In May 2012, the American car manufacturing company, General Motors, decided to withdraw its 10 million dollars’ worth of Facebook advertising. The company, the third largest advertiser in the US, made its decision based on the claim that its paid ads have not had a significant impact on the targeted Facebook users.

General Motor’s move has again highlighted the question frequently debated in the business community: is paying for online marketing on Facebook and other social media sites actually worth it?

The Effectiveness of Social Media Advertising

There is a general consensus among social media marketing experts that Facebook has changed the way businesses communicate with their customers. Because it allows businesses to target potential customers based on specific demographics and interests, when done correctly Facebook advertising does indeed have the potential to be effective.

How to Succeed in Your Social Media Marketing Strategy

Social media strategists have a basic rule of thumb for reaching out to customers: Don’t just advertise!

The key to success in your social media marketing is to build a relationship with the user: make them your friends before you make them your customers. The primary element that makes social media different from more traditional forms of media is that every potential consumer has a voice, and will use it to accept or reject a business.

As such, friendly, conversational communication on a daily basis is far more effective on social media platforms than a preachy, distant advertisement tailored to mass audiences.

Never forget that the purpose of the effort and the money you spend on Facebook advertising is to interact with people, not robots.

That’s why it is important that you use social media regularly, even in a personal capacity, to understand the nature of communication on these platforms. Only then will you be able to effectively adapt the tone and rhythm of online communication to your online marketing strategy.

Social Media Advertising is Here to Stay

Even though General Motors has decided to cease paying for its ads on Facebook, it still has thriving free pages on the platform. Furthermore, there is a growing number of large and small-scale businesses worldwide that are increasing their social media marketing budgets. According to eMarketer, social media marketing is anticipated to double by 2016 – from $32 billion to $62 billion.

So whether you decide to dish out your cash to reach your potential customers or go down the free page road, social media marketing can be very beneficial for your business if done right.

Just remember the three essential elements in your marketing strategy:
• Consistency of your message
• Conversational messages in a friendly tone
• Frequent and regular updates

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