Marketing twenty years ago was rather rudimentary: design-catchy billboards, mail-out flyers to millions, and of course, television advertising.
Consumers have now moved into the digital space, yet they still crave the attention of corporations they admire. Unfortunately, many brands are still getting stuck on social media, failing to effectively utilize this channel.
Scott Langdon of HigherVisibility chimed in with an interesting angle on why businesses may struggle socially:
I have found that a lot of our clients are struggling with social media because they’re following a rule or an idea that is completely untrue, but I always tell them that it isn’t their fault. Social media is constantly changing, so myths are constantly spreading. It’s important to go through some of these myths and figure out where you’re following the wrong path. It’s hard to let go of a strategy that you thought was working for you, but I promise that if you do, you will see a world of difference in your social results.
It is my aim in this column to debunk several widely-spread myths about social media marketing. Hopefully, this will allow you to reexamine and improve your social strategy!
Myth #1: Consumers Aren’t Reading Your Social Posts
Contrary to popular arguments, not only does your social content get read, it also has the ability to influence purchasing decisions. In fact, HubSpot concluded that in 2011, “67 percent of B2C companies and 41 percent of B2B companies have acquired a customer through Facebook.”
However, it’s important to remember that your reach on Facebook is determined by a number of factors, one of which is fan engagement with your content.
Text-only status updates tend to perform poorly compared to images and links; so, make sure to consider that when creating your social strategy. Well-respected corporations like Proctor & Gamble offer contests and engaging photography, send out coupons weekly and anoint very specific employees to be their brand ambassadors.
Remember, though, Facebook isn’t the end-all-be-all of social networks. No matter what the social network, any text, video, image, contest or coupon you publish will get read by consumers.
Myth #2: Too Much Content Will Reveal Trade Secrets To Competitors
Having thirty pages of content doesn’t make you a bookbinder. Halting social content production because you fear unknown tangibles, such as one’s ability to impersonate your business model, will cause company-wide digression in social media goals.
Failing to leverage social media will reveal some weaknesses to your competitors, though — like your company’s inability to provide knowledge and remain current within your industry.
Myth #3: Social Media Cannot Heal Reputation Wounds
Ignoring website feedback could produce bad social karma. Receiving that indignant Ripoff Report can destroy your reputation in search results.
Professionals know how difficult it is to rebuild a tarnished reputation; avoid this nightmare by implementing an aggressive social media strategy from the very beginning.
Ensure that your social page administrators are empowered to mitigate each problem quickly, individually and thoroughly. As you develop a strong rapport with your customers via social channels, egregious racketeering sites like Ripoff Report will lose credibility.
Myth #4: Social Successes Should Be Gauged Solely By Social Interactions
The number of social interactions you get out of a campaign are a KPI, but ultimate success should be measured by sales opportunities or revenue. Interactions may enhance the likelihood of increasing sales opportunities; but, if you don’t close any of those leads, the campaign is a failure, regardless of how many interactions were generated. Marketing exists to drive sales.
Joseph Knoop, a Pinterest celebrity with over 3.8 million followers, is a living testimony that Pinterest isn’t just for creative types and stay-at-home moms, but for businesses, as well:
I have worked with Nordstrom, Deseret Digital Media, and some smaller clients as well. My usefulness to these brands is based solely on the fact that the things I pin get repinned and liked a lot, which drives interested buyers to the client’s site to spend money.
Myth #5: Social Media Marketing Costs Nothing
Though major social platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube are all free to use, hidden costs always exist when implementing a social media marketing campaign. These costs might include spending hours developing a social strategy, creating content assets, posting updates, and responding to customers.
“We had so many people telling us that we should be blogging and posting to social media because it’s FREE,” says Jeff Williams, owner of CMI Promotions. “But an effective social media campaign is much more than one of us simply posting a random blog or FB post when we had time.”
To create an active and engaging social media promotion, you need someone who prioritizes and implements the plan, manages the messaging, and monitors the mediums for customer feedback. Mr. Williams “quickly learned that effective social media campaigns can get quite expensive.”
Additionally, paid social campaigns should not be discounted — these are very effective for increasing brand awareness and gaining new followers outside of your existing customer base.
You graduated from the boogeyman. Found out Kris Kringle was actually your stepdad. Set aside these social media marketing myths and concentrate on doing for your company what worked for you as a child: sharing, caring and harvesting great relationships that last beyond “the sale.”
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.