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Top 5 Myths About Social Media for Business

Written by Renee C. Quinn
B.S. Pennsylvania State University
M.B.A. University of Phoenix
Posted: November 19, 2011 @ 1:15 pm
Connect: Twitter | LinkedIn | E-mail

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Social media is quickly become THE way to market your business. In the US, more than two thirds of all adults who are active online are also actively using social media today, However, there is still a whopping 57% of businesses who, for one reason or another do not understand the real impact that social media can have on their businesses. Gaining new and retaining old customers, sharing your products and services to a broader audience and giving your customers a voice, are just a few of the many benefits that using social media can bring to your business. There are many myths and misconceptions that keep business owners and marketers from reaping the benefits that social media. If you are one of these businesses, let me “set you free” to explore all that social media has to offer.

Top 5 Social Media Myths

1. Social Media is Only Useful if You Have Tangible Products to Sell

Social media is not used solely for selling products. In fact seldom are sales even made over social networking platforms. Rather, social media has become a way to grab people’s attention to want to learn more about you and what you have to offer.  It has also become one of the most powerful and valuable sources of acquiring real feedback from customers. Consumers may not necessarily come directly to you with a concern, a complaint or a compliment, but you can pretty much bet that many may very well talk about it on on-line. Stay active in searching for both negative and positive posts referring to your company, your name, your products, your services and the names of other major players in your company and be sure to respond as quickly and professionally as you can.



2. I Don’t Need Social Media, I Have My Traditional Advertising Campaign.

Traditional marketing alone just is not enough to sustain any business in today’s technologically savvy and highly competitive business world. With the inception and wide spread use of the Internet, people are searching online for products, services, business large and small, rather than pulling out the old trusty phonebook.  What’s a phonebook, right?

Even if you have had to cut your advertising budget or if (lucky you) your company is swamped with work at the moment and you think you do not need an advertising budget, you still need to add new, potential work in the queue to replace those lost through yearly attrition. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you want to expand your target reach beyond your own geographical area?
  • Do I want to drive more traffic to my company website?
  • Do I want to increase my Search Engine Ranking and searchability?
  • Do I want to make it easy for people to find me?
  • Do I want my potential clients to feel like they know me?
  • Do I want to generate new leads?
  • Do I want to give customers a venue where they can leave feedback, suggestions or ask questions when they need help?
  • Do you need to establish, build and grow your brand?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes, then yes, you DO need social media.

3. I’m Too Old for Social Media; Social Media Is All About “…Ville” Games and Mafia Wars

Yes it is true that he number one social networking site today is Facebook. And yes, it is true that Social Media was originally targeted toward college student.  And YES, it is also true that Facebook is the platform most often used by those who like to play “…ville” games and Mafia Wars.  But is also true that since the social media era began, Facebook and most other social networking sites have since used their own social media platforms to expand their reach to people of all ages. In fact, recent research shows that more than half of all Facebook users are above the age of 35, with more than 12.5% being persons over the age of 45.

In fact, age is not a bad thing in terms of effectiveness of social media. The saying “The older the wiser.” would certainly apply here.  Those who are older and wiser have more experience in life and in business with to share. And the entire point of social media is to share things that others will find interesting, educational and intriguing.

4. I’m Too Busy for Social Media

In the beginning, social media does require you invest more time to get this up off the ground. You need to choose the social media platform(s) you wish to use, then build and complete your profile(s), keeping you company brand and your own personal brands in mind. However, once you have gotten your profiles up off the ground, literally 15 minutes a day, every single day consistently will develop results.

There are many experts that would tell me that 15 minutes a day is crazy and will yield nothing. But I’m telling you, it works! One of my clients, Autrige Dennis, a patent illustrator, recently told me:

In a piece you wrote some time ago, you highlighted that spending just 15 minutes or so each day on social media is all a busy person needs. I have since implemented that strategy in my life and business… It’s yielding great results and has helped my business very much.

You can follow him on Twitter @PatentDrawings and view his profile on LinkedIn.



5. Social Media Is “So Easy even a Caveman Can Do It.” (Sorry Geico)

If social media is so easy, then why aren’t we all using it? Although most social media platforms are fairly easy to get started with, it does not take long before one can become lost on what to do next. Creating basic profiles and sharing information via social media is quite simple really. But learning what functions in each platform will benefit you and your business and leveraging the available tools in social media to market your business and build your brand is an entirely different ball game.

In today’s day and age, image is everything. When you make the commitment to get involved with social media, you have to keep in mind that your social media profiles are in place not just to market products and services but also to build your online reputation and credibility. You need to have someone capable of moving you in that direction. No one can be good at everything. While there are many people who demonstrate a knack for being friendly and sociable, being adept to all of the nuances of social media could be an entirely different story.

Conclusion

Social media is not a fad and it is not going away.  Each year fewer people shop in brick and mortar locations and are moving their shopping experiences online.  As you probably know, Borders just recently went out of business because of Amazon.  For this reason, more and more businesses are realizing the potential that social media has to offer.  Even if you do not have a tangible product to share, if you do not get online and interact with potential new clients, you will be missing out.  Social media done right keeps you in touch with old customers, current clients and gives prospective clients an opportunity to both find you and learn more about your business.

