S. Michael. Michael companies are now popping up all over the place these days and they are telling anyone that will listen about how incredibly important social media like Facebook twitter and Youtube are to your business but, for the average small to medium-sized business, does marketing to social networks really meet all the hype? Is spending a lot of money on hiring a SMM company really worth it? And has anyone really done their research on this before they hired someone to set up there 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 clients that they don’t require a website because Facebook is the biggest social network in the world and everybody has a Facebook account. Now while it may be true that Facebook is the largest social network in the world and yes, Facebook’s members are potential consumers, the real question is are they actually buying? Social media marketing companies are all too happy to point out the good things of social media like how many people use Facebook or how many twitting were posted out to you last year and how many people watch Youtube videos etc. but are you getting the full picture? I once sat next to a SMM “expert” at a business workshop who was spruiking to anyone who came within earshot about the amazing benefits of setting up a Facebook business page for small business (with him of course) and selling on Facebook. So, interested by the abovementioned “experts” advice I looked him up on Facebook just to find he previously only 11 Facebook friends (not a good start). So being the research enthusiast that we am, I decided to take a good look into SMM regarding selling to see if it actually worked, who made it happen work for and if it did why did Social media marketing work for them? And may business rely so heavily on social networks for sales?
As a web developer I was constantly (and now increasingly) confronted with several social networking challenges when potential clients would say that having a website sounds good but they had a Facebook business page and had been told by various sources (the ever present yet unknown “they”) that social networks were the thing to do, but after discussing cheapest smm panel their needs it became quite clear that those potential clients didn’t actually know why they needed social networks or SMM to generate online sales, They just wanted it. For small and medium-sized business Which i recommended developing a quality website over almost any social network, why? Well it’s simple really because social media is Social media, and social networks are Social networks they are not business media and business networks (that would be a lot more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds simple but it’s true and the statistics back it up. The fact is that social media marketing doesn’t tell you that Facebook is a social network not the search engines and despite the number of Facebook users and Google users being around the same, people don’t make use of Facebook just as that they use the search engines like Google (which has around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Google looking for business or products. They use it to keep in touch with friends and family 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 don’t engage brands over social media at all and only around 23% actually purposefully use social media to interact with brands. Now of the many people who do use social media and who do interact with brands whether purposefully or not, the majority (66%) say they need to feel a company is communicating honestly before they will interact.
So how do you use social media marketing? And is it even worth doing?
Well first of all I would say that having a well optimized website is still going to bring you far more business that social media in most cases especially if you are a small to medium-sized local business because far more people are going to type “hairdresser Port Macquarie” into the search engines like Google, Yahoo and Google than they ever will on any Social media Site and if you don’t have a website you’re missing out on all the potential business. However despite all the (not so good) statistics I still think it is still a good idea for business to use social media not just as that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly not working in how they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and Business in general looked at social networks like Facebook as a fresh market ready for the picking and when Facebook started getting users measured by the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US$500, 000 for 7% of the company (in August 2004) and since them a few business capital firms have made investments into Facebook and in April 2007, Microsof company announced that it had purchased a 1. 6% share of Facebook for $240 million. However since Facebook’s simple inception up until now (2012) both SMM Companies and Business have failed to truly capitalise on the huge number of Facebook users online. The truth is numbers does not equal buyers. Is it in a Social media marketing company’s best interest to talk social networks up? Absolutely. Is it in a Social network like Facebook’s needs for people to think that companies can sell en lot by advertising and marketing with them? Of course it is. In early 2012, Facebook exposed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 thousand in the earlier year as its revenue which is mainly from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3. 71 thousand so clearly the concept of SMM is working out for them but it is working out for you? Well… statistically no, but it does not imply that it never will.
I believe the major difference between social networks and search engines is intent. People who use Google are by choice searching for something so if they execute a search for hairdressers that’s what they are looking for at that particular time. With similar to Facebook the primary intent would be to connect with friends and family. In April 08, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I do not think social networks can be monetized just as that search (Search Engines) did… In four years from today we have to figure out what the optimum model is. But that’s not our primary focus today”. One of the biggest problems business face with social networks and SMM is perception. According to the IBM Institute for Business Value study there were “significant holes between what businesses think consumers worry about and what consumers say they want from their social media connections with companies. inch For example in our society people are not just going to hand you over there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back for it, so the old saying “what’s in it for me? inch is needed. So the primary reason most people give for getting together with brands or business on social media is to receive discounts, yet the brands and business themselves think the main reason people interact with them on social media is to learn about new products. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on their list of reasons why people interact with them. Most businesses believe social media will increase advocacy, but only 38 % of consumers agree.
Companies need to find more innovative ways to connect with social media if they want to see some sort of result from it. There were good quality initiatives shown in the IBM study of companies that had gotten some sort of a handle on what to use social media to their advantage, keeping in mind anytime asked what they do when they interact with businesses or brands via social media, consumers list “getting discounts or coupons” and “purchasing products and services” as the top two activities, respectively a You. S ice cream company called Cold Stone Creamery offered discounts on their products on their Facebook page. Alternatively there is a great program launched by Best Buys in the You. S called Twelpforce where employees can respond to patron’s questions via Twitter. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce the advantage is clearly in the give preference to of the possible client & the great trick to social media marketing is to sell without trying to sell (or looking like your selling) unfortunately most social media marketing is focused the wrong manner.