Social media is seen in different perspectives by marketers. Some take it too seriously while others consider it a time waste. It is a fact that social media carries a lot of weight and plays a significant role in influencing customer decision making process. But before you choose any particular social media service, you must know if your audience is present there or not. Do you have a plan in place or you are just entering for the sake of it. How much time can you afford to spend in maintaining your social media profile? What is the source of your content generation? Are you able to connect with decision-makers and influencers in your industry?
Social media is a relatively new platform for businesses. Both the network owners and business owners have realized how to exploit this potential. Networks are becoming more user-friendly and business-friendly. The most awaited launch of “Facebook for Business” in 2015, says it all. Such initiatives come for a reason.
This article is written to bust the most popular myths and take a new approach on how marketers see this.
1. You don’t need a plan
It is a fact that social media is easy to use and helps you to interact with your customers but for a business, one needs comprehensive planning to pursue your goals of social networking. Quite often, interaction is high in the beginning and slowly comes down to negligible. Such a pursuit is better not attempted. For instance, the reason is people join your Facebook page with the hope of learning something new but if you don’t meet their expectations, they will soon unfollow you.
Determine your goals and objectives for each social network profile you have. What is the follower growth rate you have projected? How many queries do you respond every day? (This is significant when businesses start receiving a number of queries but are never answered.) Criticism spreads like fire on social media. How do you plan to handle it? All these questions need to be a part of your social media strategy.
2. Complacency about the size of your target audience
Unquestionably, size of your target audience does matter and it helps you to allocate your marketing budget. But to take advantage of target audience on social media, you need a focused approach. If your focus is just on to increase the number of followers of your social media profile, without wanting to, you will fail miserably. In the end, it is not the number that matters but quality interaction with a small group of people. You can’t expect to engage in quality interaction with all your followers.
Identify the ones who show more interest and curiosity than others and take it from there. If you are able to satisfy a small group, word-of-mouth will start paying you. Moreover, running a huge social media campaign requires time and resources (money and man power). For a small business that might be naïve in running a social media page, it is always safe to start at a small scale. Quality engagement with a smaller group helps you to understand your target audience better and prepare yourself for a bigger battle.
3. You need to be present on all the leading social networks
It is not necessary to have a profile on every leading social network. Choose the number and the ones that you are comfortable and determined to work on for a long term. Every network has unique features and capability. There are various supporting tools and tactics to enhance the capability of every network.
Why not explore one network acutely rather than dirtying your hands in all and get nothing. For instance, tools used by marketers on Twitter include Bitly, Buffer etc. Bitly allows you to shorten the length of the URL being shared and you can share the links on multiple Twitter accounts. You can also see the stats for Bitly links on your dashboard. Similarly, Buffer allows you to schedule your tweets throughout the day.
4. Use every post to talk about your business
This is one of the biggest myths that need riddance in 2015. It is true that you wish to educate your target audience about your business so that they become your customers. But you can’t bore them with marketing pitch on every encounter that they have with your post. Talk about anything but business. Look for the relevant issues or trending topics that intrigues your audience. You have to look for the right opportunity to talk about business.
Sense the mood of the audience before you start a discussion. Ask about their preferences and likings. Ideally speaking, social media is a place where people are relaxed and expressive about how & what they feel. Audience need not ever get an impression that you have come with an agenda to sell on social media.
5. It is okay to commit grammatical or spelling errors
There has been an exponential growth in using creative spellings and very little attention to grammar by users on social media & instant messaging services. Though there is nothing wrong in doing so but such practice makes today’s generation vulnerable. However, marketers should keep away from such a practice as it does not look professional.
You might be talking about casual topics that interests the audience but your audience will not take you seriously if you start a similar practice. As a marketer, you have to lead by keeping your communication professional. Casual spellings carry a risk of non-seriousness. In your effort to tune with the audience, you lose out to your competitors.
6. It’s just interaction, why measure it?
It might look unimportant at first glance but measuring the statistics associated with your social media audience helps you to know your audience profile. With what they read, like, share and tag, you can design your product & marketing communication. Your content can be more focused. You can analyze audience demographics and study the differences among different groups.
You will know how to tweak your communication to suit a specific set of audience. Furthermore, you can post on a specific topic more than others if you know what your audience is sharing and talking about more. Social media metrics can be quantitative or qualitative. While quantitative involves follower count, click through rate, retweets, shares etc., qualitative metrics include response, audience mood and your influence over them.
7. It is business as usual, carry on
Many marketers create a social media page just to have a presence there with low to very low levels of interaction and page updates. Such a presence does more harm than good. Do a reality check. A marketer can’t be a deadbeat. Social media has a huge potential for consumer engagement. Be creative and keep experimenting.
Ask propitious questions. Examine the answers. Don’t wait for your competitors to start a discussion. Take a lead and start-off what you think is right. Bold attempts get you a lot of limelight but you need to know how to handle them well. Avoid controversial statements. Social media is a public forum and every post needs to have relevance. 2015 is not the time to carry on business as usual. You need to think out-of-the-box.
8. It is impossible to handle it by yourself
This isn’t true. The best social media campaign is the one that goes through you. Google is your best friend. Take a tour at what your competitors and big players are doing on social media. See how your target audience responds to their efforts.
Though you might bring in content writers from outside, community engagement has to be done in-house. You and your employees know the best answers to the queries. You just have to make sure that you give due credit to customers who share ideas and offer suggestions for improvement. Social media is not about dominion but opinion.
Marketers realize how these digital platforms are turning the tide for them and cash-in a lot of money & respect. But to be successful, you need to have a social media strategy to serve as a guide. More importantly, you need to bust the myths associated with it due to unawareness and skepticism.
Shun all the myths. It is not time to be regressive. Getting aggressive in your social media strategy is the need of the hour. Keep your approach persistent and efforts consistent. Lastly, it is not you but they that matters on social media.