- Social media is pointless when search engines exist.
It’s true, being searchable is important, and major search engines can help the business owner if they have the right keywords in place, and if people are searching for those words. However, due to fierce competition from big businesses and brands with huge budgets for marketing, as well as constantly changing search algorithms, it’s much more difficult for smaller businesses to thrive online by solely relying on search engines such as Google.
Social media channels are thriving communities of dedicated audiences, which makes finding the right audience quicker and easier than waiting for hits from search engines.
2. Social media is only good for discovering new businesses.
Inspiring and often viral, stories of small businesses being “discovered” via social media and then blowing up overnight are pretty common nowadays. Although “cool”, these rare examples are just the tip of the iceberg. Social media has so much more to offer businesses of all sizes, new and old. Social media is a powerful tool that can be leveraged for customer relations and service, traffic-building, creating sales, crowd-sourcing new ideas, identifying brand ambassadors and influencers, and developing business information.
3. Social media is just for younger generations. My customers are older.
It’s 2018, and we are firmly in the digital age. People of every age, and every generation use social media. Facebook has 1.23 billion daily active users around the world, a staggering number in a word of 7 billion. 64% of the population over the age of 12 uses Facebook, making the benefits of establishing a profile pretty clear. Everyone is online, and your business should be too.
4. There’s no need for social media in my industry.
Although it may be tempting to think this, social media has a place in any industry, even traditional industries like law or medicine. Social media provides an opportunity for you to present your business as a thought leader by delivering quality reflective commentary on current industry news. Doing so demonstrates to your customers your brand’s expertise and knowledge about your products and industry. With billions of daily active users across the web, social media provides opportunities to capture the interest of prospects with quality content and turn them into qualified leads.
5. I can’t measure my return on social media investment.
One of the greatest advantages social media provides is analytics. Because you can track everything, from demographics to number of clicks, you can leverage the data you gather from social media to make powerful changes in your business. Most social media platforms offer in-platform analytics, and there are also specific software programs, like TweetDeck, Hootsuite, and Buffer, that allow users to schedule posts and gather aggregate data across all of their social media channels. Website analytics can also provide valuable data about which channels are referring the most traffic to your site and Google Analytics with the right dashboards and a program called Cyfe is good for this too.
6. All social media platforms are the same.
Each social media platform — and there are many — has a specific targeted audience, and a specific type of preferred content. B2B companies, for instance, find much greater success on LinkedIn than on Snapchat or Facebook for example. Similarly, creative companies thrive on visual engagement platforms like Instagram and YouTube. If you want to target general consumers — Facebook and Twitter are amazing for this. Keep your audience, and your business in mind, when choosing a social media platform.
7. I need to be on every social media channel, or it isn’t worth it.
Time and money are precious resources for any business. Social media is a strategic endeavor with measurable results, and the “spaghetti strategy” will waste both time and money. Pick your social media channels with care, considering both your content, and your desired audience. Start with just one or two, and focus on making your presence professional, polished, and attractive. More networks can always be added later on down the line, but it’s much better to consistently post on one social media network than to have five profiles sitting inactive. There is an app called Buffer that makes it incredibly easy to schedule posts to ‘all’ of your social networks from one location. You create the posts and tell Buffer when to post them and to which social networks you want them to be posted to. So, no worries if you are interested in hitting all of the social channels. Buffer can save you here and its only like $10 a month.
8. More followers are always better.
“More followers means more business.” Right? Wrong.
Chances are you’ve seen some ads across the web, promising 30,000 Twitter or Instagram followers for just $10. Don’t fall prey to these traps for the uneducated! Social media users are usually tech savvy, and they can tell when the engagement for a page doesn’t match its magical “followers” number. If you have tens of thousands of followers, but no comments on your posts, not only will you have gained nothing in terms of engagement, but you’ll also be labeled a fake, and you’ll damage public trust in your business. Don’t be afraid to start with a small following, as long as its genuine and engaging.
9. Post the same content often for better results.
Redundant posts, particularly on social media channels, can often do more harm than good. Constantly reposting the same thing makes a business appear robotic, out-of-touch, and lazy. Plus, the posts will only irritate followers, especially if they’re outdated or irrelevant (expired promos, old products, etc.) making them more likely to unfollow you.
10. It doesn’t matter what I post, as long as I post often.
Think about the time you spend on social media. Do you enjoy following brands that constantly post boring, mindless fluff? Do you ever click on the blog posts of a brand that posts multiple times a day about stuff you don’t care about? Customers are looking for quality, not quantity. Showing up in their news feed often is important, but capturing their attention when you do appear is critical. Create content you yourself would want to see, don’t just post for the sake of posting. Irrelevant content will fall flat and alienate your audience, while quality content will increase engagement. You can get some great ideas just by talking to people. Find out what drives them — pushes them… If you do enough digging, you will never run out of interesting things to post about that will garner the attention you are looking to get.
11. Keep those blog posts short.
Originally, it was thought that blog posts should be 300 words or less, because marketing strategists theorized that audiences wouldn’t have the attention spans necessary to read any more than that. As it turns out, it’s been proven that longer, more in-depth articles with more information perform far better than short articles. Provide your readers with quality content that is actually useful to them. Not only will your readers benefit, but it’s been proven that more informative posts have a higher probability of being shared through social media, and longer posts also perform better in search engine results.
12. Negative comments are bad for business.
Many business owners are often hesitant to join social media because they fear negative comments from people being published online. However, it’s important to remember that you can’t please everyone, and some dissatisfaction is inevitable, online or off. If you provide a quality product or service, and stand by your work, you have nothing to fear by opening the floor to the public. People will always have opinions, and both positive and negative comments provide opportunities for learning and growth. Furthermore, encouraging discussion on your page encourages clients to stay longer, increasing both interaction and profits. Also, let’s say you do get a negative post… So what! You can actually take advantage of this and fine tune your work, your product, or whatever it is you had some negativity on. Once you make a change, let the world know (and let that person or persons know). You will likely get them in your corner. Taking feedback and using that feedback to evolve is crucial in your success. Don’t be afraid of negative feedback. It’s a good thing if you know what to do with it.
13. Never share your competitors’ content.
Although it may seem counter-intuitive at first, there is nothing wrong with sharing content from your competitors to your own customers. If you give your audience quality information they can use, they will be appreciative, regardless of the source. They will also respect that you have the integrity to acknowledge good information, no matter where it came from. It’s also likely that your competitor will share your content to their own audience, as both of you are considered experts in your industry. This goes without saying but don’t ‘sell’ your competitors offerings either. Sell your own — just don’t hold yourself back from acknowledging solid content (especially if you think you can turn it into something that pushes your ‘own’ services or product).
14. Social media marketing is a 9 to 5.
Many people assume that social media marketing is a regular office job: 40 hours a week, 8 hours a day, weekends off. This, however, is not the case. The hallmark of the internet is its constant availability, 24/7/365. The right marketing tools will take advantage of this and offer solutions for responsive, timely, and advanced marketing campaigns. By setting these up ahead of time, your potential customers will get the prompt response that makes a difference. You can effectively streamline nearly everything with the know-how and willingness to prepare in advance.
Ilze A. Puķīte || Contributing Author