Social media is no doubt, one of the biggest platforms for promoting businesses. A few years ago, it was an optional add-on to an otherwise traditional marketing strategy. Today, it has become very essential, and is often the central aspect of all marketing strategies. Digital and social media marketing usage in B2B and industrial section is particularly strong.
However there are a number of misconceptions among companies about social media marketing. Some of them root from the fact that the platform is new to them, whereas other misconceptions are propagated by the old-school consultants, who want to make quick bucks.
To really understand why some of the beliefs about digital and social media marketing are wrong, it is important to understand the medium itself.
Here is why, ‘social networking’ is necessary in marketing today:
- Most people who are online visit social networks, so they have high visibility
- People find more about products through social media sites than official sites
- Once you start getting followers, your branding reaches the bigger audiences automatically
- Social media is structured in a way that it allows for easy viral marketing
Now, here are the most commonly held misconceptions about social media marketing, and why they may be hampering your own company’s marketing push.
1.You can’t measure ROI
This used to be true 5 years ago, when both Twitter and FaceBook were comparatively smaller. Now, all major social networks have very sophisticated tools that allow you to measure just how much of your company’s bottom-line is being driven by your social media marketing efforts.
In addition to specific ROI measuring tools offered by each big social media companies, there are also services that work cross platform. By using such tools, you can see the whole picture about how the entire platform is working for you. It also allows you to modify your marketing strategies accordingly.
2.Google+ is a ghost town
It is a commonly held belief that all the social media action is happening only on FaceBook and Twitter. Google+ it is believed to be practically a ghost town, with nobody using it. However, when it comes to B2B marketing, Google+ is the first network you should be thinking of because:
- It is tied very closely to Google search engine, which is the primary growth driver for businesses
- Your posts on Google+ are indexed and appear on your SERPs, which give you much higher visibility
Although you will see a lower level of engagement with a social media marketing blog on Google+, your search engine rankings will see a big boost.
3.It doesn’t give results
If your digital and social media marketing is not bringing in more customers and improving your branding, it doesn’t mean that the platform stinks. It means that you need a new and revamped strategy that is based on hard data. That social media is a bright marketing platform, has already been proven by thousands of companies who are successful at it.
The barriers stopping you from entering into social media marketing is much lower, so you see a lot more competition out there. That is why it is difficult to see results of your campaigns immediately. Consistent marketing across multiple social platforms will give you definite positive results.
4.Join every social network on earth
The number of social networking companies that have come up in the last decade is only dwarfed by the number of ‘Likes’ on FaceBook. Don’t feel compelled to join every one of them, because you won’t be missing out on much.
- Identify your core demographics
- Use social media research tools to identify the most common social media platforms they use
- Direct your social media marketing funds towards those networks exclusively
5.You have to respond to every post
Because social media is such a direct platform, you will see hundreds or even thousands of responses to your posts. However, you do not need to reply to every post immediately. Unless, it is a customer support account, you can make your replies in a more measured manner.
6.Social media is only about discovery
Yes, social media is the best platform to get discovered today. However, many B2B companies stop there and then direct customers to their websites for further engagement.
Instead, you should:
- Nurture your leads on social media
- Engage with them on FaceBook, Twitter and other platforms they use
- Gather information about your customers and find better ways to market your product
This myth about social media being primarily all about “getting found” is the main reason why so many companies do not see the kind of ROI they do, when compared to with other marketing platforms. Building relationships take time, but you will earn loyal customers for life.
7.Update your activity every hour
Yes, we live in a cutthroat, fast paced world, and your users’ attention span is dwindling rapidly. That does not mean that you have to keep posting something every hour, just so they you don’t get out of sight.
On the contrary, you should:
- Post the most important news on social media
- Reserve your posts for engaging content
If you want your social media followers to take your brand seriously, keep the signal to noise ratio high. The better the quality of content you provide, the better your products will be perceived.
8.Social media marketing is all you ever need
While some companies are shy about social media, others, especially newer companies think this is all they need. Well, there is much more to digital and social media marketing than just focusing on social networking.
In reality, social media should be a part of your broader marketing strategy. Ideally, it should include, print media, press releases, blogging, email marketing, pay-per-click marketing, and many other forms of web advertising. If you focus solely on social media, you will be cutting out a huge portion of your audience, and are likely to give the free pass to your competition.
9.You can buy friends and followers
Just like the SEO storm before this, many so-call expert consulting companies are offering to sell you likes and followers on FaceBook and Twitter. However, just as websites buying links were eventually busted, such strategies will also backfire on your company very badly.
The best way to gain followers on social media is create genuine content and engaging the audiences directly. Likes on FaceBook do not drive your sales conversions. Real and interested customers do.
10.You need a young social media manager
Most of the postings for digital and social media marketing jobs require “young” and “dynamic” professionals. Supposedly, the younger generation “gets” the social media.
If you really want your marketing efforts to lead somewhere, then you need to hire an experienced manager, who goes strictly by the data. Social media marketing is not just about learning the behaviors of people. It has more to do with building long term business relationships. That comes only with experience.
- It doesn’t drive profits
Companies are still debating the efficacy of digital and social media marketing versus old media marketing. Many of them are not convinced about how much profits it can it bring. Unfortunately, this is because it is difficult to measure profits against social media activity. Compared to other forms of marketing, social media networking is more complex.
Also, your efforts in social media will not bear fruits immediately. Just like every other forms of marketing, you will need to use such platforms and first earn the trust from people.
12.It is all about the hashtag
Your Twitter account does not live and die by the hashtag. The primary uses of a hashtag are:
- Providing a common thread for conversation about a very specific topic
- Spreading awareness about a major announcement of event for your business
- Providing a way for followers to keep track of a particular event
Your hashtags like #funny or #generic might catch on with the followers. However, unless your hashtag has a specific purpose, it won’t drive sales for your business, even if it becomes very popular.
13.You can’t monitor social media
In truth, it is difficult to monitor the trends of digital and social media marketing, but surely not impossible. The platform is so huge and is evolving so rapidly, that many businesses find it difficult to keep track of how users engage with them.
However, as mentioned before, there are sophisticated tools to analyze and monitor your social media accounts. Instead of refreshing your social media tabs every 5 seconds, you will be notified about the posts, and get a detailed report on trends, so you can make better marketing choices.
14.Social media is for the young and hip
Yes, it was for the young and hip, back when FaceBook started off as exclusively for college students.
- More than 50% of active FaceBook users are above 35 years of age
- More than 50% of senior citizens in the developed world have joined social networks
- 60% of adults in the US alone are very active on social media
Social networks are no longer just for young college kids who want to gossip and have fun with friends. It is a platform where everybody shares things. You should have a strong social media strategy even if your target demographic is above 50 years of age.
Once you have cleared the above misconceptions, you will be able to hone and refine your digital and social media marketing usage in b2b industrial section. Better monitoring, research, and analysis should give you the kind of ROI that you are looking for.
Let me know what you think in the comment section… looking forward to it.