Social media is everywhere. On your phone, on your computer screen, in the news, and in the mouths of all the hot marketing gurus these days. But why? What’s with all of this social media hype? Are all of the gurus driving the majority of social media advertising just plain wrong? The answer is yes, because social media sucks.
With the rise of the social web, the internet has drastically changed over the last 5 years. It seems that the internet itself has now become the major use of a computer, and age groups who would otherwise have no use for such a device are embracing it because of its social and informational capabilities.
In a nutshell, people are most likely to spend more time on sites like Facebook andthen the entire internet combined, because it helps them communicate in a way they never knew was possible. It’s convenient to be able to interact with all of your friends in one place, or even to have a dynamic environment where you can meet new ones without leaving your house.
In fact, the majority of you reading this first found this post on a social media outlet, which means that you spend at least a portion of your day browsing the digital array of information from friends and relatives. Really though, how can you not enjoy it?
Social media is awesome
So with the increased use of social media, these heavy weight brands and social communities control a good portion of traffic on the web. Now with the mobile data speeds rivaling those of mainstream DSL and cable providers, some of us are arguably online most of the day.
Great, so a website has all of these people in one place, but now how does it make money? Naturally, anywhere you can gather an audience, you can make money; be it from a product, service or good old fashioned advertising, the people are the fundamental aspect of monetizing any business model.
With this in mind, advertisers flocked to social media to sell things to the masses. After all, people are spending a ton of time on these sites, and not only that, but they click “LIKE” on the things they enjoy, so products can be targeted specifically to their preferences. How could advertising to them NOT make you money?
Now a post on Mashable first brought my attention to the blatantly obvious fact that retail products that advertise on a social media platform don’t seem to sell a significant amount, and embarrassingly, these advertisers found out that social media marketing for sales isn’t all it’s cracked up to be… The thing is though, that post was written like that fact was a surprise…
Selling a physical object on Facebook or any social media site for that matter is akin to a salesman invading a teenage slumber party trying to sell 13 year old girls soft pillow cases, or a salesman entering your stall in a public bathroom telling you about how soft the toilet paper is that he’s selling. It’s unwanted, unwelcome, and it’s not a pleasurable experience.
When people are in the process of their personal activities, they don’t want to be sold something.
So why are all of these big brands spending millions for social media advertising to sell products? I have no idea, but I know what they’re thinking.
Social Media Sucks
Here’s a bright idea for all the big corporations: STOP TRYING TO SELL SOMETHING TO YOUR CUSTOMERS EVERY SECOND OF EVERY DAY.
As a matter of fact, stop even referring to your customer as a customer.
If brands would take a second to get to know the people that buy their stuff, they would see that all people want is acknowledgement.
If corporations would stop hiding behind their logo, put a face on the brand, and start talking to people like *GASP* real people, then maybe those same people might just be a bit more inclined to buy their product the next time they go out shopping.
On top of making a purchase though, they will have gained something worth more than any sale they could possibly make: someone’s trust.
Think about it…would you buy Cornflakes, if Cheerios commented on your status and encouraged you to take that jog this morning?
It’s the little things that matter to us normal people, but these corporations seem to be so out of touch with, well, everybody.
I realize that when you have a big brand, you have hundreds of thousands, sometimes millions of people interacting with you via social media, but I think that an investment like that, at the very least could bring in sales…and hey, they might even single handedly change the face of business while they’re at it.
The point that they seem to be missing is that social media isn’t about ROI (Return on Investment) at least not directly. So many people think of social media in the traditional advertising sense, as in:
Search Engine Ad = Click = 10% purchase rate
So, yes, with that, for every 10 clicks you get a sale, but see, social media doesn’t work that way because people aren’t in the mood to buy. What you have to do is simply be helpful, be their friend, offer advice, and above all else, add value.
The next time they go out and they spot your product, they are much more likely to buy it. The thing is, the geniuses in the big brand marketing firms don’t like that idea, because they can’t directly measure its profitability.
The bottom line is, they have to take the risk. The only downside is that they might actually have great conversations and make a few people happy while they’re at it. Why the hell should they invest in that?
This simple concept is something that small businesses have been embracing for quite some time, and have seen major success with.
Think about it, Main Street Muffins constantly interacts with you on Facebook, they even take the time to respond to you personally. So now, all of a sudden it’s not just that little pastry shop on the corner, it’s a part of your life. You now have a relationship with the brand, not just the occasional exchange of goods for currency. When you crave a muffin, there is no other option. When your friend wants a muffin, you have a great story to tell. When the whole office needs breakfast, you’ve got it covered.
Large corporations won’t have the same success that small businesses do because they miss a critical piece of the puzzle: the people factor.
People want acknowledgement. People want relationships. They don’t want you to sell them something when they’re trying to relax, and they don’t want your products in their face all day.
If you can interact with them like people, then the next time they see your product they’re more likely to pick it up, because they have a relationship with you, because they trust you.
So yes, social media sucks for sales, but I use it anyway. Why? Because I’m not in it for sales, I’m in it for people. If those people happen to buy my products, great, but I’ll interact with them either way.
At the end of the day, I realize the corporations and brands have to make money to stay alive, but even from an investment standpoint, how can you go wrong when you’ve gained a customer’s trust?
So, do YOU use social media in business? Why or why Not?
When a business uses social media sites to promote their business they must always remember to take a professional approach and always bare in mind that social media for a business is about brand management.
Brand management, but above all else, personalizing the brand. They have to create a connection that will influence the customer in some way.
I feel that Social media is effective option of connecting with potential customers. It is certainly here to stay. We have got many new small business clients who use it.It is important that the business decides before hand what they want to acheive.
A definite goal is important in achieving anything at all really...but I agree, you need to know what you want out of it before you can gauge whether or not you are successful.
Social media allows people to forge and deepen business relationships by building trust, credibility, and most importantly, familiarity. Sales people can’t call customers every week or every month.
I agree that there are instances when social media can exacerbate PR problems rather than reduce or eliminate them.
Finally if we have a close look at the social media, It is sometimes distorted , commercialized, stressed, artificial and faked
It is...that's why I mention that companies in general have to be more genuine...they have to strive to help and add value above all else.
Very well mentioned the situations when companies should not use social media, but still I think they should in some other way!
Sales people can’t call customers every week or every month. That would be obnoxious. But the ambient awareness that comes from being connected via Twitter only...
You hit the nail on the head with this! Twitter drives me insane….the few that do provide value I put in one of my lists due to the fact the rest is just spam and I don’t even bother going through it. I may be missing a few golden nuggets but when you see someone posting the same thing every five minutes I just can’t tolerate it!
I think twitter will clean itself up over time. It is still in the process of monetizing itself, so until it has a definite business plan in place, it's no shocker it would want to inflate it's numbers with spammers.
social media can be just as easy to be spammed as anything else, you just have to get into the safer circles.
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