Social Network - Copertina
By Hector Cisneros
Today I was asked the most important question encompassing the subject of Social networks and social media marketing. The question I was asked is; What is the value of social media marketing, that is what are the benefits of social media like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+. Although these social networks are diverse in nature, they have common values both to subscribers and business people alike. That’s right, even though these networks operate in very different ways, their users often have very different motivations, different backgrounds and personal needs. They all provide these seven values to all that use them. Read on and find out why social networks and social media marketing is changing the face of the internet from what we know to what it will become.
In order for any commodity, service or phenomena to grow on the internet it must provide value. These benefits must be based on un-changing principle for large scale growth to take place. Short term fancy fads will come and go, but massive growth the like that which has taken place on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ are based on providing unique benefits to their subscribers. The dominance of Google is also based on the principle of providing massive amounts of value to its users. Any long term internet phenomena must also provide a monetary value for it to be self-sustaining. If you want to prosper from the internet today you can’t ignore social networks. In fact, you need to insure that your efforts are in alignment with the benefits these networks provide and you must follow the principle that they are built on. The principle I am referring to can be stated like this; any endeavor or entity that provides massive value to large numbers of people will occupy massive amounts of human kind’s time. Now let us look at these benefits.
Benefit #1. Your Network's Ability to Help You Build Trust and Credibility
One of the main reasons people use social networks is because they are interacting with like-minded people. Indeed, they are interacting with family, friends, co-workers and acquaintances whom they know, like and trust. It’s the principle of trust that I believe is the most important factor. We live in a world were hyperbole if not outright lies are the norm. People want to interact with people they like, know and trust. It's part of our human nature. Social networks allow this to take place in a very democratic and dynamic way. You can organize friends, followers and connections into groups based on trust (among other things) and you can immediately un-trust, block, de-friend, or disconnect anyone you feel is unworthy of your time and attention. On the flip side is you maintain behavior that is friendly, courteous and provide content that is deemed valuable, you become trustworthy. As someone who is deemed trustworthy, you now have their ear, eyes and time. Most importantly you also can use this trust to build your credibility vicariously through the eyes and ears of your social network connections. Again, Trust is a greatly valued commodity that is in high demand in the world today. Gain it and it opens many doors that no other method can provide.
Benefit #2. Your Network's Ability to Help You Connect and Influence Others
|Courtesy of Klout.com|
Ask anyone what is the best form of advertising and they will usually say word of mouth marketing. Social networking allows you to connect to massive numbers of people, (especially customers and prospects). This ability to connect with large numbers of people is powerful, unlike other types of media which for the most part are unidirectional forms of communications. Social media allows you to directly speak to your social partners. I call them partners because they have as much power as you the seller does. Treat them right and they will sing your praises. Mistreat them and they will share your shortcomings faster than you can say bad reputation. Now using any social network is predicated on the fact that you have built one. What I mean here is that you have to build up a sufficient number of connections in order for your network to produce the results you want. Most people are familiar with the sales rule of ten. The rule that essentially states that you have to go through ten suspects to fine one prospect and you have to go through 10 prospects to find one who will like become a customer. Following this logic, the greater the number of people you connect with, the greater the chance of selling them something. Well your social network also works along these lines. However, I suggest that you view the numbers a little differently. If you only have 100 connections you probably only have 10 people who see your message because they are monitoring their social news stream. On the other hand if you have 10,000 people in your network you probably have 1000 people viewing your message at any point in time. Bigger is always better, especially if you have taken the time to grow your connections in an organic and a value proposition way. So start growing your network, be committed to real, steady and organic growth. You can’t buy trust or loyalty. It has to be earned.
Benefit #3. Your Network's Ability to Help You Quickly Disseminate a Message to Others
If you have taken the time to build a decent size network, you’re now ready for benefit number three. Lightning fast message dissemination. What is a decent size network you may ask? For me it is a minimum of 1,000 connections. At 1,000 connections at least 100 people are viewing your message within an hour’s time that it was posted. You will also have another 2 or 300 viewers before the day is out. Now imagine you have built a very large network of 25,000 connections. Your message would now command the eyes and ears of 2,500 people almost instantly. If you had 1 million plus connections like then Senator Barrack Obama had prior to being elected president you would have commanded the attention of 100,000 people immediately. You get the idea, the greater the number of connections in your network, the greater its potential to create an immediate wave of action. My message to you here is this. If you want to be able to generate immediate response to your marketing needs, you have to take the time to build a large network. By large I mean 10,000 plus connections. Do this and your message will be effective and will produce swift results. You still can’t violate your networks primary needs for trust and value so make sure your still delivery what you promised. Having said that, know that a bigger social network equals faster and more effective results.
Benefit #4. Your Network's Ability to Support All Your Other Advertising and Marketing Efforts
One of the most amazing phenomena you see happening today is the massive migration of all media messages pointing at or emphasizing social media. You know what I’m talking about. Watch TV commercials, TV news, TV programs, and they are all telling you to connect with them on Twitter, Facebook or other social medium. Look at any magazine, newspaper or listen to any radio commercial. You can’t go more than a few pages or five minutes without hearing the words, “go to our social media page” or seeing a social media symbols in their ads. This is for very good reason. Social media provides the missing element that other advertising mediums have always been lacking. Traditional advertising has always been unidirectional. A one way conversation where the commercials are speaking at you instead of speaking with you. What’s different is the fact that social media provides your side of the communications. So my message for you here is this. Social media can only improve your customers faith and interaction with your company. It gives your prospects and customers another and often better means for them to communicate with you. Ignore this fact and you risk alienating your prospects and customers. Not being accessible via the top social media networks is akin to not being in the yellow pages 20 years ago. I can assure you that your competition is well aware of this fact. If you ignore the importance of social media and how it can help all your other marketing efforts, that’s OK, but don’t ignore your competition.
Benefit #5. Your Social Network's Ability to Provide You Valuable Feedback
One of the most valuable aspects of any type of internet marketing is this. If you set it up properly it provides lots of feedback with respect to how well it is performing. You can measure any number of types of interactions including number of clicks, likes, comments, retweets, mentions, sign up, visits and much more. Conventional advertising does not offer such luxury unless you pay for special tracking phone numbers, require ads be brought in for redemption, etc. Social media's ability to measure most aspects of user interaction is very valuable because it lets you know if your marketing is working. It provides this feedback very quickly. This immediate feedback allows you to change and or tweak your marketing message. It allows you to choose which message is best, to improve a specific message or just stop a program that is just not working. The best social media marketing agencies constantly monitor and tweak your message to produce the maximum growth or result. You hear the saying that feedback is the breakfast of champions, well it’s also a vital necessity for any marketing campaign that produces positive results. So the takeaway here is this. Make sure you require feedback reports showing exactly what your marketing efforts are producing. Most social networks have many built in reports and the owner of the account has direct access to them. However if you never look at any of the reports, you're giving up one of the most valuable benefits that social media provides any business owner.
Benefit #6. Your Networks’ Ability to Provide Low-cost, Direct & Measurable Marketing