Social Media seems to be the latest buzz word for anyone trying to enhance their online presence and sales, but is Social Networking (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?
S.M.M companies are actually springing up just about everywhere these days and they are generally telling anyone that will listen about how exactly incredibly important social media marketing like Facebook twitter and YouTube are going to your small business but, for that average small to medium sized business, does marketing to social networking sites really live up to all of the hype? Is spending a little fortune on employing a SMM company well worth it? And has anyone really done their research about this before they hired someone to put together there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are setting up such things as Facebook business pages (that are free) for $600 to $one thousand or maybe more and telling their customers which they don’t need to have a website because Facebook is the biggest social networking in the world and everybody features a Facebook account. Now while it could be correct that Facebook is the largest social networking in the world and yes, Facebook’s members are potential consumers, the actual question for you is will they be actually buying? Social media companies are too happy to point out the positives of social networking like the amount of people use Facebook or the amount of tweets were sent last year and how lots of people watch YouTube videos etc. but are you getting the full picture? One time i sat next to a SMM “expert” with a business seminar who had been spruiking to anyone that came within earshot regarding the amazing advantages of establishing a Facebook business page for small business (with him of course) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued by the aforementioned “experts” advice I looked him on Facebook only to find he had only 11 Facebook friends (not a good start). So being the investigation nut which i am, I chose to have a look into SMM in regards to selling to determine if it genuinely worked, who did it work for and in case it did why did social media work for them? And must business rely so heavily on social networks for sales?
Being a web developer I had been constantly (and now increasingly) confronted with several social media challenges when potential customers would say that using a website sounds good nevertheless they had a Facebook business page and had been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social networks were the move to make, but after discussing their requirements it became quite clear that those prospective clients didn’t actually know why they needed social networks or SMM to create online sales, They just wanted it. For small, and medium-sized business Normally i recommended creating a quality website over any type of social media, why? Well it’s simple really because social media is Social Media Marketing, and social networking sites are Social Networks they are certainly not business media and business networks (that could be more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds simple but it’s true and also the statistics back it up. The truth is social media marketing fails to inform you that Facebook is a social network not an internet search engine and despite the quantity of Facebook users and Google users being round the same, people don’t use Facebook in the same manner that they use an internet search engine like Google (that has around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to search for business or products. They normally use it to communicate with family and friends or for news and entertainment. In a recent study carried out by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of social media marketing users stated that they do not engage with brands over social media at all and merely around 23% actually purposefully use social media marketing to have interaction with brands. Now out of all the individuals who use social media marketing and that do communicate with brands whether purposefully or not, many (66%) say they have to feel an organization is communicating honestly before they will interact.
Well to start with I would claim that having a well optimized website continues to be going to provide you with a lot more business that social media typically specifically if you certainly are a small to mid-sized small business because far more people will type in “hairdresser Port Macquarie” into an internet search engine like Google, Yahoo and Bing compared to what they ever will on any Social Media Marketing Site and if you don’t use a website you’re passing up on all that potential business. However despite each of the (not too good) statistics I still think it is still a wise idea for business to utilize social media not in the same manner that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly no longer working in the manner they promise it can. Basically SMM Companies and Business as a whole considered social networks like Facebook as being a fresh market ripe for your picking and once Facebook started getting users measured by the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US$500,000 for 7% of the company (in June 2004) and also since them a few venture capital firms are making investments into Facebook and then in October 2007, Microsoft announced 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 neglected to truly capitalise on the huge variety of Facebook users online. The simple truth is numbers does not equal buyers. Is it in a Social Media Marketing company’s welfare to dicuss social networks up? Absolutely. Will it be in a Social Media like Facebook’s best interests for individuals to believe that companies can sell en masse by advertising and marketing with them? Of course it is actually. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the last year as its revenue which is mainly from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the concept of SMM is exercising for them however it is working out for you? Well… statistically no, but that does not always mean that it never will.
I believe the main difference between social networks and check engines is intent. People who use Google are deliberately searching for something therefore if they do a search for hairdressers that’s the things they are looking for at this particular time. With something such as Facebook the key intent is generally to get in touch with relatives and buddies. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social media sites could be monetized in the same way that search (Search Engine Listings) did… In 36 months from now we need to figure out what the optimum model is. But which is not our primary focus today”. One of the primary problems business face with social networking sites and SMM is perception. Based on the IBM Institute for Business Value study there was “significant gaps between what businesses think consumers worry about and what consumers say they really want off their social media marketing interactions with companies.” For example in today’s society people are not only likely to hand you over there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back for it, so the old adage “what’s inside it for me personally?” is necessary. So the primary reason most people give for interacting with brands or business on social media marketing dfrbnq to obtain discounts, however the brands and business themselves think the key reason people communicate with them on social media is to discover new items. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on their own listing of main reasons why people interact with them. Most businesses believe social media increases advocacy, only 38 % of consumers agree.