Whilst awareness of social media as a marketing tool is at an all time high, a number of misconceptions still abound. In this article I will look at 5 of the most common social media myths I’ve come across.
Anyone can do it
Running social media activities for a business is very different to maintaining a personal social media account. Being active on Facebook does not qualify someone to carry out social media marketing activities for a business. Whilst understanding the mechanics of how a social network works may be useful, the person you trust with your social media needs to know how to effectively build and engage communities. To do this they will need a thorough understanding of your brand, your target audience and your wider marketing objectives. Not to mention great interpersonal skills, creativity and the ability to analyse stats.
Don’t be tempted to assign this task to someone that is inexperienced or an intern – social media activities are done in the public domain so it is important you get them right. Trusting this activity to an expert makes sense.
Social media is a sales channel
Whilst social media can be used to make sales, this is not it’s primary purpose so don’t make your activities all about selling. If you do, you may find it difficult to grow communities and may even start to see negative growth as people get fed up with nothing but endless sales messaging.
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Of course people love to see a good sales promotion or competition and will equally be keen to hear news from you, but don’t bombard them. People follow brands on social media for a number of reasons; for customer service, to receive special offers or deals and for interesting news or entertaining content. You need to make sure that you have a good mix of content and use social to build relationships, not just to sell.
A high number of likes and followers is what’s important
Whilst having a healthy number of followers is generally beneficial, this is in no way the most important aspect of social media activities, so chasing likes and followers should not be your primary objective.
The key to building a strong community with real value to you as a business, lies in building a community of prospects; that is to say, individuals that have some interest in your brand, are previous or existing customers, or fall within your target audience. These are the people you want as fans as they are far more likely to be willing to engage with you (a measure of their receptiveness to your messaging). Fans who have no desire to engage with your brand are of little use to you.
Social media doesn’t influence sales
Whilst social media shouldn’t be used primarily as a sales channel, having managed social media for a large number of businesses, social media really can and does actively influence sales!
You will often find that people tend to use channels such as Twitter to ask pre-sales questions. Often these people are primed and ready to order and might be seeking clarification of something simple like shipping costs or delivery times before they complete their purchase.
Providing high levels of customer service at this critical time can mean the difference in whether you make the sale.The key here lies in your ability to actively monitor your social channels so you don’t miss pre-sales or other customer service related mentions and in your ability to respond quickly and add value to the customer experience by being helpful and knowledgeable.
Social media ROI can’t be measured
The good news is that social media ROI can be measured! Ensure you are using an analysis tool like Google Analytics and make sure that you have goals set up so that you can accurately track social media conversions. This will mean you will be able to then see the number of sales and / or enquiries you achieve as a direct result of your social media activities.
Make sure you choose meaningful KPIs (tracking increases in Likes or followers really isn’t enough) and analyse data frequently as this will provide you with valuable insights that will help you to shape your activities and make them more effective. Both Facebook and Pinterest now have their own insights and stats tools built in which allow you to assess additional variables such as reach.
With the right metrics in place, you’ll be able to see the value of sales made as a direct result of social media activity, which will make determining your ROI a cinch.