Since the initial public offering of Facebook in 2012 and Twitter shortly thereafter, social media has become a basic necessity for many businesses. Users not only want to see that a business has a website, but they also want to see that it is alive and active on social media. In a recent survey, 59% of social media users say seeing a business on social media makes the brand appear more “accessible and responsive.” Additionally, 64% of social media users want to see companies use social media for customer service.
So yeah, we get it. Businesses, especially B2C brands, need to be social — that part is clear. Things get fuzzy, however, when it comes to executing a social media plan. This takes time, strategy, creativity, and flexibility, and a willingness to consider many questions:
Who should run a business’s social media channels? How should a brand interact with its customers? What platforms need to be utilized?
With so many questions and variables to take into consideration, it’s easy to fall prey to some of the myths and misconceptions that concern social media. Here are the top five myths about social media for business — and some tips to help you execute a successful social media plan:
Myth 1: If a business is on social media, it has to have a profile on every channel.
Just because a channel exists doesn’t mean that a business has to be on it. Before deciding what social media channels to use for your brand, consider your target audience: how would your target audience interact with Facebook? Twitter? LinkedIn? Pinterest? Tumblr? Maybe there are some they wouldn’t interact with. For example, a LinkedIn account would make a lot of sense for a financial investment company, but not for a local cookie shop.
Ask yourself: Why this social channel? What is the benefit? How can I reach the right audience there?
Myth 2: It’s OK to post and walk away.
The point of social media is to engage and interact with customers while building community. A megaphone approach will not work here. If you want your business to be successful, you need to start having real conversations on your social channels. Stop worrying about mass marketing. Instead, start narrowcasting by sharing quality content and having conversations with your loyal fans. In time, conversation will result in sales. That’s what the influencer economy is all about. It takes more time and effort but can be well worth it.
Myth 3: It’s free.
With so many stories cluttering our newsfeeds every minute of every hour, social media is a pay-to-play market more than ever before.
According to Sprinklr,“The average user is potentially exposed to 1,500 stories every time they log onto Facebook. Super social users are exposed to 15,000 stories. All of these stories compete against one another for users’ newsfeeds and attention spans. Rather than exposing users to every update, Facebook’s new algorithm filters news feeds using 100,000 different factors to decide which posts will get prime real estate on timelines and which ones will fade into the background. Consider it Darwinism in the social age.”
This is survival of the fittest, and if you want your business to get in front of people, you have to have some skin in the game. Also remember: the time put into executing a social media plan can be very costly for entrepreneurs and small businesses. That’s one of the reasons why hiring an expert can help. But more on that later.
Myth 4: Social media cannot be measured for ROI.
Similar to pay-per-click (PPC), email marketing and e-commerce campaign analytics, you can track social media posts, new leads, conversions, website clicks, campaign performances, etc. Many platforms exist to help businesses measure the results of their social media plan. As mentioned before, growing and nurturing a social media audience takes strategy, creativity, and flexibility, and the same goes for showing ROI.
Myth 5: Anybody can successfully manage a social media platform.
Everyone is on social media. Even dogs have profiles pages these days. But that doesn’t mean that everyone is good at it, or that anyone is capable of managing your business’s social media content calendars and advertising budgets. After all, the last thing you want is a PR disaster or inefficient micromanaging.
Whether you hire a social media professional or work with an agency that specializes in social media marketing, you want to make sure you have a top-notch partner to rely on.