Social media isn't a fad. I know I keep saying that, but I still keep hearing businesses ask “if” they need to be on social media, let alone looking seriously at how they should be engaged with their customers on social media!
But it's common knowledge in business and marketing that you go where your customers are. That's a pretty basic idea in marketing, right?
So if a Forbes report from the summer is right, and approximately 50% of the population uses Facebook and 37% uses Twitter, you would think that is where businesses – and their leaders would want to be, right?
But, get this – that same Forbes.com post reported that only 7.6 percent of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are on Facebook. Only 4 percent use Twitter. And less than 1 percent of Fortune 500 CEO's use Google+!
Somewhat predictably, there is one platform, LinkedIn, where CEOs are slightly ahead of their customers. Approximately 26% of Fortune 500 CEOs use LinkedIn, while only 20.15 percent of the general population has a LinkedIn profile.
Do you see the disconnect here?
CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are spending time, money and resources where their customers aren't. They are definitely not spending time where their customers overwhelmingly want to interact with their favorite brands and the people associated with them. Serving your audience where they want to connect with you makes sense to me, how about you?
What does this mean for the ways that CEOs understand social media and how it works?
It means that more likely than not, many, many CEOs are still working under some powerful misconceptions about how social media marketing works. And oftentimes, CEOs' beliefs, mistaken or otherwise, have a way of running downhill through layers of management and supervisors, don't they? <grin> And these misconceptions can be very dangerous to a brand!
Here are the top 5 myths that your supervisor, manager, or CEO likely believes about social media, along with some strategies to enlighten them.
1. Myth: Social Media Is Free, Right?
This is the most common fantasy about social media out there – that it is free, just because there is no cost to set up an account on social media. This is a huge myth! Establishing your business on one or more social media networks takes an investment of financial and human capital.
Truth: It is true that social media marketing aka inbound marketing, costs less per lead than traditional outbound marketing. According to Hubspot, social media costs an average of 60% less than traditional outbound marketing. In order to leverage your efforts, make sure to connect your marketing strategies, traditional and social. Use your other marketing efforts to promote your social presence, and use your social presence to promote your traditional marketing efforts.
2. Myth: Social Media Is A Great Place to Sell, Sell, Sell!
Using your social media platforms as a broadcast only platform (blasting your customers with your products, specials, etc., in an effort to get them to buy) is the quickest way to lose people's attention on social media. No one likes to be sold and using social media to blast people with your offer in the hopes of getting a quick return on investment (ROI) is the best way to lose brand favorability as well as followers (and your hopes of profiting from your investment)!
Truth: Social media absolutely sells ‘stuff’ but you have to start with serving and engaging your audience first. Lead with value, a service based culture and the sales will follow.
3. Myth: We Can Just Copy Our Facebook Marketing to Twitter
Copying your social media presence across platforms or from traditional marketing to social media is another proven strategy to drive away your customers! People are very savvy today and they can see that the message and medium don’t mesh and they'll engage with your competitor.
Truth: Get to know your audience. This requires the valuable skill of listening to your customers. Once you have established a good knowledge of your customers, use a content planner for each platform to plan content that will work for each social platform.
4. Myth: If We're Not on Social Media, We'll Avoid Bad Publicity
Many brands have heard the horror stories of Tweets gone awry and other social media mishaps.
Truth: Social media mishaps are just PR mishaps that happen to take place on social media. The real truth is that PR mishaps will happen; they can be a part of the cost of doing business. Having a proactive, customer-oriented focus on social media gives you the means of dealing with them transparently and effectively, much faster than if you have no social presence to begin with. People don’t mind you making mistakes, they mind when you don’t take care of them honestly and transparently.
5. Myth: We Can Pre-plan All Our Content To Save Time & Money on Social Media.
If only it were this easy! While pre-planning content can be a viable part of a larger social media strategy, having all pre-planned content puts you back in the category of a broadcaster, not of a brand that is effectively engaged with your audience. And when you are just broadcasting, your audience tends to tune you out over time.
Truth: Effective social media management takes social engagement. Take time throughout the day to engage with your customers, listening to their comments, praise, and criticism, and respond to each in a personable, transparent manner.
Your management team may still be clinging to these happy myths of social media management, but the result of doing business with them could cost your company time, money, and your hard earned reputation as fast as you can say “Tweet this.” Educate your company with the above social media truths and let the value of social media marketing work for you!
Are there other myths about social media marketing that your CEO, supervisor or co-workers are clinging to?