social - dwaipayan chakraborty

10 Social Media Myths Debunked

social - dwaipayan chakraborty
It has been long since i wrote something, and this post has been in draft stage for far too long now. At last i could complete it and here is my thoughts on some myths that surrounds social media which i have come across while talking to clients.

In addition to being the hot craze among internet users, social media websites also serve as great platforms for internet marketers and online businesses. Traditionalists shy away from developing their social media marketing (SMM) strategies, because of some common delusions that plague the reputation of social media.

Several myths have spread around regarding its effectiveness, but according to Social Time Reports – Instagram has grown by 50% in just 9 months, and SnapChat grew 56% in a year. This clearly suggests that social media marketing is the future, and it is here to stay.

If you are one of those, who are reluctant to jump the social bandwagon, because of your own apprehensions and floating myths about social media, then you might want to step back a bit and reconsider. Without social media marketing, your business will lose out badly to your competitors. Not only will it slow down your brand progress, but can also hurt your potential market share.

1st Myth – A belief that most consumers do not utilize social media

Many small businesses still continue to think that their consumers do not hang around on social sites. This is the biggest myth, which prevents majority of companies from interacting with potential consumers on social networking sites.

Even though social media sites were first developed to attract teens and youngsters, they have now rapidly transformed into powerful branding tools to engage with the users.

According to the demographics of social media, such sites attract people between 45 to 54 years old. Some brands argue that their consumer base comprises of senior users, and they are not using social networking channels. However, reports indicate that 71 % adult populations are FaceBook users.

Social networking has developed into a cultural standard, and people are signing in to their accounts everyday. If you are operating with an idea that your targeted market is not on social site means, you are missing huge potential consumer base.

Social channels have become an omnipresent form of communication, sharing, and communication, across all age groups. It is important for you to know that your competition companies will be using social media sites for targeting their clients.

2nd Myth – Objection of not having ways to measure social media effectiveness

This is another common objection given by companies for not participating in social media marketing campaigns. It is a fact that measuring social media efficiency is different, than how the how traditional marketing efficacy is analyzed. It does not mean there are no methods. Well, there are many new analytical tools, and you will need to learn about them, in order to identify what works and what doesn’t in your SMM efforts.

You can also use different tools for ongoing analytics and also to measure the campaign focused metrics.

Through ongoing analytics, the results of your overall social media activity can be tracked everyday. You can use the historical data with date range, to analyze the efficiency of your SMM strategies.

Through campaign focused metrics, you can get the clear picture of the impact created by your specific campaigns. In this category, one-time sales are also included. It may sound complicated, but you can find a number of tools that can make measuring a lot easier.

3rd Myth – No time for managing social media activities

A common delusion among many is that social media activities take a lot of time. It is the reason why many business owners, who are already overloaded with works, tend to deviate from it. The fact is that it is very easy to understand how to communicate on social media and maintain a dynamic presence on social sites.

You can make this process easy using numerous tools that are available online. The results of investing time and efforts on posting engaging and valuable content will go a long way improving your band name. You could also outsource the SMM jobs to professional service providers.

4th Myth – Social media means exposure to negative feedbacks

Businesses desire to keep away from negative comments. It is natural, but business owners experience negative feedback, even when they are not active on social media. When you receive negative comments, and if you are active on social networking platforms, then you can respond rapidly and have the issue addressed.

Ignoring social media means, you will miss the chance on opportunities to address the potentially negative feedback and comments speedily. Now, such non-responsiveness can damage your business more than just getting a few negative comments. Responding in public to consumer complaints, gives you an opportunity to display your organization’s excellent policy of timely customer service.

It is also true that brands occasionally get harassed by irate customers. If you are not doing something wrong, they will just end up looking silly.

5th Myth – Misconceptions about content

Sharing your competitor’s content is not a good idea – Contrary to that belief, experts believe that it is a good idea.

It certainly is obvious why this myth has occurred – why must you promote your competitor?

Well, sharing competitor’s content will help you in many ways.

It shows your fans your determination to give them the most excellent information, even if it comes from your rival. Another benefit is that your competitor will also start sharing your content, because you too are a professional in their niche.

