse by advertising and marketing with them? Of course it is. In early 2012, Facebook revealed that its profits had risen 65% to $ 1 billion in the previous year as its revenue, which comes primarily from advertising, had risen almost 90% to $ 3.71 billion, per what clearly the concept of SMM is working for them, but is it working for you? Well … not statistically, but that doesn’t necessarily mean it never will.
I think the main difference between social media and search engines is intent. People using Google are deliberately searching for something, so if they search for hairdressers, that’s what they are looking for at that particular time. With something like Facebook, the main intention is usually to connect with friends and family. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said: “I don’t think social media can be monetized in the same way that searches (search engines) did … In three years from now we have to find out what it is. the optimal model. But that’s not our main focus today. ” One of the biggest problems companies face with social media and SMM is perception. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value study, there were “significant gaps between what companies think consumers care about and what consumers say they want from their social media interactions with companies.” For example, in today’s society, people are not just going to give you recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something in return, so the old adage “what’s in it for me?” comes into play. So the main reason most people give for interacting with brands or companies on social media is to receive discounts, however brands and companies themselves think that the main reason people interact with them on social media is to learn about new products. For brands and companies that receive discounts, it only ranks 12th on their list of reasons people interact with them. Most companies believe that social media will increase promotion, but only 38% of consumers agree.
Businesses need to find more innovative ways to connect with social media if they want to see any kind of result from it. There were some good initiatives shown in the IBM study of companies that had achieved some kind of management on how to use social networks to their advantage, taking into account that when asked what they do when interacting with companies or brands through networks Socially, consumers list “getting discounts or coupons” and “buying products and services” as the two main activities, respectively. An American ice cream company called Cold Stone Creamery offered discounts on its products on its Facebook page. Alternatively, there is a great program launched by Best Buys in the US called Twelpforce, where employees can answer customer questions via Twitter. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce, the benefit is clearly in favor of the potential customer and the great trick for social media marketing is to sell without trying to sell (or look like your sale). .
Building a tangible buyer-to-consumer relationship through social media is not easy and probably the biggest benefit for businesses is using social media to improve the Google ranking of their websites. But businesses must understand that you can’t just set up a Facebook business page and hope for the best. SMM takes effort and potential customers need to see the value in what you have to offer through your social media efforts, give them something worth their social interaction and time, and then you can get better results.
Now, just like a footnote, Facebook’s stock has fallen to less than $ 20 a share, that’s half its original price … and the lawsuits are flying.