The sheer amount of hoopla about social media marketing is turning into a typical internet circus, with Get Rich In Your Pyjamas stuff oozing out of every available source. It’s garbage, as usual, with a lot of added “benefits” in merchandising. As a matter of fact, the core issues for social media aren’t hype. They’re information and SEO values. Real social media marketing isn’t a guessing game. It’s real marketing, and it’d be nice if professional marketers treated it that way.
People do not go on to social media sites specifically to buy products. Their interest needs to be engaged before they’ll do anything at all except play games and chat. People do explore social sites, and will click on things of interest, but the interest has to be stimulated with information of good enough value to generate click-throughs and conversions.
This is also not exactly a mature market with well-established methodologies. Even Facebook doesn’t have a solid, competitive marketing and sales operation yet, and they’re also competing with sites like Amazon for attention in this area. The internet is the most competitive, fastest-moving commercial environment on Earth, and the social sites are very broad-based. That’s a working demographic for an inspiring phrase like “Get it right or don’t do it at all” in marketing terms.
The term “information values” needs to be taken literally. These are the basic issues:
- What is valuable information?
- To whom is it valuable, and why?
- Where do you put it, where people who are interested in the information can see it?
The social sites are definitely a place for exposure, but if you expect results like a dating site ad gets, you won’t get them. The social sites are comprised of groups, free agents, and a lot of money-making operations of varying degrees of usefulness. Some social site ads are true turn-offs, and their main contribution to social media marketing is to generate sales resistance.
Information value must be targeted to specific groups on social media sites. If there’s a hang gliding group, that’s where you put your hang gliding information. It’s a real no-brainer, and people simply don’t do it. For some reason or other, marketers have been generating materials on their clients’ corporate sites and assuming that merely because it’s on Facebook it will be read.
That information has exactly zero value to anyone not actively searching for it, and the people searching are more likely to be searching on Google, not on social media sites. They’ll go to websites, not social media, for that sort of information.
Social media must engage users. If you’ve got a Facebook page, you shouldn’t be just regurgitating site info. Social media is more like a blog, with direct engagement for users, asking questions, etc. This is real information, gathered first hand, and therefore valuable.
Information value is very much in the mind of the beholder. If you want your social media marketing to work and generate business, remember that. Go to work on your content, get experienced people managing your SEO and page content, and you will get results.