Promotion in social media: myths debunked

The faster sphere of social media influence on human lives grows, the more fog in human minds appears. Abstracts or doubtful theses becomes “plausible” or, even better, “well known facts” without a proper interpretation of professionals.

Well, let’s rush with a knowledge torch into this darkness of ignorance :) and try to dispel some (not all!) myths concerning promotion in social media (SM).
Here are 7 myths which will be considered in the given article:

1. Social media means the same as social networks
2. SM is a place for children and idlers
3. It is impossible to measure efficiency of promotion in SM
4. Promotion in SM can be done by anyone
5. The size matters © Promotion in SM is only for big companies
6. Promotion in SM is a usual fashion event which will soon come to naught
7. Promotion in SM is almost worthless

Social media means the same as social networks

It is a very popular misconception which people use in informal speech and sometimes use them as synonyms, despite the very substantial difference in values ​​of these notions.

Social networks are just a piece of the huge world of SM, which includes as well:

Blogs (and microblogs) – are online journals with regularly added massages on various topics. Outstanding representatives of such journals are LJ, Blogger, etc. Twitter is the most famous platform for microblogging (not more than 140 characters per message).

Forums. For example, the forum of search engine optimizers http://forums.seochat.com/

• Specialized stores of video, images, music, presentations etc. the Largest representatives are YouTube (video) and Flickr (images).

• Creation of a joint content services. Wikipedia is the most successful service among joint content services (I`ve already remembered an immortal phrase: «the creators of Wikipedia are going to collect all information about humanity and fly back soon»).

Questions and answers services, where you can ask the community what you want – from a salad of pears and cheese recipe to “What is the meaning of life?”. Yahoo! Answers perhaps is the best known site among the English-language sites of this kind.

And so on. And the most pleasant fact is that you can do web site, product or brand promotion practically in each segment of the SM galaxy.

SM is a place for children and idlers

Let’s not speak on one’s bare word, just simply look at figures.

1. For a start look at the Facebook audience distribution by age (statistics for the year 2010):

The bulk of “facebook people” are between age of 18 to 44 years (70%), teenagers are only the fourth age category by quantity. Some other facts draw attention to themselves:

– 64% of Facebook users earn from $ 25,000 to $ 75,000 (it`s not bad, is it?);

– 30​​% of users come from mobile devices (it`s a hint to developers of sites ;)

2. Twitter


So we can safely make an informed conclusion that a mass of quite adult and affluent people regularly write / read / watch something in the SM.

It is impossible to measure efficiency of promotion in SM


It is possible. Certainly, using of those or other parameters depends on type of social media and goals, but as whole results are quite concrete.

Tracking can occur on several parameters that can be accurately traced. Here are the main ones:

Audience coverage. Result can be expressed as quantity of visits, viewings (in YouTube), participants of group (in Facebook), followers (in Twitter) etc.

Volume and nature of citation. This parameter is closely connected with the previous one. It can be a number of “Likes”(for Facebook), comments, links and reprints (for news), etc.

In addition, your glory can be not always cool, therefore it is important to track goodwill of citing/commenting in social media.

Conversion. Conversion is a targeted action made by a customer. As example, it can be a goods purchase, a PDF-file download, a registration on a site etc. All of these and even calls can be traced with different degree of accuracy.

 

Promotion in SM can be done by anyone

Sure, everyone can do that, but results of such promotion by professional and amateur will vary greatly.

It’s not enough just to pay bloggers for posts, to create group or page in Facebook and to start writing something in Twitter. Everything will looks “as normal people have” in such way, but at the best it won’t give results.

Indeed, not just “traffic” or “unique visitors” is at another “end of the line”, but alive people are, and they are often very selective and impatient. SM has its own laws, where uninvited guests, paid articles and boring discussion are not welcomed.

Articles should be informative and well executed, an invitation “to follow” twitter or a group should be from an interesting person, and discussions in groups should regularly “be fed” by ably leading. Our advice is to trust promotion of your site in SM only to professionals if you have really big goals.

The size matters © Promotion in SM is only for big companies

Promotion in SM is not only for ambitious advertising campaigns with distribution of free Mercedes.

A living example: Facebook-page of a small company engaged in renting of accommodation in Barcelona.

They have some photos, small video shot with not a professional camera, short messages on the wall plus large buttons of socialization on the site and nothing more.

Which results they have you ask? They have about 30-40 transitions from Facebook a day and stable couple of dozen orders a month. It may seem, probably, not great result, but after all they apply the minimum of efforts!

So even if not everyone has such advertising budgets  as Nokia and Coca-cola have, then some simple but effective in terms of returns things are possible for a company of any size.

Promotion in SM is a usual fashion event which will soon come to naught

First let’s compare popularity of the trend “social media” with such competing traffic sources as “SEO” (search engine optimization) and “PPC” (Pay-per-click advertising):

As we can see, no recession at least in terms of trend popularity is not observed. More likely on the contrary: it shows a steady growth.

A diagram which shows future growth of budgets for these or other goals in 2011 made by credible western research firm MarketingSherpa is below:

As you can see, the majority of experts predict a quite substantial budgets growth.

Promotion in SM is almost worthless

A core of this belief is probably a free presence at the most popular SM platforms. For sure Facebook, YouTube, Linkedin and other whales don’t take money for place under their sun, but materials for work plus salaries of real professionals can be quite an expensive affair.

Let’s consider this statement using an example of video promotion. You can record a video for YouTube with help of a phone or an amateur camera, then to process it, to stick a link using a free editor and get millions of views in result. For example, this video

collected nearly 25000000 views! The video amused millions of people around the world, however, it doesn’t carry out any marketing tasks …

Sure it is possible to manage good compilation (more than 3000000 views). And a link can produce a quite good result in the end.

But really well done video (the quality + viral effect + call to action) will not be cheap. And all the examples above are more likely a fortune to rely on which is not a good idea.

The same concerns, for example, discussions in Facebook group or fast and unpunished followers attraction to a Twitter-account (the majority of known techniques are close to spam).

In a word, free or «almost free» promotion in SM is an extremely improbable thing if you have serious plans.

Conclusion

Probably not all important issues could be covered in this small volume article, not all answers can be given. In general, the main idea that I would like to convey: just don`t approach the process of promotion in social media only in terms of your own subjective evaluations.

 

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