January 17, 2017 by Scott Howard
Years ago, a friend of mine named Anthony gave a presentation on the power of Word of Mouth via Facebook.
It opened a lot of eyes.
Businesses that were looking to advertise and get more customers started to rethink the way they were doing things with traditional advertising methods like radio, television, newspapers and magazines, even phone books and billboards .
It also frightened some in the advertising world, thinking that they were about to lose their jobs if traditional advertising was going to disappear in favor of Social Media.
Fast forward a dozen years or so and social media is not new media anymore, it’s a standard marketing option that many have grown up with. Yet there are still some unanswered questions pertaining to How Does Social Media Fit in Marketing Your Business?
Before I answer, my own credentials: over 20 years working in traditional media including primarily radio but also print and online. I served on the local American Advertising Federation Board and got to know the strengths of nearly any media along with their vulnerabilities. I also worked full time in website development and ran the social media marketing for a $50 million international e-Commerce company.
So I’ve seen a bunch and experienced a bunch.
The example that Anthony shared years ago was a friend asking on her Facebook page for recommendations for a new dentist. She had a couple dozen Facebook friends chime in with recommendations and a few warnings about dentists that they did not like.
There was nothing special about this except it was now happening online instead of in person. Social Media simply gave anyone with access to the internet the ability to engage in two way communication online instead of just over the phone or in person. Word of Mouth now had an additional platform.
Businesses wanted to figure out how to reach people looking for them on social media and although it has evolved over the years, advertising on sites like Facebook have been around for quite some time.
Facebook continues to change the algorithms that determine what you and I see when we are looking at our newsfeed. They made a big change when I was working fulltime in Social Media that shrunk the number of people reached organically with our posts by 75%. Why did Facebook do this? To make money. Piles and piles of money.
I quickly discovered that I could reach even more people on Facebook by paying for the post to be boosted and it worked. Facebook continues to refine the advertising options and there will never be an ideal formula… count on the changes to continue forever.
But while there is a distinct difference in organic Word Of Mouth marketing and Advertising of sites like Facebook, consumers don’t usually grasp the differences.
MarketingCharts.com released a study with statistics showing that 40% of people have bought something they saw on social media. It also said 2/3rd of adults use social media every week. What they cannot measure is the true power of a particular trigger factor that prompted an individual to spend money. That has always been the case, even before the internet.
Now I sometimes will use the tools that I have to show my advertising partners what we can measure online, but I always use the disclaimer that the numbers are only part of the story.
Should you and your business use social media to market your business?
My answer is nearly always yes.
Why? It’s because that is where your customers are.
Should you only use social media?
Probably not, it is limiting just like any other marketing you are thinking of.
But please don’t just act on these blanket statements as the gospel for how to successfully market your business.
You need an individual assessment, and that’s where I come in.
Contact me for details.
Category Marketing and Advertising Insights, ScLoHo's Collective Wisdom, ScLoHo's Web World, The Not-So-Secret Writings of ScLoHo | Tags: digital media, Facebook, online marketing, social media, word of mouth