Social Media Engagement Versus Social Marketing #worksmart

Business owners who are looking to build their client attraction system are often curious about whether buying Facebook or Linked In ads are just as effective as active social engagement. 

“I don’t understand social media. Should I just buy Facebook ads so my brand can be seen there?”

“I don’t have time to spend all day on social media while running a business, but are ads just as good as engagement?”

“Big brands are saying that they are not seeing results from their ads on Facebook, should I stop buying ads there?”

The answer is…

It depends.

Many business owners think that social media is about telling followers about their products and services by sending out messages from their social profiles with special deals or new programs they are launching.

The secret to successfully leveraging social media is to see it as a place to connect directly with your audience.  You are not just a pretty face or clever ad in a magazine, now you are a person who can shake hands, ask questions and provide value to your audience to build the know, like and trust factor that is necessary to convert prospects to clients.  This is why smart brands are forming social communities around their brands, because this experience encourages an extreme level of brand loyalty and increases the fun factor for the audience which keeps them coming back for more.

Before social media became a necessary business asset, this type of one way communication was normal and expected from businesses.  Audiences were used to being told what to buy without giving input.  It was the broadcasting model and we still expect this experience with television and film (unless the social tv experience has been integrated), but in the online world things are different.  Before the social experience, there was no other way for businesses to let the world know about their offerings aside from being profiled in the magazines and newspapers or placing ads.

The truth is, in the social networking world, broadcasting is majorly frowned upon.  It is seen as “junk mail” and it is a total turn off for your audience.  So, if this is the only way that you know how to participate in social media, then you will most likely get better results from buying ads on social networks.

However, buying ads that get results on Facebook is not as simple as just putting a message out there and expecting a return.  You have to really know who your target audience is and speak the language that they respond to in order for them to click on your ad.  In addition, people who engage on social networks often become blind to ads that they see often, so you have to rotate your ads to keep the “fresh” factor alive.

If you have a website that you are running Google Analytics on, you will have access to information about keywords that are bringing your audience to you.  Use these same types of keywords in your social ads, but make the ads “social”.  In other words… create ads that engage your audience by asking questions, encouraging likes, taking polls and gathering input.  

Once you find a winning formula that you can tweak for consistent results, you want to make sure that you are tracking not only how many clicks these ads are getting, but how many of these clicks actually convert to sales.  The ultimate goal of any client attraction method is to increase sales and grow your revenue.  So, testing, tracking and tweaking is essential to getting desired results.

Just as going to a networking event is not a passive endeavor, the social experience whether it is marketing or active engagement requires constant attention and relationship building efforts with your audience.

In this day and age, businesses simply cannot afford to sit on the sidelines of social media.  If you are just beginning to develop this aspect of your business, set a budget for your time and monetary investment and educate yourself about current trends by reading websites like Mashable, Social Media Examiner and Social Media Today.

So back to this question of whether it is better for your business to expend resources engaging in social media or buying ads on social platforms, it could be either…or…or both.  After reading this post, what do you think?  Let’s discuss in the comments!

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to Del.icio.usAdd to StumbleuponAdd to RedditAdd to BlinklistAdd to TwitterAdd to TechnoratiAdd to Yahoo BuzzAdd to Newsvine