There has been a lot of conflicting news about social media marketing (SMM) lately. An article in The Australian newspaper advised marketers to slow down their efforts to adopt social media marketing for their businesses. Similarly, an article in the Memphis Commercial-Appeal warned small business owners not to “get carried away by the whirlwind of social media.”
On the other hand, research from leading firms like Aberdeen and Forester shows that businesses are jumping on SMM and finding it very effective in achieving several of their marketing goals. Best SMM Services in USA
So who’s right? Let’s look at both sides of the argument to find out.
The SMM pessimists
The main message of the article in The Australian can be summarized as follows. The major social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn were not designed as marketing tools. Therefore, there is no reason to rush into using these sites unless there is a compelling marketing reason to have a presence there. The author believes that the truly effective marketing tools will emerge once the hype dies down.
The article also argues that many companies that have tried SMM are applying their old marketing thinking to an entirely new and different medium, and that a better approach would be to “do something based on an understanding of these new media.”
In the Commercial Appeal article, author Jim Blasingame notes that “some business owners mistakenly believe that online contacts will cause sales to increase. He claims that the use of social media steals time away from “effective” marketing practices, i.e., those that directly lead to sales. The Australian article also references the sales aspect of marketing, noting that a major challenge is “moving people from exposure to a brand message to in-store activation.”
The counter argument in favor of SMM
Any social media marketing company will tell you that a new marketing approach always requires some caution. You can’t rush headlong into a new strategy without planning it. The Australian article is right on this point – lack of planning and understanding of this new medium has been the downfall of some companies.
But on the idea that these sites are not for marketing, I disagree. Would the author say the same thing about a local business association or chamber of commerce meeting? Probably not. The main reason for attending such meetings is to raise the profile of one’s business and to meet others who might need the services a business offers.
This last point brings us to the discussion of marketing objectives. The two articles cited above talk about sales being the primary goal of marketing, which is true. However, if you ask a social media marketing company what their goals are for their customers, they will talk about increasing brand profile and awareness, improving Google rankings, and increasing website traffic. The immediate goal of SMM is not to directly increase sales, but to increase awareness of a company, which in turn increases conversion rates. Content Marketing Services USA
Perhaps it is not SMM itself that is the problem, but the understanding of these authors. SMM is not meant to increase sales like an expensive paid ad. It’s meant to improve a company’s reputation and strengthen its marketing presence. And in that regard, it is successful. According to recent research, social media marketing companies are experiencing an upswing despite the economic downturn, and their customers – or at least 80-90% of them, as Marketing Sherpa reports – are very happy with the results.