Anyone doing business today has tried to some extent to leverage social media to promote their company. There is a wealth of information out there on how to use it and even more so called “experts” telling you what you should and should not do. The one thing we can say without hesitation is that social media is definitely building someone’s business – your advertising agency that is encouraging you to do it.
Don’t get us wrong, social media can be a valuable investment for certain businesses and a strong tool to keep in touch with customers. But there are a lot of misconceptions about what helps the bottom line and what doesn’t. Here are a few that you have probably heard.
1) The more followers you have, the more successful you will be on the social network.
Believe it or not, your total number of followers really doesn’t matter at all. What matters is of your followers, how many are active and engaged? Almost all of the social networks have algorithms now to show who is paying attention and who isn’t and sites like Facebook have started manipulating the delivery of your messages so even though you are posting to your wall, what you post is only going to be seen by a small portion of your fans.
2) Adding social sharing to your site will get you more shares.
This really seemed like it made sense when it came out, but for the most part these buttons have been a bust. It’s not a highly used tool on websites in general, and even more so in certain industries where privacy is more important.
Think about it: if you are in the market for plastic surgery, are you really going to share the page you are looking at with your friends? Do you want them to know you are looking to have work done? Most would say no. Social sharing is mostly being used on the social networks themselves when people share funny or topical posts, not from websites.
That’s not to say social sharing buttons have no place on the web. There are still some sites and pages where they make sense, such as news sites and blogs. Another example would be prominent “Pin It” social share buttons linking to Pinterest on very image-oriented product and ecommerce sites. But overall, think hard before you just add a set of social share buttons to your site.
3) Everyone should be using social media to build their business.
Not so fast. If I am brain surgeon, the likelihood of me building my business on Facebook is pretty slim. If your clients are mainly private firms or the government, social media is not likely your place. If you build your business through the web and the general public, then social media may benefit you.
4) You have to participate every day.
This really depends. If you have great information to share (and your fans are the ones deciding on that definition of great) then it might help to share every day. Most businesses are fine sharing a couple times a week. It all comes down to the quality of the content – let what you have to say dictate how often you post.
Telling all your fans to have a Happy Holiday is probably not a very important message, and you’re likely to get drowned out with everyone else on the planet doing the same. But if you have an educational or entertaining (or better yet, both) way of talking about your business, then it’s time to jump on your social channels and get the word out.
One thing you do need to pay attention to is feedback. Whether it is good or bad, you can’t let that go unnoticed and you need to respond quickly. Do your best to respond within just a few hours after any direct question, positive review, or negative comment. Your engagement speaks volumes.
5) Social Media Doesn’t Convert
This was actually hard to calculate early on, and it’s still not entirely straightforward to track every penny on social media. But you do have some options if you really want to focus on ROI. For instance, outlets like Facebook are pushing businesses to purchase ads and promote posts. Once you have your goal established, you can track the success of the actions you want to have people complete, whether it’s a social share, click through to your site, or even a purchase.
The reality is that social media isn’t going away and if anything, it will become an increasingly important tool for serving your customers, marketing effectively, and even demonstrating the relevance and popularity of your business to the search engines. Get a gameplan together and work with your vendor to put in place as many metrics as you can to gauge success.