Social media doesn’t have to be difficult or confusing.  For those who know they want to get involved with social media but feel overwhelmed, it is a worthwhile commitment to hire someone like me who can help.  I also suggest that you consider reading some of our Social Media articles, particularly:

 

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Posted in: Business, IP News, IPWatchdog.com Articles, Renee Quinn, Social Media, Social Networking

About the Author

Renee C. Quinn acquired a Masters of Business Administration with her course work focusing on e-Commerce and e-Business, with an emphasis on marketing via the World Wide Web. Her particular career focus to date has been on business-to-business and business-to-consumer marketing. She writes on various business and social media topics for IPWatchdog.com. You can follow Renee on Twitter at IPWatchdog_Too. Renee is available to consult with individuals and businesses on how to set up and effectively use social media and social networking tools to establish a successful marketing campaign. You can contact Renee via e-mail.

18 comments
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  1. Nice article Renee! I didn’t realize the 57% figure, that’s surprisingly high. But I do come across these objections every day so maybe it’s not all that surprising when I stop to think about it.
    Kudos for finding and busting these 5 myths. Anyone in business refusing to get their toes in the social media water (for whatever reason) needs to read this article.

  2. Alan,

    Thank you for reading IPWatchdog and thank you for taking the time to comment. I appreciate your comment as well! Feel free to pass it on via twitter and LinkedIn. I hope this article does help those who have not gotten into social media yet as well as those who are just getting started. I am always happy to hear that people find value in what I write!

    Renee

  3. You said it right Renee! traditional marketing & advertising campaigns are not enough to support your business and to be visible online. Social Media is being tapped nowadays by business to gain more exposure. Feedback and word of mouth marketing spreads like wildfire in several social networking sites.

    You have a great post here! Cheers!

  4. Really a very nice post Renee. I have also recently realized the potential of social media and how it can sky rocket the production of local businesses. I have already started using social media marketing for my business and am very excited to see the results!

  5. Renee-
    I have been finding that the Linked In option is a great way to find others in similar fields of technology. Not so much with FB, which is mostly friends finding each other again. which is a very kewl thing! Linked in tends to be a bit more business oriented, which might be a very good idea for me to look into lately. Maybe a very good way to find businesses here in the US that might be able to help me get my *product* produced very efficiently. Everybody wins in that case dontcha think? They get busy, and earn lots of money, and I might even get some royalty payments coming in some day.

    Happy Holidays!
    Stan~

  6. Thanks for your very interesting article, It’s answered a few questions for my friends and I and pointed us to look at things from a different perspective.

    Keep up the good work.

    JJ

  7. @Stan Linkedin is great but you may want to check out BranchOut which is a Facebook app for business. It seems to be a great way of getting 2nd or 3rd level friend access to businesses. Also a good idea to have a Facebook business page.

    Alan

  8. Jay,

    Thank you so much for reading IPWatchdog and for taking the time to comment. Word of mouth marketing is more powerful than ever now because of social media. Negative comments can and do go viral in no time. BUT, so can positive comments and reviews. By getting involved in social media, businesses can help increase their brand awareness, while monitoring what others say about it.

    Again, thanks so much for your comment. Keep reading!

    -Renée

  9. Avishek,

    Thank you for reading IPWatchdog and taking the time to comment. I am so glad to see that you are using social media. When used in conjunction with traditional networking, you should start making really great connections in no time. I have a bunch of articles on social media on here that may help you as well, particularly my three part series on LinkedIn. http://ipwatchdog.com/tag/renee-quinn/

    Keep it and be sure to let me know how it works for you.

    -Renée

  10. Alan-
    Thanks for the tip, as I hadn’t heard of BranchOut before now. Perhaps a very valuable way to get past the receptionist, so to speak, in order to seek a licensing deal for a patent pending product I have developed. The really hard part of licensing inventions is simply getting a chance to talk to the real decision makers within any particular company.
    Cheers,
    Stan~

  11. @Stan – yes, that’s exactly what BranchOut’s all about. Enjoy :)

  12. JJ,

    Thank you so much for reading IPWatchdog and for taking the time to comment. I am glad to hear that my article answered your questions. You guys should also check out my FB page at Facebook.com/TheSocialMediaDiva. As I told Stand, I post a social media thought of the day most days and hopefully those tips will help you as well. And while there, I’d appreciate it if you guys would give me a “like.”

    Feel free to contact me any time if you have some basic questions.

    -Renée

  13. Alan,

    Thank you so much for reading IPWatchdog and for taking the time to comment. I too will have to check out the BranchOut app. I have not heard about that one yet.

    -Renée

  14. Another reason why they reluctant is due to reputation risk. Negative feedback from unhappy customers can have negative impact on their business.

  15. @ Azizul – that is true, but that negative conversation may be happening anyway. At least when a company is engaged in SM they have the opportunity to trean negative comment as feedback. Without their involvement the negative impact is much worse!

  16. […] Top 5 Myths About Social Media for Business […]

  17. Thanks Alan for answering Azizul’s comment.

    Azizul, Alan is very correct, if the negative comments are going to happen when you are online, then they are certainly going to happen when you are not. The more active you become the quicker you can counteract and stop the negative comments from going viral, by answering questions and concerns. More often than not, negative comments are posted online without the subject’s knowledge and without the company ever being contacted directly about the concern. Social media gives you the opportunity to stay abreast of things and to know when negativity is being spread. Staying active let’s you nip it in the bud early.

    Renée

  18. Alan and Renee`-

    Very well said in my opinion, as usually negative attitudes are simply the result of a lack of communication or understanding. If you know about it in the first place, you might be able to reveal the flaws in the negative logic, and maybe even counterpoint it with the positive aspects of whatever you are trying to do. This usually works very well if the authors of the negative comments are perennial pessimists, as they just Hate to see others succeed! They will suddenly realize that they have actually Helped you to make your case! They will probably just go find others to criticize if you actually stand up to counter their allegations with actual Facts, shall we say. Sorta like dealing with bullies… when you confront them, they generally just go away.

    Cheers,
    Stan~