When social media marketing first gained traction among the business community, it went viral. Many businesses invested heavily into developing their social media presence and clout. This was in part also due to the push from marketing firms who presented the concept as the new way to engage with customers. Marketing firms have to continually reinvent the paradigm so that they appear in the forefront of research. That is their value and worth to their clients, the large paying corporations. What better way to make more margin than to present a new, unproven concept with huge potential and no market price for consulting work?
So for a couple of years there was huge buzz around social media marketing and much effort and money was thrown into these developments. This of course spilled into the SME (small medium business) segments and many of these smaller businesses take cue from what the big boys are doing. Because big boys must be right. Social media was the next big thing.
Today, the social media concept is more mature, and businesses now realize what they can and cannot achieve using social media. They also know how many percent of their customers they can hope to reach and how engaged their customers will be other than a simple “like” on Facebook.
A big bomb was dropped about a year ago by Facebook, the world’s biggest social media platform. For years their efforts to get advertising agencies to convince their clients and push for a corporate Facebook page and getting millions of likes. During that time, if someone liked a business page, they would receive post updates whenever the business makes a post. About a year ago, Facebook changed this policy and as usual used language that they think helps shift some heat away from them. They said that from then onwards, posts made by businesses will not be seen by all fans, but only a limited number based on their activities or interaction with the business page. In short, what it means is that, for the millions of dollars that corporations have sunk into developing the business page, they now do not have free access to ALL their fans. They would have to pay if they wanted the message to reach everyone. It seems the companies got whammed and perhaps the ad agencies as well for recommending that.
For small businesses, they key to social media success will not work if the owner or an appointed employee was continuously engaged with the online community. Perhaps the time could be more efficiently spend elsewhere. Social media does not work for every business and it is time consuming. My take is to use it for Search Engine Optimization purposes. Whether it is more effective than other forms of customer engagement remains uncertain. One thing is for sure, a lot of effort has to be put in per customer engagement ratio. Besides, many corporate Facebook pages are now being used by customers to post complains for everyone to see. Hmmm…