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Common Myths About Social Media Marketing

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Common Myths About Social Media Marketing

Has your business looked into social media marketing as a way to expand or improve your bottom line?  Can this form of marketing help you reach your goals?  Are any of the following statements ones you have made as a reason why social media is not something your company needs?

Social media does not provide an adequate return on investment (ROI).

What is the ROI for your phone? If you don’t have a phone or a website or a social media profile, you don’t exist in the business landscape of your customer. That doesn’t mean that you just throw money at social media and hope it delivers results. Use sound business principles. Set business goals and start comparing the investment you currently have in getting and keeping customers with new social media tools.

We don’t have the time or money to waste on something new.

If you currently make cold calls, send sales reps into the field, go to networking events, travel to trade shows, gather business cards, make sales calls, make appointments, drive to appointments and make more appointments to generate new sales, then you will be saving time and money by using social media tools. You will still have face-to-face meetings, but these often come AFTER a lengthy relationship-building series over LinkedIn, Facebook and even Skype. In mileage alone, you will see significant savings. Consider all the other areas of savings from which you will recoup social media marketing costs.

We won’t be able to control our public message.

The way you control your message with social media is by putting the message out there in the form of blog articles, guest articles, Twitter posts, Facebook updates, LinkedIn updates, answering questions and simply being present online. Think of Google as your homepage. When people search for your name or your company name, the content that you created should overwhelm the page. Your customers use Google to search for your goods and services. When you are the result of their search, you are seen to be the leading expert or provider. People decide to go with your company.

We will expose private information to our competitors.

You will lose as much privacy as you would sharing information at a networking event or a customer presentation. In fact, social media is a sales and marketing tool; the last thing you want is privacy! Worrying about privacy is like sending your sales rep to a trade show and saying, “Don’t tell anyone we’re there.” You wouldn’t do that at a trade show, why do it online? Maybe you’re stuck on the idea that people share what they’re having for breakfast on social media. That might have been true in the early days, but overwhelmingly the web is a place where conversations happen about brands. Marketing research tools are designed to analyze what products and services people are talking about. This wouldn’t be possible if people weren’t talking about them.

We don’t have the time to invest in social media.

Does your business have people that take care of customer service? Perhaps they take phone calls, respond to emails or even snail mail letters. Is their time as efficient as possible? Many companies train their customer service staff in the use of social media so they can respond to queries and issues between calls and email responses. This approach ensures the business is using staff who live and breathe customer service and are at the heart of social media efforts, but it also alleviates the need to have dedicated social staff. In an ideal world a business would have people with the sole purpose of delivering service via the social media platforms; however, that can also be easily and inexpensively outsourced to social media experts.

We can’t afford it right now.

Social media offers an attractive low-cost alternative to media advertising buys, but social media is not a free alternative as some suggest. It may be necessary to hire a part-time employee or contract a social media marketing expert to manage your business’ social media presence. You may also incur a modest expense to produce content to share on your sites. But again, you can turn the no money objection around. Are you saying you cannot afford to market your business? If no, there are bigger issues that need to be addressed to fight for survival.

It will take too long for a social media marketing campaign to pay off.

Social media will definitely not have an immediate financial impact, but it will have an immediate impact on brand recognition. Social media takes time and energy, but what successful venture doesn’t require time and energy? Don’t just think about the revenue that is generated, but also the cost savings involved. Look at the traffic your website is getting due to your social media efforts. Are you noticing more positive mentions? It’s all part of the benefits of social media.

Our customers don’t use social networks so we would not be reaching our target market.

You will be surprised to discover how many of your customers and potential customers are using social media. A sizeable portion of the population of planet Earth are on there.  You know what they say about assumptions, right? The most useful social networking sites are meant for the general audience.

We prefer not to acknowledge negative comments about our brand.

With the global acceptance of social media across all types of businesses and industries, negative comments will happen whether you want them to or not. The power of social media is in the public. It gives your customers and potential customers a voice they didn’t have before. Negative comments are inevitable so instead of ignoring them, embrace this opportunity to reach out as needed. The missed opportunity is to let it happen behind your back. You will be surprised to find out that many negative comments are based on inaccurate information. In addition, this type of feedback can lead to improved business processes or product/service enhancements. The power to influence is extremely compelling. You don’t have to respond to every negative mention, but at least follow the conversation.

We tried using social media before and it didn’t work.

How long did you “try” social media? Did you have a strategy in place? What did the strategy consist of? How did you measure success? What were your goals and objectives? What gave you the conclusion that social media did not work? What results from social media would you have considered a success? What process did you go through when participating in social media? If you don’t have answers to all of these questions, you may have missed some steps in your social media marketing plan. Perhaps a more detailed plan would produce better results.

Social media marketing doesn’t really fit our company’s brand.

The most useful social networking sites are meant for the general public with no preference to any type of brand or industry. Social media is not a fad and is starting to become a best practice for PR, marketing, customer service, and business development. What is important to consider is your company culture. Your company culture is reflected in whatever social media participation you enter. Whether you’re in a bland industry or not, your brand will come out shining.

My industry is different.

No, it isn’t, and thank goodness. When social media first became a fixture, companies tried to start their own social networks. They were unsuccessful because they missed a key point: people don’t want to hang out on your website all day, hovering around your particular product or service. They want to hang around where other people already are and choose to follow their own interests. The upside is that the social web has become a primary referral source for companies selling products or services, who have a “non-salesy” presence on the social web. This means that your industry is NOT different; not if it caters to people who are not only about one thing, who only do one thing, and spend all their time on websites about one thing. If they’re real people, who have a variety of interests, they’re pursuing those. That’s good news because you can go where they are with confidence. Companies that participate in the social web have increased by 75% in the past few years. Businesses that are integrated with social media get the leads, while businesses that are isolated do not. Repeat customers will often refer others using social sharing. The social web has every kind of person, including the ones who can influence your business.

There are plenty of reasons and excuses to avoid having to deal with the social media revolution in business, but the result is that your business misses out on one of the greatest growth potentials available today. Social media is not going away. Now is the time to take a look at what it can do for your business.