If you are an experienced social marketer you know the realities of social media. You know what it takes to achieve results. You know there is no quick fix or magic pill to results. You know that buying Facebook fans, Facebook likes, clicks, or Twitter followers is not going to help you meet business goals.
What about you new kids on the block? I work with many of you so I know how you feel and what is keeping you up at night. I know the questions you ask. I know the lies you are being told or the assumptions you are making that are far from truthful.
The purpose of this post is to highlight some of these myths, lies and false hopes that may be keeping you from results. This post is not meant for those who can write a book on each topic. It is targeted to the newbies to social media, the business leaders who may know how to rock traditional marketing and other mediums but are struggling with integrating social media into business.
Your worth on this planet is not measured by a high Klout score or 100,000 Twitter followers!
Just because you do not know the first thing about social media, social business, social listening, campaigns, reputation management and monitoring, building a social brand or even how to tweet, does not mean you are any less of a person than the guy or gal with 100k Twitter followers. There are many who are still new to social. Please know you are not alone. You are not too late to the social bus. You might as well get on, grab a seat and get started on the right route to success!
15 Social Media Lies, Myths & Fairy Tales
1. Social Media is Free. Yes, setting up a Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn profile are free. Nope, you don’t have to pay to tweet, post updates all day or follow people. However, you must get real with the time spent. If you are getting ready to engage in social media for business please acknowledge right here, right now that it is going to cost you money, not make you money initially. The goal is to integrate social into your business where it can eventually help you meet your business goals and objectives. Do you really think you can do anything for free that is going to help you meet business objectives? Time is money and money is not free.
2. Same tactics work because social media is just like traditional marketing and advertising. Sorry Charlie but you can not split your corporate collateral from 1982 into 100 tweetable nuggets and expect to be a social rockstar by July 4th! Yes, social media can be simply another form of marketing, communication and methods to build relationships. However, it is a very different medium. Social is about building relationships and having a relevant conversation. The days of only using one to many communications blasting noise and little value are coming to an end. Your audiences demand more.
3. No need to plan, just be social. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We have several clients who one year ago went with a different, less expensive agency or consultant. Those agencies didn’t require them to first do the research to understand who their audience is and the best way they can provide value in a way that maps back to both the objectives of the audience as well as the business. Instead, they put them directly on the tweet streams, Facebook walls and told them to start posting. All of them have come back to us stating they made a mistake and that they wasted an entire year of trying to take the easy way out. They now realize that they need to do what we told them to do from the start, which is to understand their audience, set goals and objectives and build a plan to get there.
4. Random Acts of Marketing are good. If your project, task, or campaign is not in the budget, doesn’t have goals or specifics on how you are going to measure results, then it is a Random Act of Marketing (RAM) or Random Act of Social Media (RASM)! Random acts of anything to do with your business are not good and they will eat any positive return before you can get out the calculator!
5. Social business integration can come later. Wrong. Social media is more than a Facebook page, “follow us on Facebook” button or page of tweets. If you want to inspire and connect with your communities in a way that will bring both them and you results then you are going to have to get into the head of your audience, clients, partners and stakeholders. You must determine how you can help them achieve their goals. How can you map your services, products to their needs and provide value leveraging the social networks? The better you can integrate social media into your business sales, customer service, and marketing processes, the better you will be able to connect with and serve your clients.
6. Social media must consume your life. Once you start tweeting you need not say goodbye to your business, social or family life. It’s all about boundaries. Check out this article “21 Tips to Balance Social Media Addiction, Tweets, Life & Real Work!” for some tips on how to balance it all.
7. The corner office will never buy into social media. If you are having a hard time getting the corner office or C-suite to buy off on social media, you must stop selling and deliver real data. Talk to them in words they understand and that bring value to the business. If you only talk about followers, likes and retweets, chances are you’ll get kicked out of the board room as fast as you can hit the retweet button. Do your research and have a plan for how you can integrate social media into the business over a period of time, not overnight. Check out this post for some tips “24 tips To get the CEO Corner Office to Say Yes to Social Media.”
8. Must tweet what you ate for lunch. This should come as a relief to some of you who have bad dreams about having to share your boring salad or triple stack burger you eat for lunch. Trust me your followers will thank you for not doing such on a regular basis!
9. If you don’t know what to tweet, just spam. If you want to inspire and connect with your audiences then you must take the time to know them. Develop a content plan and editorial calendar that will help you create content that will help your audience meet their objectives. Not knowing what to tweet or post on Facebook is not an excuse to spam! Check out this video for some tips on how to identify if you are a real life spammer! Video: “Are You Spamming or Providing Value?”
10. Your offline brand can be executed as is online. Just because your brand palette has the mauve color your founder chose 20 years ago, it doesn’t mean you have to use it as a core color on all of your online and digital marketing assets. PLEASE hire a professional agency or consultant who can help you develop a social brand that represents your business and brand identity but does not look like it should be the shower curtain on the “Leave it To Beaver Show!”
11. Quantity before quality. If a social media consultant tries to sell you on the fact you need tens of thousands of followers to earn credibility, tell them to go jump in a tweet lake. Do your research and know that you get what you pay for. Five hundred organic followers that you earn with ethical practices including great content is far better than 10,000 you pay for that are never going to take a second look at your status updates! Check out this post for a real life example of “Social Media Consultant Gone Bad… Real Bad!”
12. Your audience is not on social. I hear many business leaders state this. Yet when I ask them if they have done the research to back up their statement, nine times out of ten, they have not. So if you think your audience is not on social media I challenge you to do the double click and research if your assumed statements are true. My bet is they aren’t. At minimum there are probably influencers and strategic partners in your business ecosystem that are actively engaged in social media in some capacity.
13. You’re so far behind you must get there overnight or you’ll never catch up. Don’t even think twice about believing these statements if someone threatens you with such. Yes, you are falling behind, but no you are not left behind so much you need to give up or put everything in your business aside to get on Facebook. Slow down, take a deep breath. Chances are Facebook will still be there next month. What’s another thirty days? You have been without Facebook this long, you might as well take the time to plan, know your audience, map objectives and develop content that will connect you with the right folks. Download our free audience analysis and objectives worksheet.
14. Social buzz is a good measurement of results. Don’t get caught up in the social buzz of your inner circle of partners, employees and high school friends as false success. Check out this article where I discuss in full detail. “Social Media Buzz, The False Perception of Social Business Success”
15. The heartbeat of social is not people, it’s technology. Wrong. Yes, social media will not work without technology. However, social media will not work without people. You can create the best Facebook page, Twitter background, blog site, website or custom mobile application. However, unless you have a plan for how you are going to inspire and connect with your audiences, then it’s all for nothin’! The businesses and leaders who are seeing the greatest success are the ones who learn this early on. You can never go wrong by investing in people.
Do any of these sound familiar? Were any of them things that you once believed and they held you back? What other myths or fairy tails were you fooled by? What advice can you offer others who are still trying to figure out all the social mumbo jumbo?
Get a Grip on Social Media:
This is the 8th in a series titled “How to Get a Grip on Social Media.” The series will include a free newsletter, webinars, whitepapers, tips and best practices to get a handle on your business and social media.
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