Social media is an incredibly powerful tool in terms of marketing power. If it weren’t, maybe Facebook would not be charging advertisers a hefty $1 million for about 125 million ad views of the “sponsored stories” on the site, the Wall Street Journal reported. (Granted, there is considerable debate about the effectiveness of Facebook ads, but companies ponying up the money have always wanted concrete evidence that the cash was well spent. Welcome to the advertising biz, Facebook. You’re learning what publishers, television/radio commercial producers have known for years… that the value of a given ad is highly subjective. And, so is its ability to be measured.)
That said, an online presence on social media sites is essential. If the going rate being charged just for the creation of a social media campaign is any indication of its relative value to your company, then I’d suggest that it’s something a company should look into practicing. One marketing firm charges the princely sum of anywhere from $1,000-$5,000 for the creation, development and ongoing “engagement and community building” on Google+, Twitter and Facebook.
As an employee at a marketing firm, and the social media manager, it would be a fair statement to say that I am biased in favor of using social media to market your brand. Alright, I’ll give you that. It has as many potential drawbacks as it does benefits. However, please humor me with an example of why social media is necessary for any thoughtful online marketing strategy.
For a few years I worked in an industry that was picture perfect for making the transition to social media marketing. But some of the people at the company were wary of using social media as a tool. These were respected, talented people with a lot of persuasive power and their views were implemented. Unfortunately, nearly a decade into the social media explosion, that same company and dozens of others like it it are now playing catch up in a dice-y game that they are just getting around to learning the rules to. And, it has cost them countless dollars in revenue.
Many companies that adapted and evolved with the changing market and are in something of a boom in terms of generating new products, employees and talent, and the slower to adopt companies are still fighting through rounds of layoffs. Is there a correlation? Maybe, maybe not. However you want to look at it, being on the cutting edge is preferable to playing it safe.
An easy rule of thumb would be to take the pulse of the younger generation. If a vast majority of the up and coming workforce/consumers are tapped into a certain social phenomenon, it’s probably a safe bet to invest time and effort into getting on board as well. A beneficial social media presence is a highly prized commodity, so much so that online marketers are tripping over themselves…to market themselves as marketers.
Besides, with the increased attention on social sharing and generating high-quality content, you don’t want to market yourself into a corner.Have you ever walked onto a car lot on a slow day? You can almost feel the intensity of the car salesmen swarming around you like sharks? You don’t want to over-market to your clients, and you don’t want to be invisible, either. We can tell you from experience that online marketing that works has something of value to offer its consumers. High pressure sales and slick profiles ultimately do little to persuade a finicky online customer. They want the best deal, or the content that gives them something in return for their time on your site. It’s the human interest factor. Consumers have more power than ever, and they are using it. Interacting with companies, and voicing their opinions is to be expected.
Sure, it can be a scary prospect, especially if you are in unfamiliar territory as a company. Maybe you got your first computer back in the pre-windows, early typing out lines of code for a computer response days. Maybe it left you scarred. By contrast, social media use is simple, and for the most part, fun and entertaining. Yes, you’ll have to put forth some effort to get it going, but its effort that will (hopefully) be rewarded. If you’re unsure of how your online presence is doing, head over to http://klouchebag.com/ and enter your Twitter username for an honest appraisal of your tweets.
As Facebook hits the road to sell investors on its forthcoming IPO, the billions being poured into the social media market speak volumes about the kind of competitive market businesses face in the online arena. The question from here becomes, what are you doing about it?