Social marketing, is it really worth your time?
Search Marketing vs. Social Marketing
At the risk of being accused of blasphemy by my “peers” who preach the gospel of social media - and it being the one true path to business salvation, I accept the accusations of being a social heretic. Believing the hype can make us feel all warm and fuzzy, but the ROI-OYT (Of Your Time) may not be a practical dogma for your business to follow on blind faith.
I am a realist, not a Kool-Aid drinking promoter of hype and marketing smoke and mirrors. I am a thinking man, not a lemming; I try things, measure results and try other things. Over the years I have been deeply involved in social media marketing (and remain involved daily). In fact, in 2010 I published my book, “SEO & Social Media Marketing Guide”. It was a step-by-step blueprint for effective online marketing that showed businesses how to improve their search optimization and leverage social media (the key word here is “leverage”, as opposed to singular focus). Additionally, I have helped scores of local businesses establish and manage their social marketing.
Is there value in social marketing for business?
Emphatically yes, but it is not the ONE path to salvation that we have been led to believe by many of the self-proclaimed social marketing gurus. It is just one piece of the marketing mix that is as necessary to our business as conventional advertising, SEO, PR, personal networking and off-line promotion, etc. Additionally, social interaction helps our SEO efforts so there is real value to be gained from this activity. Search engines now factor in our social involvement in ranking our websites.
From a business perspective, social media sites are not the most ideal place to try and sell products or services. The joke among marketing geeks states that “Trying to sell something on social sites is like handing out business cards at a funeral”. Sure, there are lots of people around, but they are not there to buy things, they are there for social interaction.
Socialize or sell stuff
Think about it, if you want to meet friends and talk sports, share pictures of your cat and talk about other common interests, you don’t go to Sears or Walmart; you go to a bar, a restaurant or public place that is conducive to social interaction. Conversely, if you want to buy something you visit a store. This hold true online. When we want to socialize we visit Facebook or Twitter, but when we want to buy something we “search” on Google or Bing.
Where to focus your time, money and energy today!
If you “sell stuff” you should focus most of your energy on improving the search ranking of your website. Use social media to connect with others and make occasional business related announcements, but don’t expect that those encounters will translate into an avalanche of new sales. Don’t believe me? Try promoting your next few posts on Facebook, or buy a Facebook ad. I can assure you that your ROI will most likely be disappointing.
Businesses need to maximize search for the best ROI. What do you think would be more beneficial to your business… to be on page one of search results for your primary search terms or to have 10,000 “friends” on Facebook? I’ll take page one results any day of the week because when someone is ready to buy my services, they’ll find me. Those 10,000 friends are sharing pictures of their cats, they are NOT talking about my business.
How do you get traction with search results?
Although much has changed in recent years, basic SEO remain as the best way to improve your rank in search results. There are literally hundreds of things you can do for your website that can affect your ranking, but the one thing that has not changed is the need to have strong local links pointing to your website. This is just one of the primary benefits of having your business listed in the Flathead Valley Business Directory™, the Flathead Guide.
Not only do you get a link from a local authority website, but you also have a smartphone optimized presentation of your business products/services, a Google map to your location, a photo slideshow, an editable (unlimited) description with hyperlinks to your website, all your contact information and links to your social sites. Essentially, you will have a stand-alone, mobile-friendly mini website promoting your business and adding Google juice to your primary website.
Search Marketing vs. Social Marketing Take-Away?
There is not a more cost-effective, traffic producing method to promote your business and improve your search results that having a listing in the Flathead Guide. Period!
Facebook Ads vs. the Flathead Guide
The cost to promote ONE post on Facebook is $5 - $100, or you can spend $4 and have your Flathead Guide listing working for you all month long. You do business in the Flathead, let the Flathead Valley Business Directory™ help you reach ready-to-buy customers – add your business today!