Over the past five years, social media has become an increasingly important part of many companies' marketing strategies. But there are still some misconceptions about how to use social media to drive sales and which services are worth the investment of company time and resources. Here are the six myths I hear most often:
Myth No. 1: If it doesn't go viral, it wasn't worth the effort.
When people think of social media success stories, they usually think of giant campaigns with millions of views, such as the Old Spice campaign or Blendtec’s Will It Blend. Yes, those campaigns were very successful, but that's the wrong way to think about social media. Social media marketing isn't about a big one-time hit. It's about adding value over time. The best campaigns are interesting and unique, disseminate content that passes the litmus test of "would you bother sharing this yourself", and help you organically grow your audience over time.
Myth No. 2: My customers are older, so social media won’t work for my company.
A whopping 56% of Internet users 50 years or older use Facebook. Your clients and future clients are absolutely waiting for you to find them on Facebook--as well as Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram and other social tools.
Myth No. 3: Google+ is a waste of time.
If you define Google+ as a social network, then, no, it's not a force to be reckoned with. But that’s not really what Google+ is. In actuality, it's a social layer on top of Google’s other services, such as search, Gmail, and even YouTube. When someone uses Google to search for anything from restaurants to pet food, the results include social endorsements generated from those ubiquitous +1 clicks made by the user's Gmail contacts. And those social endorsements get way more clicks than regular search results. Having a solid Google+ profile for your business and an ecosystem of customers that have given your company or products a +1 has a measurable impact on both searches for your brand and conversion rate on visits to your site.
Myth No. 4: Twitter only works for celebrities and big brands.
Sure, the Ashton Kutchers of the world command huge followings, but Twitter can be relevant and valuable even for local businesses that have a small but targeted following. However, to make Twitter matter, you need to make your tweets timely, relevant to your customers, and not entirely self-promotional. Also, make sure that you use Twitter to monitor and engage with Twitter users who reach out to you or mention your company or products. (We search for mentions of #wpromote daily.)
Myth No. 5: Facebook advertising drives "likes" but not customers.
Several years ago, a lot of big advertisers jumped on the Facebook bandwagon. They spent money on ads to increase their fan bases without really understanding the value of a like or fan--and without even thinking about their return on investment. But when done correctly, advertising on Facebook can help your company increase its online footprint, fans, and customer engagement--for the express purpose of attracting new customers and bringing back current customers more often. It's also an incredibly powerful tool for encouraging existing customers to refer new ones and to build loyalty to your brand.
Myth No. 6: The more often you post to Facebook, the better your campaign will perform.
More than one post a day is probably too many. Posting too often can lower your overall average of likes, comments, and shares per post. And since Facebook's EdgeRank algorithm tends to favor posts from companies that have higher engagement rates, posting too often may mean that fewer people will see your future posts. For a truly successful Facebook campaign, make sure your posts are unique, interesting, and engaging. And always include pictures or links, since these sorts of posts have much higher engagement rates than static text.