8 Social Media Marketing Myths17.02.2020
How confident are you that your social media marketing is bringing in real results? Is it as effective as it can be? Are you even using social media as part of your strategy yet – or are you a bit nervous to try? Too short of time – or worried it’ll spiral out of control?
More than 4 in 5 small businesses are using social media as part of their marketing strategy – however, not everyone’s using it confidently, or in the most efficient way.
When done well, social media can be a hugely powerful way of developing relationships, building brand trust and reaching new audiences – if you’re not convinced, have a look at just 9 of the benefits it can bring your business.
But there’s plenty of myths around what social media marketing involves, or whether your business should even be on social media in the first place.
So we’ve set out to debunk a few of them…
1. “I need to be on every social platform to reach my audience”
Whether it’s from your own ideas or those of an over-enthusiastic digital evangelist, many people think their business needs to be on every single social channel and jump on the bandwagon of the latest ‘new thing’ in order to keep up with their audiences.
Reality: Not true. Every social network tends to have at least a slightly different demographic, audience and use. If you try to jump on every channel, you’ll burn yourself out and not be able to provide the same quality to your audience. Yes, there’s new and exciting channels gaining in popularity (like TikTok, which made big waves in 2019), but there’s plenty of longer-term channels which still have a huge active user base.
What you should do instead: Having a strong presence on social media is time consuming. Think realistically about the time and/or staff resources you can invest into your social media marketing (or whether you need some external support) and decide on a sensible number of platforms to target. If you’re starting out, this might be anything from one to three. Less is more – it gives you chance to do it well. Then, think about what your goals and target audience are, and decide which platforms best meet your needs.
2. Having a social media presence will give people chance to complain
Occasionally, companies avoid social altogether based on the premise that having a social media profile gives unhappy customers a space to complain.
Reality: If people are going to complain, they’ll be doing in anyway, whether you’re there or not! We’d all love to live in a world where every customer is satisfied, but despite everyone’s best efforts there are often hiccups and lessons to be learnt along the way. Rather than be completely unaware of complaints stacking up on Twitter, wouldn’t it be better to be available to respond?
What you should do instead: Don’t shy away from social media based on this fear. Social channels can be a great place to get customer feedback and give you the opportunity to quickly see and respond to negative feedback – in many cases there’s also the chance to help put things right. Social listening tools, Google Alerts and review sites help you stay aware of what’s being said about your brand online so that you can respond to comments promptly – both positive and negative.
3. My social channel is just for advertising my products and services
Often one for those newer to social media marketing, some business owners approach social media with the concept that their profile is just a place to shout about how great their business is, whilst the customers and sales come rolling in.
Reality: Think about it. Wouldn’t you get fed up if your social feed was just full of sales pitches? Well, your customers do too. Using your social channel exclusively as a place to try and sell is really off putting and can make it difficult to build or engage your audience.
What you should do instead: As part of your content strategy, include a content plan of the types of posts (eg. Polls, questions, videos) as well as sorts of content you’d like to include in your social media updates. It’s okay to try and sell your products and services – let’s face it, that’s the end goal for most brands on social media – but it’s not okay to do it all the time. Instead, look at what other content would be appropriate for your target audience. It might be helpful videos or blog posts, relevant content from other people, memes or infographics. Make sure to come up with a balance of how many of these posts you’re going to provide in relation to direct sales posts – 80/20 is an often-used guide and works well.
4. I should only post my own content on my social channels
Whether it’s a concern of losing your ‘voice’, or a fear that posting other people’s content will lose you customers, some people think their social profiles should be filled entirely with their own creations.
Reality: Broadening the range of content you share to include some from other people can expand your reach and provide more value to your audience. Rather than just being a soapbox to promote your own brand, your social channel becomes more of an industry resource – where people can come for relevant news and interesting blogs or videos from other contributors too.
What you should do instead: Keep an eye out for content your audience will find interesting, useful or entertaining, and share it with them. There’s plenty of ways to find this content – whether it’s resharing posts directly from others in your industry or setting up a Google Alerts or Feedly account to send you links targeted at specific keywords. Make sure you credit which account or website created the content if it’s not clear to readers.
5. Social media marketing takes too much time
As a small business owner, you’re likely already spinning many plates to get everything done. Most small businesses don’t have an in-house marketer (let alone a specialist social media marketer) and starting social media marketing can feel like adding yet another job to the pile.
Reality: It’s true that social media marketing can be very time intensive. But there are ways of making it more efficient so that you can get the benefits without it taking over your day-to-day life.
What you should do instead: Be realistic about how much time or resources you have and what you want to get out of social media marketing – then be sure to design your social marketing strategy around this.
There are options which can make social media marketing more efficient. Scheduling the bulk of your posts allows you to work in batches, whilst still leaving you free to post in real time if you want to. Facebook has an inbuilt post scheduler – or if you’re running several channels, there are tools such as Hootsuite and Buffer which can help you schedule everything from one place. These two services have free plans which might be enough if your social media isn’t too intensive, or a variety of paid plans for heavier use. Just don’t forget to keep an eye out for comments you should be replying to when you’re scheduling posts.
If it’s still too much work, there are plenty of digital marketing services where you can outsource your social media marketing – leaving you free to focus on your business.
6. My follower count shows how successful I am
Whether it’s likes, shares or followers, there’s something really satisfying about seeing those numbers mount up on your profile. But does your follower count directly relate to your success?
Reality: Admittedly, if you’ve only got 20 followers after a decent amount of time building up your profile, then something’s not quite right. But a high follower count isn’t a direct signal of success. It all depends on what your goals are for social media. You might find that engagement rate, clicks through on certain links to your blog or the number of impressions are a more important measurement of success for your business.
What to do instead: Again, this one goes back to your strategy. When you set your goals, part of the process is deciding how to measure your progress towards them. Decide on what numbers you need to be tracking to measure how well your strategy’s going, and don’t get too caught up in metrics that you’ve decided aren’t as important.
7. I’ll have to pay for anyone to see my content
Ah, the dreaded algorithms again.
Reality: Paid ads are definitely a thing on social media, and can help you increase your reach for certain campaigns or when you’re starting out. There are plenty of brands finding it more challenging to reach as many people organically, but it’s definitely not impossible to do. A lot of this comes down to how relevant or useful your content is for your audience. If you can get people clicking through, liking, sharing and engaging with your content, then this will increase your reach – and this is still very possible to do, despite the doom you might hear.
What you should do instead: Make sure everything you’re posting is targeted at the audience you want to attract. Make note of which posts are performing better than others, and see if you can replicate that in the future. Try to use a range of post types to engage your audience – you might find that this helps keep people more interested and engaged. Equally, paid social media ads have a part to play, so consider whether and when you’d like to use these to reach your goals.
8. Plan? Who needs a plan?
Reality: If you can achieve success by randomly chucking posts up on your profile, then well done you! For most of us though, success doesn’t come quite so easily. Results take consistency and time, as well as measuring and reacting to how well your posts are performing.
What to do next: Make a cup of tea, sit down and make yourself a plan of action. Include what your social media goals are, your target audience, how you’re going to measure your progress, whether you want to use paid ads and what kind of content you want to be posting. Get yourself set up with a scheduling tool if it’ll help keep you on track. Alternatively, give us a call and we can help you develop a solid social media plan tied into your business goals, as well as helping to get you set up.