A Business Owners Perspective on Social Media

Social network Advertising and marketing appears to be the most up to date buzz word for anybody seeking to raise their online visibility and sales, however is Social Media Marketing (SMM) all it is gone crazy to be?S.M.M firms are currently springing up everywhere these days and they are informing any person that will pay attention regarding how extremely essential social media sites like Facebook twitter as well as YouTube are to your organization but, for the average little to tool sized organization, does advertising and marketing to social networks actually measure up to all the hype? Is spending a little fortune on working with a SMM company really worth it? As well as has any individual actually done their study on this prior to they worked with somebody to set up there Facebook organization web page? Some SMM firms are setting up points like Facebook company pages (which are totally free) for $600 to $1,000 or more and also informing their clients that they don’t need a website since Facebook is the greatest social media network on the planet and everyone has a Facebook account. Currently while it may hold true that Facebook is the largest social media in the world and also of course, Facebook’s participants are prospective consumers, the actual concern is are they actually acquiring? Social media site advertising and marketing companies are all as well pleased to explain the positives of social media like the amount of individuals use Facebook or the number of tweets were sent in 2015 and the number of individuals view YouTube videos etc yet are you obtaining the complete photo? I when rested alongside a SMM “professional” at an organization workshop that was spruiking to any person who came within earshot regarding the outstanding advantages of establishing a Facebook organization page for small business (with him naturally) as well as marketing on Facebook. So, intrigued by the abovementioned “experts” recommendations I looked him up on Facebook just to find he had only 11 Facebook close friends (not a good beginning). So being the research nut that I am, I determined to take an excellent check out SMM in relation to offering to see if it actually functioned, who did it help as well as if it did why did Social media site Marketing help them? And also should business count so greatly on social networks up for sale?

As a web designer I was regularly (and also now increasingly) faced with numerous social networking difficulties when potential customers would certainly claim that having a site sounds great yet they had a Facebook service page as well as had actually been told by numerous resources (the ever existing yet anonymous “they”) that social media networks were the important things to do, but after discussing their requirements it ended up being fairly clear that those prospective clients didn’t actually understand why they required social media networks or SMM to create online sales, They just desired it. For small as well as medium sized organization I always suggested building a quality site over any type of sort of social media network, why? Well it’s basic actually due to the fact that social networks is Social network, as well as social Networks are Social Networks they are not company media and organization networks (that would be much more like LinkedIn). I understand that sounds basic however it’s true and the data back it up. The truth is that social media advertising falls short to tell you that Facebook is a social network not a search engine as well as despite the number of Facebook users and Google customers being around the very same, individuals don’t make use of Facebook similarly that they use a search engine like Google (which has around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Bing to search for business or products. They use it to keep in touch 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% actually purposefully use social media to interact with brands. Now out of all the 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.

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 in “hairdresser 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 website you’re missing out on all of that 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 just not in the same way that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it’s clearly not working in the way they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and Business as a whole looked at social networks like Facebook as a fresh market ripe 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 June 2004) and since them a few venture capital firms have made investments into Facebook and in October 2007, Microsoft announced that 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 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 buy instagram live video views Facebook’s best interests for people to believe that companies can sell en masse by advertising and marketing with them? Of course it is. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that its profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the previous year as its revenue which is mainly from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the concept of SMM is working out for them but it is working out for you? Well … statistically no, but that does not necessarily mean that it never will.

I believe the major difference between social networks and search engines is intent. People who use Google are deliberately searching for something so if they do a search for hairdressers that’s what they are looking for at that particular time. With something like Facebook the primary intent is usually to connect with friends and family. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said “I don’t think social networks can be monetized in the same way that search (Search Engines) did … In three years from now we have to figure out what the optimum model is. But that is 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 gaps between what businesses 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 hand you over there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back for it, so the old adage “what’s in it for me?” comes into play. So the primary reason most people give for interacting 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 some good initiatives shown in the IBM study of companies that had gotten some sort of a handle on how to use social media to their advantage, keeping in mind that when 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 U.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 U.S called Twelpforce where employees can respond to customer’s questions via Twitter. With both Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce the benefit is clearly in the favour of the potential customer & 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 way.

Building a tangible buyer to consumer relationship via social media is not easy and probably the most benefit to business’ using social media to boost their websites Google rankings. But business’ need to understand that you can’t just setup a Facebook business page and hope for the best. SMM requires effort and potential customers need to see value in what you have to offer via your social media efforts give them something worth their social interaction and time and then you may get better results.