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.
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.
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:
- Social Media Pitfalls – Common Yet Avoidable Mistakes
- Top 10 Mistakes Business Make with Social Media
- With Social Media YOU Are the Brand
- Top 10 Social Media Resolutions for 2011