As a Director of an internet marketing agency I have enjoyed a front row seat in the stampede towards Social Media. Social Media seems to have a seductive power that search engines lack and as a result many of the SME’s I meet are desperate to feel they have ticked the social media marketing box. Many of these businesses do so either without a search engine marketing plan in place or at the sacrifice of search engine marketing budgets.
We have produced many social media campaigns for clients however on balance search engines provide a greater reward for SME’s. So much so that we are even considering dropping social media from our offering. Apart from the ROI there are other reasons that we feel social needs to be put in its place by SME’s when considering their marketing plans. I have outlined a few key reasons below:
- We all hear a lot of social media success stories but we do not hear from the countless businesses investing time and money with little reward. Social grabs the headlines and our imagination but search engines generate the cash. A recent Econsultancy study found that 61% of consumers use search engines to help them whilst doing product research. Think about your own behaviour – when you need a product or service do you go to Facebook or Google?
- The SME market is full of busy business people – many of whom have to wear more than one hat. Taking the time required to run an on-going social media campaign is rarely as rewarding as devoting those energies to their business. Social is magnificent and cheap when executed well however it only rewards a few SME’s in our experience.
- Would you build your house on another person’s land? If you invest all of your internet marketing energy on platforms such as Twitter and Facebook you are building your presence on websites that do not belong to you. What will you do if you have built a strong community on Facebook and they change their regulations or start charging for such activity? I am not saying do not be involved with these sites – I am simply saying do not be over reliant on them.
- You can have a social media presence without trying. That’s right! Do Apple have a social presence – yes. Do they have a Facebook page or Twitter account – no. They focus all their energy on providing brilliant products that give fantastic consumer experiences. If you focus on providing your clients/customers with great experiences then word of mouth (both on social media and in person) will be the result.
So there you have it. We could take significant revenues from the SME market by providing social media marketing however we feel the average ROI for our clients would be poor. In our opinion SME’s should simply concentrate on having a cracking website coupled with a sharp search engine marketing campaign.
I am sure this blog will attract a lot of flak from the thousands of social media guru’s that seem to have sprouted up like weeds over the past few years – I look forward to hearing from you.