The “naysayers” who question whether social media marketing is worth the time and effort may be missing the point slightly.
Businesses need to start getting the point fairly quickly because social media is growing exponentially and its influence is increasing.
Many of the doubts come from people who expect to sell more directly from social media marketing, but it’s not necessarily about that.
It’s more about the buzz it can create, the fact that you are engaging with your audience and the positive effect it can have on your online presence and your rankings – all of which then lead to increased sales.
In the book “Socialnomics”, by Eric Qualman, the author asks the question about what would be considered more valuable – recommendations from robots (search engine bots working to algorithms) or recommendations from friends?
Of course we value the word of our friends more, because we know and trust them.
This idea is literally changing the face of the web, combining search and social elements quite rapidly to provide more tailored, more relevant and more trusted results – which is the currency that search engines deal in.
Nowhere is this more apparent than with Google’s strategies in 2011.
The Google Example
Google has witnessed the rise of Facebook over the past few years to the point where it knows it’s dealing with a monster!
To be fair, Google hasn’t only just realised this – they’ve tried in the past to launch applications like Google Buzz and Google Wave which died a death.
But the release in 2011 of Google Plus is proof, if proof was needed, of the level of threat (and the corresponding opportunity) Google senses from the rise of social media.
Google provides the internet with some of its greatest minds, so if they are getting serious about social media then it’s a sure sign that the future of the web lies in that direction.
They have seen big players like MySpace almost disappear in Facebook’s wake, so they are clearly taking steps to make sure that the same doesn’t happen to them.
Obviously they don’t come much bigger than Google but, even so, Google Plus attracted 10 million people within 2 weeks of release; it took Facebook well over a year to get that many members.
Next year we will doubtless see further Google integrations between their search engine, Google Plus, Gmail, YouTube and other Google products.
How Does This Affect Your Future?
You may already have a social media presence, but there’s probably more you can be doing in terms of engaging with your customers, building your credibility and authority through great content and encouraging sharing amongst followers.
Social media marketing is clearly going to be a major player in search in the years ahead so it’s best to start participating now – not necessarily to instantly make money from, but to build your online presence. That should pay rich dividends further down the line.
Using a blend of the new marketing methods with the more “traditional” online approaches is the best idea; you can get further great pointers with your business marketing strategy in the Competition Crusher workshop. Just click here for more info.