Social media might be one of the most widely used yet largely misunderstood concepts of our time. In our last post, we talked about how important it is for small businesses to have a strong brand presence on social networks, as well as a few misconceptions business owners have that tend to keep their brands from utilizing social media marketing to its fullest. This week, we want to cover some of the myths that populate the rhetoric of social media, especially when it comes to online marketing.
Myth #1: Social media is an easy and free way to make sales.
Many people are under the impression that, because so many different people of all ages use social media in their personal lives, that automatically means that it’s an easy and free platform to broadcast your content. This could not be further from the truth. Even if you use social media for your business without ever investing a nickel, don’t forget that it still requires a solid time investment.
Effectively using social media requires a strong knowledge of the brand, sufficient time to create good content and measure it to see what works, and a willingness to connect with your audience to build a thriving and active community. The true purpose of social media is to drive awareness and advocacy for your brand and to keep your fans engaged while also creating new ones. At the end of the day, you still have to have interesting content on your website and produce a great product or service. Think of it this way: your website content, including your blog, is the fire, and your social media channels are the gasoline that spreads that fire all around.
Myth #2: Social media marketing is not measurable, which means that it must not work.
One of the biggest challenges of explaining the value of social media is that there is no straightforward way to estimate how much revenue comes from social channels. Unfortunately, there is no “measure ROI” button within Facebook Insights that can reveal just how much your marketing endeavors are paying off, just as that button does not exist for TV ads, billboards, direct mail or radio ads. However, there are several other indicators that can help you measure the return on your investment.
First, remember that many of your fans on social media channels have likely already done business with your company at some point. Social media is extremely useful for retaining the loyalty of already-established customers. To bring in new customers, on the other hand, you will first need to create good content and then integrate it with other parts of your total marketing strategy. Add social sharing to your blog, direct customers you see in-person to your social media channels, include links to your social channels in your email signature, offer discounts for checking in on social media, and so on.
Second, pay to promote your content to your target demographic. Social media analysis can reveal many things about your audience, so utilize your social listening power to attract new customers that are similar to the ones that already love your brand. Facebook has one of the most sophisticated ad targeting systems around, so businesses that are not using Facebook ads are missing out on lots of untapped potential. Additionally, track your website traffic using Google Analytics, where you can discover which specific social networks and posts are driving people to your site. From there, you can observe visitor behavior once they come to your site from social media. Set up goals in your analytics and use a link you created in the Google Analytics URL Builder in your social media posts to track your campaign. The trick is to never rely on social media alone: use it as a tool to increase brand image and awareness.
Myth #3: Social media is for broadcasting your message.
If a tree falls in a forest at the same time as a million other trees fall, will anyone hear it? There is a lot of noise on the internet. Every 60 seconds on the internet, there are:
- 2.66 million Google searches
- 70 new domains registered
- 571 new websites published
- 1,800 new WordPress posts
- Over 5 million videos watched
- 138.8 million emails sent
- 293,000 Facebook updates
- 3,400 pins on Pinterest
- 67,000 photos uploaded to Instagram
- 433,000 tweets
With so many things happening, it is easy to see why many companies feel that their voice will never be heard amid the din of so much internet noise. However, many companies see constant engagement with their content every day, in spite of these odds. So what do you need to do to share your message and have it be heard?
First, think of social media like a conversation. You share valuable information with your online community and engage in discussion. Respond as soon as possible to all reviews and feedback, regardless of if they are positive or negative. Your goal is not to resolve a customer service complaint on a public forum like Twitter or Facebook, but rather to demonstrate that you are listening and that you care; always respond with positivity and politeness. Many customers take to Twitter for fast responses to questions or complaints, so always keep an ear out for online activity such as this.
Second, offer something unique to convince customers to come to you rather than your competition. This can be a coupon, a contest, a particular brand “personality,” etc. Invite your fans to make and share their own content, perhaps through a photo contest or a trending hashtag. Your employees and loyal customer base are the best kinds of advertising you can have, so always utilize them.
There’s more to social media than quick copy-and-paste status updates. Use that valuable online real estate to effectively market your business, inform and assist your customers, and grow brand awareness. This is an important job that should not be left to the interns.
What are some social media myths you have heard? Let us know in the comments, or via our Facebook, Google+ or Twitter.
Are you looking to boost your online presence with internet marketing and take your social media marketing to the next level with experienced social media marketers? CyberMark International can help! Please call us at 623-889-3380 or fill out our contact form and we will get in touch with you as soon as possible.