Social media continues to grow and can no longer be ignored by businesses. It is a valuable tool in your marketing kit bag and should be used where appropriate. It can allow you to target marketing efforts effectively and build a loyal following for your brand or product. It’s therefore important to understand what’s real and what’s myth in the world of social media for business.
Business owners therefore, need to educate themselves about the myths and realities of using social media for business.
The following 5 points will help you improve your social media marketing efforts while helping you avoid some of the pitfalls and mistaken beliefs.
1. Social Media is only for the youngsters
A large portion of social media users are of the younger generation and it’s true to say that teenagers and young adults probably were the driving force behind the speed of the uptake of social media. But, do not make the mistake of thinking that it’s only young people that use social media effectively.
At the end of last year research revealed that the fastest growing demographic for Twitter use was the 55 – 64 year age group. Research carried out by Pew Research also revealed that of those polled 65% of people in the same age demographic generally use social networking sites. If you want to push that age demographic up, even though the statistic drops a little to 46%, that’s still almost half of those polled. Whilst these figures relate to an American survey, the trends generally travel across the water to us in the UK.
Don’t ignore social media as a way of connecting with your older customers, you could exclude a large portion of your market.
2. Social Media is only useful if your posts go viral
We’ve all seen posts or videos that ‘go viral’ and get millions of views or shares, but the reality is that compared to the number of posts out there, very few go viral. Does that mean that your post won’t go viral? Who knows? It may. But don’t hang your hopes on it and definitely do not use it as a measure of success.
Social media is about building relationships with your customers and followers. If your material is relevant and useful to your followers, they are more likely to keep coming back for more. It will take time, but they can help create a loyal band of followers who not only share your material and spread the word about your product or brand, but can also have a positive impact on buying decisions.
3. More posts equals more chance of success
People who use social networks are generally connected to a few hundred people and receive many posts and updates each day. If you post too often, your posts can just disappear into the background. Some social networks will even penalise you for posting too often, identifying you as a potential spammer. You will need to take time to test how frequently posts need to be made but in general, one or two a day should be sufficient.
Make sure that your content is useful, informative and interesting, it will give your followers a reason to look out for your posts. Make sure when you post you make it appealing, use pictures, video, relevant links to create interest and make sure it’s easy to share.
4. Social media is only any good for big companies with a big following
Social media levels the playing field. Using social media to announce product releases, loyalty schemes and even customer service means you can get your messages out there in the same way and just as quickly as the bigger companies. Don’t forget social media is all about engagement, you need to post relevant quality content about your products, business or industry as well as the odd promotional post. You can even put out last minute offers if appropriate for your business.
5. Advertising on social media won’t bring customers
If your target audience is using social media then using their advertising platforms could bring returns. The key is to identify which social media your target audience uses and start small. Run an ad for a set budget and a set length of time. Measure the results and if it’s working, do more of it. If it’s not, then don’t be afraid to change your strategy or stop. If your audience is engaged, they may respond to an ad and may even share the experience with their contacts.
To use a running analogy social media for business is a marathon, not a sprint. It does take time and effort and cannot be done in isolation, but it can bring returns and be well worth the effort.
You may find this short video useful: 5 Essential Steps for Making Social Media Work for Your Business
If you want help drawing up a social media strategy for your business, get in touch.
Can you think of any more common myths about social media for business? Add them below.