Look beyond Facebook metrics to understand the network’s marketing benefits

I have discovered that, beyond all of the hype and criticism, marketing my business through social media services like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn has serious advantages. While some professionals claim paid advertising on Facebook is a waste of time and resources, I try and look beyond the statistics, and take note of the rapidly growing world of social media marketing.

Internationally, revenue from social networks is predicted to grow 43.1 percent year-over-year in 2012, according to a recent report from Gartner. This uptick would put total generated income by sites like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn at $16.9 billion. Additionally, Gartner foresees social media revenue reaching $34 billion by 2016, up from $11.8 billion in 2011.

“Usage of online social media has matured, and more than one billion people worldwide will use social media this year,” said Neha Gupta, senior research analyst at Gartner. “Although the number of social media users is larger, and in some cases increasingly mature in their usage patterns, the market is still in its early stages from a revenue perspective.”

What I have found useful in the world of social media marketing is implementing Facebook advertising efforts to aid my content marketing campaigns. When I run ads targeted to a specific audience, customers who may not have bought into my products the first time may search for more information after they engage with my Facebook promotions.

In fact, Facebook ads help my search strategy be more successful, for a much lower cost. The keyword that you have to bid the lowest for is your branded search term, but it still has a cost. However, when you use Facebook, you can increase the volume of traffic you see and lower the price of each acquisition, without breaking the bank.

Too often professionals look at Facebook as their savior, but the social service is best used as an aid rather than the foundation to your outreach programs. I have found Facebook works best as a brand image tool – how do you use Facebook for professional purposes?

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