Social Media Marketing
Social Media Marketing, Truth and Lies

Social Media Marketing, Truth and Lies

Social Media Marketing Singapore
Social media seems to be the latest buzz word for any person looking to increase their online presence and sales, but is Social internet marketing (SMM) all it is cracked as much as be?
S.M.M companies are now springing up in all places these days and they are telling anyone that will listen about how incredibly important social media like Facebook twitter and YouTube will your business but, for the average small to medium sized business, does marketing to social networking sites really live up to every one of the hype? Is spending lots of money on hiring a SMM company worthy of it? And has anyone really done their research for this before they hired a person to set up there Facebook business page? Some SMM publication rack setting up things like Facebook business pages (which are free) for $600 to $1,000 or higher and telling the clientele that they don't need an internet site because Facebook is the biggest social network in the world and everybody has a Facebook account. Now as it may be true that Facebook may be 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 thrilled to point out the positives of social networking like how many people use Facebook or what number of tweets were delivered last year and how many individuals watch YouTube videos etc. but are you getting the full picture? I remember when i sat next to a SMM "expert" with a business seminar who was spruiking to anyone who came within earshot concerning the amazing benefits of starting a Facebook business page for small enterprise (with him obviously) and selling on Facebook. So, intrigued through the aforementioned "experts" advice I looked him through to Facebook only to find he only 11 Facebook friends (not a good start). So being the research nut that i'm, I decided to take an excellent look into SMM in regard to supplying see if it actually worked, who did it work for and if it did why did Social media work for them? And will business rely so heavily on social support systems for sales?

Social Media Marketing

As a web developer I was constantly (and today increasingly) confronted with several social network challenges when potential clients would say that using a website sounds good but they had a Facebook business page together been told by various sources (the ever present yet anonymous "they") that social support systems were the thing to do, but after discussing their demands it became quite clear that those potential clients didn't actually know why they needed social networking sites or SMM to generate online sales, They just wanted it. For medium and small sized business I always recommended building a quality website over almost any social network, why? Well it's simple really because social media is Social Media, and social Networks are Internet sites they are not business media and business networks (that might be 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 a search results and despite the quantity of Facebook users and Google users being throughout the same, people don't use Facebook in the same way that they use a search engine like Google (containing around half the search engine market), Yahoo and Bing find business or products. They normally use it to keep in touch with family and friends or for news and entertainment. Within a recent study made by the IBM Institute for Business Value around 55% coming from all social media users claimed that they do not engage with brands over social media marketing at all and only around 23% actually purposefully use social media marketing to interact with brands. Now out of all the people who do use social media and who do talk with brands whether purposefully you aren't, the majority (66%) say they need to feel a company is communicating honestly before they will interact.
So how do you use social internet marketing? And is it even worth doing?
Well to begin with I would say that having a well optimized web site is still going to enable you to get far more business that social media marketing in most cases especially if you certainly are a small to medium sized local business because much more people are going to enter "hairdresser Port Macquarie" into a google search like Google, Yahoo and Bing compared to what they ever will on any Social Media Site and if you don't have a website you're losing out on all of that potential business. However despite every one of the (not so good) statistics I still still find it still a good idea for business to utilize social media just not just like that a lot of SMM professionals are today, Why? Because it's clearly not working in the manner they claim it does. Basically SMM Companies and Business overall looked at social networks like Facebook like a fresh market ripe to the 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 since them a few growth capital firms have made investments into Facebook along with 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 about the huge number of Facebook users online. The truth is numbers does not equal buyers. Could it be in a Social Media Marketing company's benefit to talk social networks up? Absolutely. Could it be in a Social Network like Facebook's best interests for people to believe that companies sell en masse by marketing and advertising with them? Of course it really is. In early 2012, Facebook disclosed that it is profits had jumped 65% to $1 billion in the last 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 looking for something so if they certainly a search for hairdressers it is precisely what they are looking for during this particular time. With something such as Facebook the primary intent is usually to connect with friends and family. In October 2008, Mark Zuckerberg himself said "I do not think social networks can be monetized in the same manner that search (Engines like google) did... In 3 years from now we have to understand what the optimum model is. That is not our primary focus today". One of the biggest problems business face with internet sites and SMM is perception. In line with the IBM Institute for Business Value study there are "significant gaps between what businesses think consumers care about and what consumers say they really want from their social media interactions with companies." For example in today's society people are not just going to hand you there recommendations, Facebook likes, comments or details without getting something back for it, so the old adage "what's inside it for me?" is needed. So the primary reason most of the people give for interacting with brands or business on social websites is to receive discounts, however the brands and business themselves think the primary reason people interact with them on social media is to learn about new items. For brands and business receiving discounts only ranks 12th on their list of reasons why people interact with them. Most businesses believe social media marketing will increase advocacy, only 38 % of consumers agree.
Companies need to find more innovative solutions to connect with social media if they want to see some sort of be a consequence of it. There were some really good initiatives shown from the IBM study of companies which had gotten some form of a handle on how to use social media with their advantage, keeping in mind any time asked what they do when they interact with businesses or brands via social websites, consumers list "getting discounts or coupons" and "purchasing products and services" because the top two activities, respectively a U.S ice cream company called Cold Stone Creamery offered discounts on the products on their Facebook page. Alternatively there is a great program launched by Best Buys inside the U.S called Twelpforce where employees can reply to customer's questions via Twitter. With Cold Stone Creamery and Twelpforce the advantage is clearly within the favour of the potential customer & the great trick to social media marketing is to sell without selling (or looking like your selling) unfortunately most social media marketing is focused the wrong way.
Constructing a tangible buyer to consumer relationship via social media marketing is not easy and probably one of the most benefit to business' using social websites to boost their websites Google rankings. But business' should understand that you can't just setup a Facebook business page and hope all went well. SMM requires effort and prospective customers need to see value in what you have to offer via your social networking efforts give them something worth their social interaction and time and then you may get better results.

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