Social media platforms have like a squillion users, so it’s got to help with your business, right?
Well, yes and no. Social media does make it easy to connect with customers, but if you’re not doing it right, your customers might not even notice that you exist.
While there are plenty of success stories that demonstrate the power of getting social engagement right, there are also a legion of stories from people who have tried it and not had much success.
It’s understandable, social media is constantly growing, changing and adapting – leaving in its trail a lot of misconceptions around how businesses can use it to promote themselves.
When we stop focusing on the myths around using social media for business, we can concentrate our efforts on making a positive impact on building our brand strategy.
So, read on to bust the social media myths that might be holding you back from improving brand engagement.
Myth 1: Social media isn’t for every business
Wrong. Social media gives any business a platform to connect with customers, form relationships and build a loyal community. However, there isn’t a one size fits all social media marketing game plan.
That said, there is a one size fits all approach to conducting successful social media campaigns. The first step is to identify your target audience (yes, we’re banging that drum again).
Once you have got a handle on who, how and where to address your target audience, you can create the kind of content they will want to engage with – from the social platform they are already active on.
Myth 2: You HAVE to be on every platform
The short answer is, no you don’t. The slightly longer answer is, you should select the channels that will best support your business goals. If you feel you should be seen on all the major social channels because “it’s the done thing”, ask yourself how is each platform enabling me to connect with my target audience?
Remember, not all social channels are created equal, and for good reason. Each platform seeks to create its own niche, developing the tools and functionality that will differentiate them, in order to attract a specific audience.
So, instead of stretching your limited resources to be present everywhere, you should only be on the channels that cater for your target audience. This will enable you to focus your resources and your creativity to suit the social platform, and engage your community.
Myth 3: You just need to post and people will come to you
Well, this is partly true, but definitely not the whole story. If you’ve done a good job of hand holding your prospects through their buyer journey, using your website and conversion funnels, they are likely to want to follow you on social media. However, followers don’t equal brand engagement.
‘Build it, and they will come’ only works in the movies. Social Media is a ‘build it, nurture it, engage them and they may come and stay.’ – Seth Godin
Engagement means posting content that people want to like, comment on and share. All of which will help increase your reach and grow your community. So, the clever part is knowing how to create relevant content that will encourage linking, commenting and sharing.
To achieve this, think CRAC (or whichever order you prefer):
Creativity – entertaining, fun, interesting, controversial.
Relevancy – talking to your audiences’ wants and needs.
Authenticity – be genuine, be a storyteller, be you.
Consistency – remember, nice and steady wins the race.
Myth 4: I have to post every single day
Nope! This can be exhausting and can work against you if it means the quality of your posts is compromised. Yes, consistency is key, but that doesn’t equate to posting day-in, day-out just for the sake of it. You need to think strategically about the best times to post – which days and at what times.
Ask yourself “do I have something interesting to say? How will this help me achieve my business goals?”
So, you don’t need to post on social media every day – but you do need to be consistent. The best way to achieve this is to develop a social media strategy which includes a posting schedule.
Myth 5: Social media is free
Creating a social media profile for your business IS free, and provides a great way to engage with potential customers, but it will require dedicated resources (which don’t come free). Whether it’s your time, a designer, imaging apps or video editing, a successful social media campaign will require a budget.
That said, it’s not as costly as purchasing ads, and can be just as effective. Managing your resources is another thing your posting schedule will help you with. Keep in mind it’s about the quality of your content, not the quantity, or the elaborate presentation.
Myth 6: Your content must be perfect
Well, this follows on nicely, doesn’t it. Remember the A in our CRAC acronym? Authenticity will win over perfection every time. Your customers are on social media to feel a part of and take part in their chosen communities. They don’t expect perfection, they just want to build genuine connections.
This is the advantage social media hands to smaller businesses. It enables you to make more authentic, deeper connections than big faceless organisations. Building a successful brand is all about building emotional connections, so be yourself and be authentic, and if your resources don’t stretch to perfect creatives, it doesn’t matter.
Myth 7: There’s too much noise on social media
There are literally billions of social media users, all creating a never-ending stream of content with their chatter. So you could be forgiven for thinking you won’t be heard above the noise. However, you are only interested in connecting with your customers. In trying to appeal to everyone, you end up appealing to no one.
It is easy to feel overwhelmed. So, the key is to work to a plan. The goal is to devise a plan to address your target audience’s interests, needs and wants. You are then ready to focus your resources on creating the right content to attract and build a thriving community all of your own – claiming your little piece of the huge social media pie.
Myth 8: You’re only successful when you go viral
Yeah, that’s bogus! Firstly, your success isn’t necessarily measured by how many people are watching; it’s measured against achieving your campaign goals. That might be brand recognition, lead capture, brand loyalty, building an active online community to name a few. Whatever it is, you define your success using the relevant metrics.
Going viral (for the right reasons) can be amazing of course. But more often than not it can’t be planned or orchestrated, it happens out of the blue, perfectly organically, without rhyme or reason. Usually, if you try to force something to go viral, it’s likely to fall flat in its face.
Myth 9: Don’t respond to complaints on social media
This is not always straightforward, but generally yes, you should respond to customer complaints on social media if you are tagged. That doesn’t mean to say it’s not without risk – but not responding at all definitely sends the wrong message.
Here’s a few important reasons why you should respond to customer complaints on social media:
- It shows that you care about your customer’s experience
- It demonstrates you are listening and open to making improvements
- It shows you are human and not an impersonal automated bot
- It builds greater trust and brand loyalty
- It boosts your brand engagement
- It will avoid bad reviews being posted on review sites
To get it right, adopt the same customer care approach you would use offline; respond in a timely manner, adopt an empathetic tone and do your best to provide some sort of resolution. If possible, request to continue the dialogue over direct message – this will prevent your conversation being seen by everyone.
Myth 10: If you’re not getting engagement on your posts, social media isn’t for you
It’s frustrating isn’t it, you have a great campaign idea, you spend too much time preparing it, motivated by all the adulation coming your way in the form of Likes, Shares and Comments – and then, nothing.
If this sounds all too painfully familiar, then it could be time to start again from the very beginning:
- What are your goals/objectives?
- What is your social media strategy?
- Who is your target audience?
- Are you addressing their wants and needs?
- Remember, think CRAC (or whichever way around you prefer)
Social media is a two-way street – and it’s not all about you. If you’re not authentically engaging with others and giving back to your tribe, then you’re not creating an environment that feels like a true community, where customers can make that all important emotional connection with your brand.
…and there you have it: myths busted, what next?
The next time you hear a social media myth, question it. Ask for the proof, and ask out loud. – Dan Zarrella
Social media is constantly growing, changing and adapting, which is why it’s understandable that myths can spread. However, keep on top of it and your social media strategy will enable you to build a deeper relationship with new and existing customers.
By following the 5 steps above, your social media experience can be tailored to meet your brand engagement goals. Be prepared though, it will take some time and effort on your part to stick to your plan and maintain a consistent posting schedule.
As always, we’re here to help with design, copywriting and strategy planning nerds at the ready. So, if you have any questions, or want to explore having an expert team do it for you, then let’s have a chat over a cuppa.