Social Media Marketing, Truth and Lies

Social Media Marketing Singapore

Social Media Marketing seems to be the latest buzz word for everyone looking to increase their online presence and sales, but is Social media (SMM) all it is cracked approximately be?

S.M.M information mill now springing up in all places these days and they are telling anybody that will listen regarding how incredibly important social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube are to your business but, for your average small to medium sized business, does marketing to social support systems really live up to all the hype? Is spending lots of money on hiring a SMM company value it? And has anyone really done their research with this before they hired you to definitely set up there Facebook business page? Some SMM information mill setting up things like Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $1,000 or even more and telling the clientele that they don't need a web site because Facebook may be the biggest social network on earth and everybody has a Facebook account. Now as it may be true that Facebook is the largest social network on the planet and yes, Facebook's members are potential consumers, the true question is are they actually buying? Facebook marketing companies are all too very happy to point out the positives of social media like how many people use Facebook or what number of tweets were mailed last year and how many individuals watch YouTube videos etc. however are you getting the full picture? One time i sat next to a SMM "expert" at the business seminar who was simply spruiking to anyone who came within earshot in regards to the amazing benefits of starting a Facebook business page for small enterprise (with him obviously) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued from the aforementioned "experts" advice I looked him on Facebook only to find he'd only 11 Facebook friends (a bad start). So is the research nut that I am, I decided to take a great look into SMM in regard to selling to see if it actually worked, who did it work for and if it did why did Social Media Marketing work for them? And may business rely so heavily on internet sites for sales?

Social Media Marketing

Being a web developer I was constantly (now increasingly) confronted with several social media challenges when prospective clients would say that creating 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 support systems were the thing to do, but after discussing the requirements it became very clear that those potential clients didn't actually know why they needed social support systems or SMM to generate internet sales, They just wanted it. For small and medium sized business I usually recommended building a quality website over any type of social network, why? Well it's simple really because social media is Social websites, and social Networks are Social networking sites they are not business media and business networks (that you will find more like LinkedIn). I know that sounds simple but it is true and the statistics back it up. The fact is that social media marketing does not tell you that Facebook is a social network not a google search and despite the number of Facebook users and Google users being across the same, people don't use Facebook in the same manner that they use a search engine like Google (that has around half the major search engines market), Yahoo and Bing to look for business or products. They use it to keep in contact with family and friends or for news and entertainment. Inside a recent study done by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% of social media users mentioned that they do not engage with brands over social media at all and only around 23% actually purposefully use social websites to interact with brands. Now most of them . people who do use social media marketing and who do interact with brands whether purposefully or otherwise not, the majority (66%) say they need to feel a company is communicating honestly before they'll interact.

So how do you use social media? And is it even worth doing?

Well first of all I would say that using a well optimized website is still going to provide you with far more business that social networking in most cases especially if you can be 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 networking Site and if there isn't a website you're passing up on all of that potential business. However despite all the (not so good) statistics I still believe it is still a good idea for business to work with social media just not just as that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Since it is clearly not working in terms they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and Business all together looked at social networks like Facebook as a fresh market ripe to the picking and when Facebook started getting users measured by the millions PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel invested US$500,000 for 7% in the company (in June 2004) and also since them a few growth capital firms have made investments into Facebook as well as in October 2007, Microsoft announced that it had purchased a 1.6% share of Facebook for $240 million. However since Facebook's humble beginnings alternatives (2012) both SMM Companies and Business failed to truly capitalise for the huge number of Facebook users online. The fact remains numbers does not equal buyers. Could it be in a Social Media Marketing company's welfare to talk social networks up? Absolutely. Could it be in a Social Network like Facebook's interests for people to believe that companies can sell en masse by promoting with them? Of course it's. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed what has profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the year as its revenue generally from advertising had jumped almost 90% to $3.71 billion so clearly the concept of SMM is working out for the children but it is working out in your case? Well... statistically no, however that does not necessarily mean that it won't.

I believe the major contrast between social networks and search engines is intent. Individuals who use Google are deliberately seeking something so if they actually do a search for hairdressers that's what they are looking for at this particular time. With something such as Facebook the primary intent will be to connect with friends and family. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said "I don't believe social networks can be monetized in the same way that search (Search engines like google) did... In 36 months from now we have to find out what the optimum model is. That is not our primary focus today". One of the biggest problems business face with social networking sites and SMM is perception. In accordance with the IBM Institute for Business Value study there have been "significant gaps between what businesses think consumers value and what consumers say they want from their social media interactions with companies." By way of example in today's society folks are not just going to hand you over there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back because of it, so the old adage "what's within it for me?" comes into play. So the primary reason many people give for a lot more important brands or business on social websites is to receive discounts, however the brands and business themselves think the key reason people interact with them on social websites is to learn about new services. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on his or her list of reasons why people communicate with them. Most businesses believe social media marketing will increase advocacy, however only 38 % of consumers agree.

Companies are looking for more innovative approaches to connect with social media when they want to see some sort of originate from it. There were some really good initiatives shown in the IBM study of companies which had gotten some form of a handle regarding how to use social media with their advantage, keeping in mind any time asked what they do after they interact with businesses or brands via social websites, consumers list "getting discounts or coupons" and "purchasing products and services" as the top two activities, respectively a U.S frozen treats company called Cold Stone Creamery offered discounts on their own products on their Facebook page. Alternatively you will find there's great program launched by Best Buys from the U.S called Twelpforce where employees can react 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 marketing (or looking like your selling) unfortunately most social media is focused the wrong way.

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