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January 10, 2013

The Social Media Argument and Fad

Social media has become a marketing strategy that is of growing importance to the business world. But, there are still arguments as to whether it has any true value to business. Some claim it’s not a viable solution to marketing strategies while others swear by their profile – that it is the answer to today’s business needs.

Marketing Today’s Audience

Perhaps sites like Facebook and Twitter are simple fads, but that is exactly why it is so important to market to their users. Television originated as a bland three-channel option when it came out, delivering public messages and some general entertainment. But, in its growing popularity (fad), it has become a host for prime-time advertisement.

Social media is currently no different. In the business sense, it is where the business is right now. Billions of people from all over the world have social accounts on at least one medium, making it the perfect tool for any marketing strategy.

Then there are arguments about how Facebook isn’t focused enough on business applications. But, does it prove worthy for networking’s sake? After all, there is a multitude of advertising through Facebook, which means that it proves viable to someone. In argument, there are claims that LinkedIn and blogs tend to generate far more positive results for businesses, which is true. These applications are far more business-oriented than other media accounts. But, it’s also wise never to limit your opportunities.

So the real question to those that argue against social is: Are you using the tools provided, or misusing the profile you just think you have? This is perhaps the most common mistake of anyone who doubts the influence of social media. It is like someone who gets a rotten apple and decides that all the fruit in the tree is going to be bad.

What Do you Get Grom Your Social Networks?

Fundamentally, proper social strategies all come down to a few calculations:

• Who is the target audience? Each media has different audience content, and it’s important to understand who you are talking to.

So, if you’re using social, you have to ask yourself whether it’s cost effective and time efficient – is it worth your efforts? Are you trying to appeal to an audience that isn’t there? Is there viability in your strategy? Basically, will your audience be able to find you through your select social outlet?

• Providing quality content that is intriguing to the audience is essential to success.

Generating quality content isn’t as easy as it seems. Sure you could generate posts about your business, but it is also wise to incorporate present trends and fads into the content. What makes you so special, but at the same time, what makes you so relatable?

• Delivery is the biggest issue, because this includes the use of the tools that each social media has to offer.

This is where many social marketing strategies go wrong, because delivering the message relies on the proper use of the tools you have at your disposal. Take Facebook for example. This site offers personal profiles and business profiles. A common mistake is to use a personal profile for your business. You limit the abilities of your social networking strategy. You can’t be “liked” by anyone or use the different tracking tools and apps that are available to a business profile. Additionally, you are limited to what you can and can’t do. It also looks far less professional.

What Social can Offer?

Social is not a stand-alone marketing strategy. It is designed to work with other networks and expand visibility among a far larger audience. This is a characteristic that many failed social marketing strategies failed to grasp. Social networks are networks of people. This is how you reach an audience of today’s demands. If the current fad was reading the labels on a fruit, it’s guaranteed you would see advertising in the produce section. However, that’s what it is – an advertising strategy that helps to increase visibility, awareness, and improve a business’ sales through word-of-mouth marketing.

The majority of people trust peer recommendations over any other source of advertising, including television and radio. Word-of-mouth marketing is perhaps the most powerful advertising tool available, and it relies on the ability of a business to network its image by including themselves in the current trends of today’s audience.

It all comes down to what a business wants to invest in their brand and how they will measure the success of their engagement with their brand community, wherever they spend time. Businesses need to excel at their brand communication and not get hung up on loving a communication channel.

Maria Elena Duron, CEO (chief engagement officer), buzz2bucks | a word-of-mouth marketing firm, is skilled at making networks “work” and harnessing powerful online and offline buzz. She facilitates online visibility services and word-of-mouth coaching and workshops – taking companies and professionals from buzz-worthy to bucks-worthy,