Recent research from statista.com says 83% of SMBs use social media as a way of driving growth for their business. The same source says 70% of professional marketers claim to have been successful in gaining new customers using social networks.
These figures tend to support my own analysis. Social media has become one of the first things business owners and marketers turn to when they want to get more growth or launch a new product. But just how effective is social media in building your brand and growing your business?
I recently talked to customer experience professional and social media expert Augie Ray of Gartner. Augie argues that marketers “cannot achieve their goals with the limited and shrinking reach of organic social media. Within a year or two, I think all social media marketing will be paid ads, with little effort dedicated to organic and free marketing.”
Brandcasting on social media rarely works
Augie thinks that while some brands do have a great success with social channels as they have great brand experiences that involve their audiences (examples are sports, entertainment and lifestyle brands like Apple and Samsung). But most do not and should be wary of placing too much of their focus on social media for marketing.
Social media marketing which isn’t really social will always be largely ineffective whether it’s paid for or not. Brandcasting on social media rarely works.
Then there are issues with the platforms themselves. Are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn the right place to be concentrating all your marketing efforts? Do you need to take a broader view and mix your efforts across a wider range of media if you want to grow your business? It’s better perhaps to have a balance and nuance to your brand and marketing presence and to have a creative message and tone-of-voice you can use successfully over a range of platforms.
Many brands can look awkward and stilted trying to be social on what are essentially social interaction platforms, where adding value and providing comment and news is of more value that selling products or services.
Being a social brand is not the easy option it at first appears
However, the existing social channels need to evolve and there’s always a place for new networks with more flexibility and new values. Will all the networks we’re using now still be around in five years’ time?
It’s probably better to build your brand values before trying to engage on social media. Take some time to develop your brand, so you can use social media to underline just what makes what you do unique.
So, will becoming a more social brand really help grow your business?
Being a social brand is not the easy option it at first appears. Like all successful branding and marketing campaigns, you still need great creative ideas. You still need a lot of hard work and the right tools and insights to help you be more successful. Seeing all your brand elements in one place and managing your social channels more effectively would be a great way to start.