Just about every business has jumped on the social media marketing campaign. Social platforms are showing major results for small businesses and large corporations alike.
But there is still a lot of uncertainty floating around about social media marketing. What works and what doesn’t? How do you track metrics and ROI? What do changes in algorithms look like?
Most importantly, what does the future of social media look like?
There are a lot of questions—and even more false info flying around. So we’re here to debunk the 9 most common myths about social media, so you can know the truth about your marketing strategies moving forward.
1. Your target audience is on social media.
By now, most people use some form of social media. There are about 3.196 billion global social media users, which is about 42% of the world’s population. But your customers might not be on the social media platforms that you’re used to.
For example, it’s easy to say, “young people are on Instagram and older generations are on Facebook.” While this is true in part, it’s not true for all customer segments.
Let’s say you have a political T-shirt company. Gen Zers might primarily use Instagram, but they might prefer to use Facebook for politics. That means Facebook might be where your relevant audience is hanging out when they’re engaging in your industry.
Busted: Don’t make assumptions about your audience’s social media usage. Gather focus group and survey data to see exactly where your audience is spending time online and how they interact with their social platforms.
2. Social media is free.
It’s “mostly” free to be a user on social media. People create a profile, follow their friends, and start scrolling. But even users are, in essence, selling their information to social media sites and advertisers in exchange for their use of the platform. Although there’s no money exchange, social media is not completely without cost even for users.
And for businesses, it’s a whole other ball game. Not only do you have to pay for sponsored ads if you choose, but you also have to pay for the social media campaign coordination itself. This takes time, energy, and resources. You have to pay for labor to run the social and respond to comments, and you have to pay for content creation like blogs or photos or video.
Busted: Your social campaign will quickly fail if you assume it won’t cost any money. Instead, account for social and content in your marketing expenses. Leave room in your budget for labor (especially for social engagement), content creation, and sponsored posts. If you plan for social in the budget, you plan to win.
3. An intern can run social media.
You want a social campaign but you don’t want to spend the time or money on it - so you have the intern do it. They’re young; they “get” it.
But even if your intern knows more about social media than you do, you shouldn’t hand over the fate of your brand to a new, short-term employee.
Your business’s social media presence can make or break your brand image. The tone you set online becomes the basis of your brand’s personality. You want to ensure that the person who is running your social media strategy embodies your brand, so you can truly show off your brand voice. You also don’t want them to inadvertently say anything online that is misleading (which can lead to a lot of trouble with potential lawsuits).
Busted: You want someone skilled on your marketing team who strategizes the social campaign. You can delegate the operation of that strategy to an intern to fully utilize your resources and gain fresh ideas.
4. Social isn’t measurable.
A lot of marketers and business owners dislike social media because it’s more challenging to track your return on investment.
This myth isn’t totally unfounded. Because of the “fast” action of social media, it can be hard to track how many times customers are engaging with your post before making a purchasing decision.
But that doesn’t mean that social media metrics aren’t measurable. You just have to know how to track them in accordance with your strategic goals.
Busted: Set specific objectives for your social campaign, then find metrics to meet these objectives. For example, if you want to track impressions, look at “engaged followers” (those who follow you and like the majority of your posts). Check out Hootsuite’s in-depth guide for tracking social media metrics.
Note: Social media promotes word of mouth marketing, which is one of the key drivers of business today.
5. Social media generates leads.
Most of your impressions on social media are consumers just passing by. It can actually be challenging to get lasting impressions from social media. Most visitors are going to stop by for a quick look before leaving again. Even your “followers” might not be actively engaged with your brand.
This doesn’t mean you can’t use the high volume of social impressions to create customers. This just means you can’t assume it’s automatic; you need to focus on a strong strategy to capture visitors. A great way to do this is with lead generation, like linking your social media to a landing page that grabs your customer’s email info.
Busted: Social media alone doesn’t create leads. It creates impressions, and your brand voice is what turns that impression into a lead. Create stunning, engaging content that is relevant to your product or service in order to boost your conversion rate.
6. You don’t need to interact on social media.
A lot of business owners think responding to comments seems too personal. A common excuse: “But we’re too busy making awesome products to respond to comments on social media.”
But your audience wants engagement. They’re commenting because they want to be part of the conversation. If you ignore them, they’ll disengage and start to pull away from your brand. If you respond to their comments, you’ll make them feel special and cared about.
In fact, this kind of engagement with your customers is the best way to create lasting impressions and potential customers.
If someone leaves negative feedback, that’s a great opportunity for you to respond in a way that’s aligned with your brand mission. Don’t get defensive. Offer solutions to solve their concerns. This shows that customer—and others—that you are a service-centric business. Turning a negative into a positive is the most effective way to generate lasting clientele.
Busted: Responding to comments, both positive and negative, shows that you care about your followers. This engagement adds more touchpoints with your prospects and engenders longer-term relationships.
7. Social media is a standalone campaign.
While some business owners are hesitant to start a social campaign, others think it’s the best and only marketing campaign that works today. Both extremes are too extreme.
Social media alone isn’t enough. As discussed in number 5, social media won’t create leads—it creates impressions. So you need to have backup marketing methods that help support your social campaign.
Busted: Social media alone isn’t enough—but it can also be the strongest backing for your other marketing strategies. Look at your marketing calendar from a holistic viewpoint to make sure that each of your promotions is feeding on each other.
8. Social media doesn’t work for B2B.
“Social media only works if you’re selling direct to consumer.” But just about everyone is using social media now—and your business clients are on there too.
For example, you’re an accounting consultant for a business that sells swimsuits. That swimsuit business is using social media to gain visibility with their customers. That means that your client is already on social media to sell to their own consumers—so you already know that that’s where they’re spending a lot of their time.
You can then be one of the only accountants reaching out to them where they are already hanging out. This creates a more personalized form of networking for B2B businesses.
Busted: Every B2B customer is also a B2C customer. Social media is a great way to build relationships with businesses as well as direct consumers.
9. Social media doesn’t work.
Social media marketing definitely won’t work if you don’t use it! But for those businesses that focus their efforts on it and pair it with other marketing strategies, social media has proven to be a major success.
Benefits of social media marketing include:
- Visibility: on Facebook alone, there are over 1.37 billion active users, and 200 million users visit at least one business profile page per day
- Social proof: 71% of consumers who have a good social experience with a brand are likely to recommend it to others
- Sales: 77% of Millennials make a purchase after viewing something on Facebook
- Impressions: 59% of global consumers use social media as an inspiration for purchases
- Data: marketers are using social to find out more about their target audience
- Advertising: targeted paid advertising is proving more fruitful than “haphazard” ads
Social media may not be the highest sales converter, but its marketing advantages can’t be ignored. Adding social to your promotion strategy is a must in today’s network-driven world.
Are you using social media in your marketing campaigns?
If you’re not, it’s time to start.