10 Things You Dont Know About Social Media MarketingEveryone seems to think social media marketing is easy — just throw up some posts on Facebook, Twitter, etc, put your Facebook button on everything, and wait for the money to come rolling in. The other misperception is that social media marketing is cheap. Well, compared to spending $2 million on a Super Bowl ad, social media marketing IS cheap, but that doesn’t mean it won’t cost some serious money.

Unfortunately, the perception that social media marketing is cheap and easy is actually costing you BIG BUCKS! We call these opportunity costs because you’re giving up the opportunity to make more money because you’re not doing it right.

You have to break a few eggs to make an omelet.

Businesses hire staff or consultants who lack requisite knowledge because they’re inexpensive, which is REALLY dangerous for a small business because they’re often the entire marketing department. Businesses devote little or no money to their social media marketing program because they’ve bought into the idea that their free.

So, let’s take a look at the 10 things you don’t know about social media marketing (using the successful guide from Letterman’s top 10, here they are in reverse order of importance):

10. Gurus are spending BIG money

Yeah, you got it. All those gurus out there telling you how wonderful social media marketing is and how it’s the great equalizer for small businesses are telling you big, fat LIES.

I’m sure you’ve seen boasts about getting 1 million likes in a few weeks or driving massive traffic with a few easy steps.

Most of these are lies — or at least half-truths. These folks are getting the results they claim, but they’re not telling you they’re spending big bucks. Their results are not organic. Now, the advice might be sound, but don’t feel bad that you’re not getting the same results.

I fell into that trap early on. I was doing everything right, but not seeing the kind of massive returns I was reading about. For instance, one guru got 250,000 email subscribers. I did all the right things and only have a few thousand. What I didn’t know is this guru was PAYING folks like Guy Kawasaki and other big names some hefty fees to guest blog on his site and create ebooks. He was also paying serious money for PPC ads to promote email subscriptions.

9. Content is KING

OK, so maybe you DID know this one. But, did you know what KIND of content is KING? The kind that visitors find VALUABLE. I recently worked with a client whose previous agency was creating content — which consisted of a single blog post that was entirely promotional. Epic FAIL.

Content must be valuable to readers, over 300 words, contain related images, and authoritative links. Avoid keyword stuffing and be sure to share your content ubiquitously.

8. Quantity DOES matter

Don’t get me wrong. I’m clearly on the quality side of this debate, but you still have to produce content consistently. I strive for 3X per week, but there’s not much difference between 2-5 times per week in terms of conversion. Less than that and you won’t see the results you’re looking for, according to a study by Hubspot.

Crappy content will still get you in lots of trouble with Google — and who wants that? Duplicate content will still get you in trouble, so avoid it.

What’s a marketer to do?

Create a content marketing calendar to ease the burden of creating high quality content on a consistent basis. Period. There are no shortcuts.

Creating good content is only 1/2 the battle. You need to curate content from other great folks. Not only is it a nice thing to do (and ensures you stay up-to-date with cutting-edge conversations around your niche), but curating content creates a tit-for-tat relationship that encourages others to share your content.

7. Social media marketing in 30 minutes a day

This is my favorite LIE about social media marketing. If you’ve read any of the earlier items on this list, you can see that social media marketing takes time. Lots of time. My guess is a small business needs about 10-15 hours a week and a midsized business problem about 80-100 hours a week of dedicated social media marketing.

And, don’t hire someone to manage your social media marketing without a clear understand of what you need and their abilities. Having a vibrant Facebook profile or a large Twitter following doesn’t mean the prospective employee knows what they’re doing.

And, that leads me to my next point.

6. Social media marketing takes cross-functional skills

Here are just a few of the many skills to look for in whoever manages your social media marketing:

  1. Strong BI (business intelligence) and A/B testing
  2. Strong writing
  3. Marketing background
  4. Technical — graphics and web design fundamentals, along with some coding and lots of online social media management
  5. Drupal, WordPress, etc.

I would look for someone who’s a generalist in these areas, with strong marketing and writing skills.

5. Social media marketing IS marketing!

There’s a reason we call it social media marketing — it’s marketing. Sure, you can hire that english major, but it won’t work as well. Face it. Marketing students spend 4 years learning marketing — consumer behavior, market research, market strategy, etc. WHY would you think you could hire and english major?

Your english major might be a good writer, but does he/she understand the tools of influence? Segmentation? How to construct a market survey?

“Nough said.

4. Subtle differences in implementation generate huge differences in results.

For instance, writing well is good, but using the tools of influence within your writing is critical for results. Influence allows you to create content that motivates the reader toward actions you need without being spammy or using the hard sell.

For instance, a client created a landing page to capture email addresses for an upcoming launch. He invited folks to sign up. Well, I’m gonna rush right out and do that!

I convinced him to change the language. The landing page now reads:

Shhhhhhhh. Can you keep a secret? We need a few good geeks to polish our gem!

This uses 2 tools of influence. 1 is the law of scarcity — people want what they can’t have and 1 is tit-for-tat by giving them something no one else has.

3. Only buyer personas matter

It really doesn’t matter how BIG your social network is, it’s how many in your network fit your buyer persona. That’s because only these folks will actually buy your brand and you’re in business to make money, right?

2. Engagement matters

Having lots of followers/ friends/ fans … doesn’t mean anything — even if they fit your buyer persona. Engagement is the fuel for message amplification and ultimately may result in viral messaging.

Engagement doesn’t happen if you’re not creating value, being a real person with a strong voice, encouraging folks to engage, etc. Engagement also requires analytics to understand how your network responds and capitalizing on what’s working.

1. Social media marketing is SOCIAL

Social media marketing isn’t just another channel for blasting out advertising messages. It isn’t traditional marketing. Spend time (and money) understanding them. Put yourself in the shoes of folks comprising your buyer personas and give them things you’d want.

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