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June 18, 2012

Social Media Marketing: Myths Busted!

If you have been online for a while now, or have been listening to the news, you have probably heard of Social Media Marketing and also have a pretty good idea that it is pretty important for your business in today's economy. However, you have probably also heard or believe one (or perhaps all!) of the following five myths:

Myth 1: Social media marketing is free.

True, you can create an account for free on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Pinterest and even Tumblr for free – but there are two concerns you must consider. First, don't believe the hype “if you build it, they will come…” That's great for the movies, but online it's digital business suicide – creating an account and then doing nothing with it will get you zero results. Second, you must consider the time-cost to properly setting each of these Social Media platforms up correctly, as well as following through with the necessary steps required to get the best possible results.

So what does Evanne Schmarder recommend?

A strong plan will include assigning responsibility, creating content, exploring productivity tools, monitoring your outreach, building relationships, putting in place and measuring key performance indicators, etc. Social media marketing must be nurtured, grown, picked, and pruned — shaped and reshaped to deliver the highest yield possible. That takes time, and time is money.

Myth 2: I'll get a neighborhood teenager to handle my social networking, they know the ‘net.

Okay, I admit it – teens today are very tech savvy, and many know much more than their parents and other business adults do about computers and the Internet. However, beyond having a teen show you the basics such as developing a good profile, how to search for your audience (referred to as friends or followers) and gaining knowledge of their recommended tips for an easier experience, you really must take the reigns in order to properly build your online brand and message. Remember: only you know your business truly, and when it comes to what Social Media messages are going out, you should ensure only the best is shared – hipster teens aren't all that interested in helping you build a solid business.

Myth 3: If I get involved in social media marketing the ‘haters' will hijack my marketing message.

My favorite quote regarding this topic is this, “Whether you have good, positive publicity or bod, negative publicity, at least you're popular!” Truth is it isn't the negative review or comment that you should worry about, but it is the way you respond to them that truly matters.

In fact, if you publically respond to the negative comments professionally, you have the chance to win the customer back, or at the very least, show that you are honest and open with your Social Fan-base.

So what is the reason these comments occur?

According to the 2011 Harris Interactive/Right Now Customer Experience Impact Report, the way you handle complaints can determine your customer's satisfaction. In fact, 26 percent of dissatisfied customers that do not give you the opportunity to right a situation in person share their view of the experience on a social media network.

Myth 4: I built a Facebook page therefore I'm a social media marketer.

As big as Facebook is, it isn't the one-and-only Social Media platform you should be focusing on! Doing your research and finding the Social Media outlets that your customers are using to congregate is the best way to obtain the optimum social value. But you must consider this:

Social media marketing — on Facebook and elsewhere — is not a ‘set it and forget it' tool. It takes commitment, tenacity, time, and strategy to identify the best platforms for your business, consistently engage your target market, and develop business-driving relationships.

Myth 5: Using ‘friend-farms' to buy ‘likes' and ‘followers' will build my business.

Here is the honest truth: Yes, you will pump up your social media numbers, and it may look very impressive – but it doesn't convert into sales! Why?

It's the same as sending a promotional email to an unqualified list. It's dead on arrival, no matter how many addresses you send it to. You'd be much better served building your following by sharing relevant content, interesting news, and an occasional marketing message.

In order to read more of Evanne's answers, please visit her blog entry.

So let's review:

  • Social media sites are free to join, but your time investment must be considered.
  • Teenagers are great for helping you learn the basics of Social media websites but they shouldn't become your online business consultant unless they have the proper experience.
  • Haters and angry customers do exist, but instead of worrying when and if you will get a negative post, focus on how you will respond in order to win this customer back.
  • Knowing how to build a Facebook Fanpage is great, but it isn't enough to merely build it – you must ensure you are going where your customers go to socialize online.
  • Friend-farms are not the best business investment – unless you want to inflate both your numbers and your ego.

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