The time has come to free the world of these common social media myths and misconceptions and start increasing brand loyalty and improving the return on your marketing spend...
Social media is a great way to promote your brand.
Well it is - but self-promotion is only a small part of what social media is all about. Did you know that only 20% of your content should be about your brand? 30% should be made up of creative content like ‘how-to guides’, videos, infographics and at least half should be shared news and topics that are trending within your industry. And just sticking the content up there won’t do either. You need to provoke and maintain conversation - that’s actually the whole point of social media. Emphasis on the word SOCIAL, people.
Success means more followers.
No. You need the right followers and they need to be engaged in your dialogue and compelled by your content. For example, there is zero point in having loads of Twitter followers if the majority of them aren’t actually interested in your brand and are ignoring your posts. That’s why your engagement rates are actually more important than likes because they are representative of 1) how many people are interacting with you and therefore connecting with you in a memorable way and 2) sharing your content and therefore recommending it to others.
The more platforms you’re on, the better.
You might be reaching a bigger audience but how much of that audience is actually going to buy your product or service? Social media is time consuming so waste not, want not. Pick the networks that will reach your customers (or your customers’ customers if you want to drive demand back up) and use them well. And that means content that is suitable for that specific social media account – not the same content pushed out across all.
You can never have too much content.
Yes you can - just as you can have too little. Too much will irritate your followers and this can do a lot of harm; too little and your followers will forget you’re there and who you are. The specific amount of content you need is a strategic decision based on what is right for your brand, your customers and the platforms you are using.
Social media opens up a channel for negative feedback.
Do you honestly believe that if you’re not present on a social media website, no one will be posting about you? This is especially not the case if a customer has had a bad experience, when they are more likely to say something than if they have had a good one. But if you’re present and visible, you can turn it into both a positive learning experience and a means through which to listen and respond to your customer, potentially safeguarding their brand loyalty.
Social media is free.
Not exactly. It is without a doubt one of the most cost efficient marketing tools available but if you’re going to be smart about it, you need to be prepared to invest. The internet is a huge place with 3.4 billion people milling around; with a clever social media advertising strategy you can put your brand and content directly in front of those that are going to be interested in your product and service. What’s more, targeted advertising costs very little in traditional ad spend terms and the return is both quantifiable and significant.
Anyone can ‘do’ social media
I’ve left this until last because it’s my biggest bug bear. The following is based loosely on conversations I have on a weekly basis:
Me: Here’s a social media proposal complete with rationale and costs.
Client: Well it’s a no brainer, but can we not just do it in-house?
Me: You could but it’s a time consuming job if you’re going to get it right and what I’m proposing is derivative of a whole team of people from senior strategists, experienced account managers, technology whizz kids and talented copywriters.
Client: I’m sure we can manage it ourselves. Our <insert random job role> is personally on Facebook AND Twitter so they should be fine.
<a few weeks later>
Client: Lisa, it’s not working for some reason, we’re just not getting the traction we hoped.
Me: How strange. Would you like to revisit the original proposal we did for you?
Client: Yes please.
I’m being facetious but this type of response is all too familiar. The fact is that not everyone can do social media; it’s a big job, it’s technological, it requires compelling content and it should be strategic.
And not only should it be part of your wider marketing strategy but it should also be aligned with your customer service offer and HR / recruitment requirements. It can even feed into your overall business plan - a company with a successful social media presence is surely a more desirable acquisition than one without, yes?
I could elaborate further but that’s another blog post entirely. Just remember, that whilst social media networks will come and go, interactive marketing is here to stay and you need to take advantage of it.
Coming soon: Reasons why not everyone can ‘do’ social media...