Social media can feel like the Wild West. Trolls can pop up and derail the day with unshakable complaints, your business’s narrative can get hijacked by unexpected events, and somehow everyone is trying to get paid for helping you “spread your message.” Getting a handle on your social media requires you to be proactive, engaged, and able to separate social media fact from social media fiction.
Here are some of the most egregious lies business owners hear about their social presence:
- “Social media is for kids.” Though it has been around in various forms for nearly twenty years to many social media remains too young to waste time on. That has rapidly changed over the last several years. Networks like Facebook and Twitter have expanded their reach with affluent folks in their 40’s and 50’s faster than any other audience. These people are online, engaged, and ready to spend money.
- “It’s great because it’s free.” The most creative advertisers in the world can make an amazing impact on social media but not without a little financial boost. Getting an audience to pay attention to your message will cost you, even on social media. Facebook in particular is not very generous when it comes to placing posts from businesses. Instead they insist on payment to get your content in front of as many eyeballs as possible. The good news is that even paid social media remains just a fraction of the cost of traditional advertising.
- “Mastering social media is easy!” Watching an office of social media pros can be misleading. A congenial attitude, lax dress code, and dozens of millennials staring at their laptop screens might not seem like work but it is! Identifying your audience, perfecting your message, and building a strategy to make both of those efforts renewable is not a one day job. It is an ongoing ever changing process that requires inventiveness, analysis, and ingenuity. It is definitely not easy!
- “This is just a way to spread your message.” Social media is about messaging but to suggest that it is only about getting the word out is a grave miscalculation. When harnessed properly everything from Pinterest and Instagram to LinkedIn can be a money making engine for your business. Whether you are taking the information of your social media audience and using it to improve your company’s targets or simply funneling customers through a clearly manageable sales pipeline there is real money to be made from social media.
- “Negative comments make social media too risky.” No business has the universal approval of everyone. Making a profit necessitates compromises that can frustrate certain customers and, thanks to social media, they have an unsilenceable voice. The greater risk however is that you would have no control over the narrative. By being proactive with customer service on social media you can tamp down the fires of unsatisfied customers and move on from these issues, rather than ignoring them.
- “No rush.” If you had the foresight to own and operate a website for your company in the mid 90’s chances are you got the jump on your competition in important ways. Similarly current businesses who develop a presence on social networks have the leg up on competition, finding an audience, building a recognizable brand, and making sales that could have been yours. If you haven’t gotten on social media yet there is no time like the present.
- “Manage your social media in your off time.” For the most successful people on social media maintaining a presence is not so much a full-time job as it runs underneath everything you do. The Internet does not stop and neither does your social media presence. Managing it means frequent check-ins, perpetual engagement, and knowing when to sit back and listen.
- “Social media’s effectiveness is immeasurable.” Whether setting up goal tracking in Google Analytics or monitoring everything via a tool like Raventools there has long been ways to see if social media was driving sales and generating leads. Beyond that understanding the full reach of your posts is now easier than ever with Facebook, Twitter, and other networks offering real time info on post views and engagement. On social media there are many clear metrics of success.
- “You have to hire someone.” Some business owners find the very idea of managing their social media nerve racking. As a result many assume someone needs to be hired to manage social full-time. Companies, like Ajax Union, offer great plans for companies to avoid having to bring someone in to manage social in house. For companies with lower budgets there are even options to have social media coaching providing you with the knowledge and tools to properly navigate this world.
- “The more content you post the better.” Quantity rarely beats quality. This is especially true of engaging with users on social media. Businesses(and normal people for that matter) always lose followers if content begins to overwhelm a follower’s feed. Be smart about your promotional posts and always try to offer value with your content. Consistency is important when it comes to social content but balancing maintaining a presence with maintaining value is vital.
- “More fans and followers mean everything.” Having a huge number of fans or followers is only helpful if they are engaged and able to make a profit. If you are a local business having thousands of fans hundreds of miles away might look impressive but it is unlikely to help your bottom line. More likely all of those extra eyes on your sponsored posts is going to cost you money and reduce your presence among people who might actually use your business.