Forbes has been doing an awful lot of writing about social media lately. That might have something to do with the hundreds of millions of dollars being invested into it by companies like Coca-Cola, Hertz and Google.
Social media has certainly passed the “fad” stage and moved into the solid ground of something much more permanent. Where it goes from here is unknown, but it is going somewhere.
Forbes has been covering the business world for decades. the fact they are devoting an awful lot of their coverage to social media is just another sign of its importance to the business community. There is no substitute for the type of promotion which can be done with social media. The recent LinkedIn IPO shows the amount of interest in social media from investors and with more than 750 million users Facebook has certainly shown the interest from the general public.
Is YOUR business using social media for marketing? How much money, time and effort are going into it and what do you hope to get from it?
Social media is definitely a useful tool for business marketing, but understanding what it is good for is not quite the same as knowing what to do with it.
A new report says that 46 million Americans check social media sites at least twice a day! 46 million! And everywhere I turn I seem to hear how businesses are embracing social media. Example: a recent Webs.com survey says that 69% of small businesses “use” social media tools. Wow! And another survey says that 22% of small businesses use Facebook ads. Geez.
Sorry, but I’m skeptical. I hear the anecdotes. I read the surveys. And I’m sure that the people collecting this information are doing their very best to make it as accurate as possible. But to me, the data is still pretty unreliable.
That’s because I speak to thousands of business people about social media every year. And the topic hasn’t lost its appeal. Most of us are interested in these tools. We think they’re cool. And our gut tells us that there must be some way to benefit from them. And yes, many of us have tried “using” social media in our businesses. But, in my very unscientific methodology, I’ve found only a very small percentage of business people who have figured out how to make money from their social media activities.
And that’s the big thing missing from social media. Given the resources required, does spending time on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In, YouTube, Google+ and any of the thousands of communities out there make business sense compared to any other marketing or service program? Who can answer that question?
One day soon, Jon Ferrara will.
Jon is one of the guys who introduced customer relationship management (CRM) to the world back in the 1990’s when he helped to create GoldMine software. He has since sold that company and is off on a new CRM venture. It’s called “social CRM.” But he likes to call it “social business.”
“In the marketplace today people are confused about what social media is.“ Jon told me recently (with his trademark enthusiasm). “They think Facebook is a place to hookup with a high school sweetheart and LinkedIn is a place to get a job. But social media is breaking down the walls of the old school ways of doing business.”
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