In this way, you can keep a close eye on your competitor’s activities, or build a relationship by actively engaging with materials they produce.

Only post brand related or promotional content – You can communicate with followers on social media but avoid pushing your products. Fans desire to listen to your discounts and promotional deals, but avoid including sales pitch on every post.

You can connect with prospective customers and fans on personal level on social sites, so try to post contents that will keep your fans engaged, Give them something that they can share and discuss.

Generating lead is impossible with social media – Posting quality and relevant content certainly generates new followers, who can be directed to your website through sales funnel.

Blog posts including 300 to 700 words are the best –

To write interesting information, you will to create contents of least 600-800 words, but there are no hard and fast rules on this matter. Blogs are meant for providing comprehensive and helpful information, which is why the short contents or snippets might not do the trick for you. Long articles and blogs perform better on search engines, because you get to cover more keywords.

6th Myth – Social media is just a broadcast channel

Traditional marketing program included social media just as a channel to broadcast their message. If you believe that promoting your brand or inviting audience to buy from you via social media is a good way, then think again. You can end up with lesser followers every day, if you persist doing this.

In fact, social media is for two-way communication with followers and audience. Therefore identify your fans and share reviews and photos. Even post real-time useful and genuine content to keep your fans engaged. You can even communicate with the people responding to your content.

7th Myth – Social media marketing strategies are waste of time

Creating accounts on popular social channels like FaceBook, Twitter, or Tumblr, is easy, but it does not mean that they guarantee your business success.

Businesses follow the trend of creating new accounts with most social media sites, instead of a selected few. They end up using inappropriate platforms, or send wrong messages to wrong people. The results will be certainly poor, and they start believing that social media is not right for their business.

Basically, they have to think strategically of what their purpose of social media use is, what their message is, who they are talking with, and what those fans desire to hear. Using social media without strategic planning is like walking in wilderness without a map.

Certainly, you may reach your destination, but you my even end up at a lot of dead ends. This can be time consuming and frustrating process, which can make you give up ultimately.

8th Myth – No one has an idea of what works right on social media

Social media is newer concept than blogs, so not may marketers understand how to use it for business promotions – So, what is right and what is wrong?

Actually, there are experienced professionals, but they too do not give you guarantees on the effectives of their strategies within a definite timeframe. The experts are aware that the strategy has a big chance to succeed, but it also depends on the content creation and targeting of audience.

A well-formed social media strategy takes into consideration your audiences’ natures, assesses your content, and ensures that you select the appropriate social media platform that suits your business promotional needs.

9th Myth – Social media is just for teens or youngsters

Today’s youngsters understand digital technology innately, while elderly people will have to put in efforts to learn new stuff. The belief is that elders are not capable of understanding how social media works. The truth is that their technological abilities, interests, and accesses, are not same as that of young people, but they are very much active on social sites in their own way.

Young people link themselves to their technology differently, but it does not mean that they have developed deep understanding of it, than the elders. Therefore, it is vital that business marketers understand this myth, because it will also affect recruitment and marketing.

They hire inexperienced or too young people to handle their social networking communications. They forget the fact that the experienced people recognize the business, market, and consumers better. They have the communication skills necessary to perform well on social media platforms. A good balance of youthful vigor and experience make great SMM teams.

10th Myth – Some believe social media is 9 to 5 job

This is absolutely wrong. Internet is open 24/7/365, so make sure your marketing message impacts the social media world meaningfully, because there is switch-off at any given point of time. Post the right kind of content and see your consumer-base grow even, if when you are sleeping at night.

It is suggested for all businesses to register for accounts on the right social networking sites, even though they is surrounded by myths.

This is a new platform and people are still learning about different ways to leverage it. Have a strong strategy planned, before plunging on social media, in order to see great results.

Let me know by comment if i have left something or if you have a different perspective. All point of views are welcome.

Image courtesy to Luke Smith – http://www.flickr.com/photos/ljesmith/
Misconception-Dwaipayan.com

14 Misconceptions about Digital and Social Media Marketing

Misconception-Dwaipayan.com

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.

Instead:

  • 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.

  1. 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.

However, today:

  • 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.