Busting Social Media Myths Once and For All

Busting Social Media Myths Once and For All

Busting Social Media Myths Once and For All

It’s a pattern: once something gets popular, it comes with a bucket load of myths that we have to break out of. The longer we cling on to these myths, the more we suffer. Cash stays on the table, nothing seems to happen, and things don’t work out to be the way we expect.

Social media is no exception. If small businesses not getting on to social media and using it to their advantage is a problem, riding on myths that hurt your efforts on social media is totally something else. It’s time to stop letting baseless myths hurt your efforts on social media for your business.

Here are some of those social media myths debunked once and for all:

Social media? My customers aren’t social

You couldn’t be further from the truth. Let’s just take the U.S for consideration: according to Pew Research, more than 72% of American Adults are on social networks. Used aged 65 and above have tripled their presence growing from 13% in 2009 to 43% in 2013.

Each of the social networks is growing at a pace that can dwarf the growth of anything else on the planet. With multiple social networks available – each serving a particular type of audience – can you figure out the kind of growth we are talking about?

Chances are that your users are on social networks. If they aren’t, they will be.

Social media is fancy. It’s for kids and bored housewives

If anything, it’s far from being the network for kids and bored housewives.  It’s chaotic and changes faster than the time it takes to tweet.  It’s hectic and user attention for every tweet or other updates is rapidly decreasing already. It’s the new media that businesses are betting on.

Belle Beth Cooper wrote for Fast Company and points out many intriguing statistics for us to ponder: The demographic audience between 55-64 year olds grew by 79% since 2012. Meanwhile the 45-54 year age bracket is the fastest growing demographic spreading over both Facebook and Google+.

While you are busy considering that, more than 189 million Facebook users are mobile only. Mobile use generates more than 30% for Facebook’s advertising revenues. YouTube reaches out to more people than TV and two members join LinkedIn every second.

Just so that you don’t miss the bus, more than 93% of businesses use social media leave only 7% of marketers who don’t use social media yet (we sure hope you aren’t here).

If you read this next year, all of these numbers would have climbed north.

We can’t measure social media

Before you quip that you can’t measure social media, we’d like to ask, “What do you want to measure?”

Your answers depend on the questions you ask and that applies to social media. According to Jay Baer of Convince and Convert, the problem with social media is not about measurability (tons of tools and applications make measuring easy and in real-time). What’s difficult is to find out what you want to measure.

Social media lends itself as one media with multiple opportunities and even more parameters for you to deal with. You could measure the following, for instance:

  • Traffic
  • Link clicks or tracked URLs
  • Conversions on your landing pages with traffic from social networks
  • Mentions
  • Follower or Fan Growth
  • Reach or traction
  • Leads from social media along with retention, conversions, and sales

You can’t sell on social media

It’s partly right; and partly wrong.

You can certainly sell on social media, just not the way we are used to selling. It’s not the kind of media (like newspapers) where you’d pick up numbers, cold call, set up appointments, pitch, and sell.

It’s more about doing business the good old fashioned way: getting to know someone, making acquaintances (or friends), giving more than you take, and leading with authority. Being nice adds to the advantage.

The more people on social get to know you, the more you are setting yourself up to launch your business into the new trend of social selling. For a change, you know who your potential customer is. You know what she tweets about. You know what irks her the most. You can possibly help her. You might just as well do it when the time comes.

Social Media is a marketing channel? Eh?

Social media is more about the kind of marketing where you show up like Santa ready to give away gifts, just like that. It’s like Uncle Willy who appears out of nowhere with the big box of value. Social media marketing is all about developing intrinsic value with giving away insights, sharing information, handing out tips, and having conversations.

But then social won’t kill email. Social marketing isn’t about harking all day long about your products and services. Content marketing and social media go walking together (both feeding off on each other). For once, your logo isn’t even that pretty on your company’s social channels because social media is about people and not companies anymore.

Talk about conversions, so social is chatter?

Chatter for what happens (at least for marketers and businesses that know how to use social media) on social media is an understatement. Most of what’s on social media is chatter. On social media, there’s chatter and there’s talk that means business.

But marketers and companies betting on social media don’t “chat;” they have strategic conversations loaded with multiple agendas. Some of those conversations are for providing value and sharing insights just when needed. Other conversations could be to lead with thought leadership and to solve problems. A few are for direct suggestions and recommendations.

Social media demands that businesses leave the comforts of steel-backed, glass-walled buildings and get on the street (read social networks) where conversations happen.

The key to making social media work for businesses is to manage those conversations the way you want to.

We are sure that there are many other myths we could have left out. What do you think they are? Which of these social media myths have you been riding on? If you could put a number on it, how might be total value in sales or opportunities you’d have lost if you espoused any of these myths?

You can tell us about it.

Mary Prescott

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