Social Media and Business Marketing: Where is the Value?

With Facebook being touted as one of the fastest growing advertising platforms, does it make sense to purchase advertising space in the virtual landscape of social networking? The honest answer – it depends on the business, service, or product you are trying to advertise.

For companies that exist solely online, Facebook and Twitter are a great place to turn to for advertising. But don’t expect to see a higher return on your advertising dollars at either of these social media giants.

With an average response of 3 to 5 percent, the amount of people you’ll reach with your message does not vary noticeably from traditional methods of advertising. Actually, from one business or service type to another, there are specific social media that can boost your online credibility. If you need to know how to find yours, here’s a quick way to figure out the best place for you to advertise your business.

Firstly, the type of business is key. An online business will have a greater need to use online advertising, whereas a product, business or service that has a physical location would benefit from different advertising.

A plumber wouldn’t find their base of customers and clientele on Facebook; a better move would be to invest in sponsored listings on Google. A pizza place might find a listing on eatability or food blogs would boost their bottom line. A day spa might find TrueLocal to be helpful, but would also want to have banner ads up on pages of beauty blogs, and broadcast deals and spa packages via Twitter to drive customers to their establishment.

As your business changes, you may need to weigh a different set of criteria to determine the best way to reach new potential clients, customers and buyers. The challenge of social media advertising is how hard it is to turn those clicks into cash for your business. Having a highly ranked website advertising your product certainly can’t hurt, but it’s more important to choose the right place to advertise – and to funnel clients right where you need them.

The trick to using social media to help boost your business profits is to mix social media with digital word-of-mouth promotions. A Facebook fan page certainly won’t hurt your business, but it is how you choose to use it that will build greater brand recognition. For most businesses, posting once or twice a week to Facebook or Twitter is fine, though larger companies need to monitor their accounts daily to maintain a buzz and respond quickly to dissatisfied customers. Always link your media to each other, post on topics that relate to your business and keep the wording clear and concise.

When in doubt, think of the service you’re offering, and imagine the first place in social media where you’d start your search. That should be your first focus for advertising.