The marketing landscape has changed dramatically over the last decade. Today, social media marketing is one of the most effective ways to promote your company online, but it’s not as easy to pull off as some people may think.
It requires thought and planning, and while there are no strict guidelines, there are some misconceptions that every marketer should know.
Here are nine myths you should be aware of when developing a social media strategy.
1. Social Media Only Benefits Larger Organisations
Many small business owners are still unsure about whether social media marketing is the sensible route to take.
Perhaps they think that their target audience aren’t using social media enough to justify spending any time on it.
In fact, over 70 percent of online adults have some form of active social media account.
As long as you focus on the channels where your potential customers are, it can be a cost-effective way to boost brand awareness and build customer loyalty.
2. You Need to Join Every Social Network
Even some of the largest companies in the world have only five or six social media accounts. If you’re a smaller business, it’s not sensible to create a profile on every social platform.
With limited time and resources, you’ll see better results from using just one, two, or three channels.
However, it’s crucial to focus on the channels where your target audience spend most of their time. For instance, the fashion and craft industries have found great success and user engagement on more visual platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest.
If you’re new to social media, check out Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, as they all have broad demographics.
3. Social Media is About Promotion
By definition, social media is about being social. If all you do is try to promote your business it will look like spam, so you need to make sure you engage with your audience by listening, interacting, and sharing content.
Publish content that’s interesting, informative, or entertaining. Lend a hand to your customers, offer support and deal with their issues.
Think about giving value to your audience and you’ll reap the rewards.
4. People Don’t Want to Know Company Details
In fact, consumers today are more interested than ever before about the workings of a company.
In an increasingly cynical consumer landscape, transparency has become a key part of reputation management.
Consumers like to see behind the scenes, so be more honest and show the human side of your business and you’ll quickly gain credibility.
5. You Should Always Have a Formal / Professional Tone
Professionalism in your service is vital, but you don’t have to always be so formal on social media – it’s an informal platform.
Your followers want to feel included, so it’s important to let down your guard from time to time.
People like to see photos of your team members or behind-the-scenes footage of a company event.
It all helps to build stronger relationships with customers, and is a great way to humanise you brand.
6. Social Media Success Can’t Be Measured
There are actually many ways to track your social media efforts and find out what is and isn’t working.
On a basic level, you can count your followers, retweets, and comments over time. These give an indication of success.
You can then use tools like Google Analytics to trace where your traffic is coming from. Facebook Insights lets you track various metrics about user behaviour, and you can measure links and shares on platforms like bit.ly.
Related: Essential social media KPIs
7. You’ll See Quick Results
It may be simple to set up social media profiles, but the real benefits will only be felt over the long term.
It takes many hours of social activity to start to build a following and see the difference in your bottom line.
However, the sooner you get started, the sooner you’ll reap the benefits.
8. It Costs Nothing
It can be a struggle to get noticed online, and with so much competition on social media channels, you need to spend a certain number of hours each week updating your social channels and responding to your audience.
Ultimately, this costs money, especially if you’re using paid analytics tools or hiring a social media marketing manager.
The paid advertising opportunities on social networks will also come out of your marketing budget.
9. You’re Inviting More Negative Comments
Many business owners are understandably worried about negative coverage on social media, but there are hundreds of other online channels where people can already leave negative reviews about any company.
Isn’t it better to give yourself a platform where you can defend yourself? To mitigate negative comments, respond respectfully to customers and try to address their concerns.
It shows you care about what people think and most of your audience will appreciate your honesty, and perhaps most importantly it gives you a chance to turn a negative customer experience into a positive one.
If you don’t have a presence on social media, it’s not too late. Social media marketing is still one of the most cost-effective ways to build brand awareness and strengthen your reputation.
It takes time, but fortunately there’s a lot of help out there, from free online resources, to hiring professional help.
Keep these social media myths in mind and you can move forward with confidence.
What do you think are the most common social media myths? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section below!