Unless you've been living under a rock, or not at all involved in internet marketing, then you've heard about the explosive growth of social marketing via sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Just like the sites themselves experienced a phenomenal growth rate when they first launched, now that their marketing potential has been recognized markets of every size are clamoring for an opportunity to tap into the intense audience of laser targeted consumers.
However, smaller businesses and marketers (like most internet bloggers and affiliates) are behind the curve on this one because of the previous complexity involved in setting up social media campaigns, testing them, and of course the time involved in all of this. It simply left many, if not most of them, on the outside looking in.
Thanks to software developers there's now hope for even the smallest marketer. Developers have recognized this new void in social media marketing software and they themselves are expecting to tap into the still emerging market. Programs like FB Infiltrator and FB Echo have one purpose, and that is to automate and simplify the process of marketing on Facebook and avoiding the use of sponsored ad spaces from Facebook itself. More specifically, they allow business to place their offers or promotions directly onto Fan Pages rather than the widely ignored sponsored space on the right sidebar.
Does This Type Of Software Work?
In looking at these programs it's a mixed response as to whether or not they're effective. The answer really depends on who is asking the question. For larger businesses and marketers with the budget to justify the cost, then surely there's an advantage to automating the process. For smaller operations there may not be a justification unless the intent is to fully utilize the software and commit to more or larger campaigns.
In terms of saving time it seems likely that these programs do work well, and that alone may be enough for some. By "working" we're talking about the developer's claim of automating tasks that are considered mundane and which consume a large part of a marketer's time, thereby limiting the number of active campaigns that are able to be managed.
For example, look at FB Echo. One SBWire press release of the software quotes the developer as saying that his goal was to create a program that "from start to finish, someone could set it up, configure a few things, push 'go' and walk away." If it delivers that kind of simplicity then most will find it very useful.
The premise of these types of software is that instead of trying to find customers through traditional advertising (those tiny, teeny little ads on the right side of your timeline), which typically have very poor conversions or click-throughs because the ads (or at least the ad spaces) are so familiar and almost universally ignored.
With these new programs you're now able to post promotions and offers on your Fan Pages that do not look like ads. You can post videos, images or a call to action, and even link directly to your landing page outside of Facebook. This process of taking Facebook (sponsored ad spaces) out of the loop and getting customers to your own site, allows you to then use lead capture forms to build your own customer list and maybe make a sale or bring about brand-awareness, all in one action.
For those who ask if it's worth it, as stated, it really does depend on the affiliate and / or company. Not everyone can afford software like this nor can they justify it if they are not using Facebook specifically for marketing purposes. But that brings up the point, why not. There's more than anecdotal evidence showing how powerful Facebook is as a medium and the sheer volume of sales that it can generate.
The Future Of Social Media Marketing
I do not think the potential of social media marketing is in question; there is enough evidence from studies conducted by experts to verify that the growth is real and inevitable. MarketingPilgrim.com wrote that 82% of small businesses reported that social media was effective for generating new leads.
How many marketers are turning to social sites? Searcengineland.com ( searchengineland.com/prioritizing-seo-strategies-2014-181998 ) wrote that in 2014, " globally, 1 in 4 people use a social media network, and nearly 88% of marketers will use social media marketing this year. "
So the question is not the reliability of the market, it's a matter of time management for the most part because marketing to these social media sites requires more time and more attention than, say, placing a static banner ad somewhere. It's also impossible to achieve the same level of specificity (or targeting) that these social networks can offer due to their data tracking.
As they wrote at MoneyBlogger, " with social marketing you can target people with similar interests as you or your product line, even if they were not looking for you, and repeat over and over. Repetition is the key. "
Anyone who does internet marketing and is not already actively engaging these social networks should start looking into it for their marketing efforts because I truly believe it is the new battle ground for sales and leads. While software for automation helps, it is not necessary … so get to it.