The other day I was putting together another news article for Big4.com and it occurred to me there’s a big difference between solid Internet advertising techniques and fads that come and go. The thing that really caught my eye happened when I was writing an article based on a Deloitte press release about social media and how business is moving toward it tentatively.
The research that I did states although 65 percent of respondents plan on using social media for their businesses, a large number of those surveyed are unclear about what the return on their investment will actually be. The whole push behind the Deloitte survey seems to be defending the idea that business knows it needs to use social media but it’s not really sure why.
One of the problems helping to foster this kind of uncertainty is the fact there’s no clear way to measure the effectiveness of places like Twitter or Facebook in driving traffic and sales. Of course there are people who argue social CRM is the answer that will quantify how productive social media is as an advertising tool, but like many other things on the Web, this technique is in its infancy and nowhere near as reliable as business needs to make a full commitment to social media.
The whole argument reminds me of when you could first place a video on your website and all the hoopla that surrounded that new technology. If you listened to the kind of hyperbole that was blazing across the Internet at that time, you’d be sure that written content was dead. Now it’s all about social media and how this latest craze is poised on the brink of changing the way business does business with the younger generation.
Granted, there’s no doubt people are buying more on the Internet than ever before and the wise business person takes a look at every means available to get the word out on their goods or service, but they need to be able to differentiate from fads and complimentary techniques that improve but do not replace good content.
In other words, I think the Deloitte survey highlights a good point about social media and it’s quite simply that business doesn’t trust it fully yet. Of course the Internet way of selling goods and services is all about engaging the customer but from a business standpoint there have to be quantifiable results to any kind of advertising campaign and up until now social media doesn’t provide that.
For now, it all comes back full circle. If you’re starting out in business or looking to upgrade or change your advertising techniques, make sure you don’t go along with those people who are trying to reinvent the wheel right away. Obviously you won’t break the bank by getting a Facebook or Twitter account to help you get exposure, but try to remember that articles, good optimized web pages and even blogs are the tried and true method of getting traffic that drives sales.