Social Media is apparently the newest buzz word for anyone trying to improve their online presence and sales, but is Social Media (SMM) all it is cracked up to be?
S.M.M companies are actually springing up all over the place these days and they are generally telling anyone that will listen about how incredibly important social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your small business but, for the average small to mid-sized business, does marketing to social networking sites really fulfill each of the hype? Is spending a little fortune on employing a SMM company really worth it? And it has anyone really done their research about this before they hired someone to setup there Facebook business page? Some SMM companies are establishing such things as Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $1,000 or maybe more and telling their clients that they don’t need a website because Facebook will be the biggest social media on earth and everybody features a Facebook account. Now while it could be factual that Facebook will be the largest social networking in the world and yes, Facebook’s members are potential consumers, the real question for you is are they actually buying? Social media companies are all too happy to indicate the positives of social networking like the amount of people use Facebook or the number of tweets were sent last year and exactly how many people watch YouTube videos etc. however are you having the full picture? I remember when i sat next to a SMM “expert” with a business seminar who had been spruiking to anybody who came within earshot regarding the amazing advantages of setting up a Facebook business page for small enterprise (with him needless to say) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued through the aforementioned “experts” advice I looked him high on Facebook only to discover he had only 11 Facebook friends (not an excellent start). So being the investigation nut which i am, I made the decision to take a look into SMM when it comes to selling to see if it actually worked, who made it happen benefit and in case it did why did http://topsocialmedia.net/ work for them? And really should business rely so heavily on social networks for sales?
As a web developer I used to be constantly (now increasingly) confronted with several social networking challenges when potential clients would say that possessing a website sounds good nevertheless they experienced a Facebook business page along with been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous “they”) that social networking sites were the action to take, but after discussing their requirements it became quite clear that those potential customers didn’t actually know why they needed social networks or SMM to produce online sales, They only wanted it. For small and mid-sized business I usually recommended constructing a quality website over any kind of social networking, why? Well it’s simple really because social media marketing is Social Media, and social media sites are Social Networking Sites they are not business media and business networks (that could 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 fails to inform you that Facebook is actually a social network not a search engine and despite the quantity of Facebook users and Google users being round the same, people don’t use Facebook in the same way that they use an internet search engine like Google (that has around half the major search engines market), Yahoo and Bing to find business or products. They normally use it to communicate with family and friends or for news and entertainment. In a recent study done by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of social media marketing users stated that they tend not to engage with brands over social networking whatsoever and merely around 23% actually purposefully use social media marketing to interact with brands. Now of the many people who use social media marketing and who do communicate with brands whether purposefully or otherwise not, most (66%) say they should feel a business is communicating honestly before they will interact.
Well to start with I might claim that having a well optimized website continues to be planning to provide you with a lot more business that social media typically especially if you certainly are a small to mid-sized local business because much more people are going to type “hairdresser Port Macquarie” into a search engine like Google, Yahoo and Bing than they ever will on any Social Media Site and in case you don’t have a website you’re passing up on all that potential business. However despite all of the (not so good) statistics I still believe it is still a great idea for business to utilize social media marketing not in the same manner that the majority of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly no longer working in how they claim it will. Basically SMM Companies and Business in general looked at social networking sites like Facebook as a fresh market ripe for your picking and when Facebook started getting users measured from the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US$500,000 for 7% in the company (in June 2004) and also, since them several venture capital firms are making investments into Facebook and then in October 2007, Microsoft announced which it had bought a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million. However since Facebook’s humble beginnings up to now (2012) both SMM Companies and Business have did not truly capitalise on the huge quantity of Facebook users online. The truth is numbers will not equal buyers. Could it be in a Social Networking company’s best interest to speak social networking sites up? Absolutely. Is it in a Social Network like Facebook’s best interests for people to imagine that companies can sell en masse by advertising and marketing along with them? Of course it really is. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the previous year as the revenue that is mainly from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the thought of SMM is exercising for them however it is working out to suit your needs? Well… statistically no, but that does not necessarily mean which it never will.
I believe the major difference between social networks and look engines is intent. Those who use Google are deliberately trying to find something in case they do a search for hairdressers that’s what they are trying to find at this particular time. With something similar to Facebook the key intent is usually to get in touch with family and friends. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social networking sites can be monetized in a similar manner that search (Search Engines Like Google) did… In three years from now we have to figure out what the optimum model is. But that is certainly not our primary focus today”. One of the primary problems business face with social networking sites and SMM is perception. In accordance with the IBM Institute for Business Value study there were “significant gaps between what businesses think consumers value and what consumers say they really want using 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 this, so the old adage “what’s inside it to me?” comes into play. So the primary reason most people give for interacting with brands or business on social networking dfrbnq to obtain discounts, however the brands and business themselves think the key reason people interact with them on social networking is to learn about new items. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on the listing of reasons why people interact with them. Most businesses believe social media will increase advocacy, but only 38 % of clients agree.