In the modern business world, businesses endure reality - not myths. And as business, technology and communication constantly evolves, it becomes harder to keep up to date with the reality of social media and its usefulness in strategic marketing.
Social media is a powerful tool for any brand - but only when it is utilised correctly. With global connectivity, direct communication with customers and a greater sense of community, social media has fundamental points of difference that greatly exceeds the potential of other marketing channels. Yet with every great beast comes tales as old as time, and these tales - or myths - can lead people to avoid the beast rather than conquer it. So here we debunk eight common social media myths designed to help you realise your brand’s marketing potential.
1. My customers don’t use social media
Considering that Facebook has over 1 billion active users, at least one of them is bound to be interested in your brand. Whilst your target market may characteristically be less active on social media, finding ways to connect with them will increase their usage as they strive to keep up with their favourite brands. Similarly, some people claim that social media is only for young people - despite the fact that over 40% of Facebook users are over the age of 35. Your market is out there, no matter how big or small.
2. Join Every Network
Just like any strategy, your social media strategy should be targeted. Joining every social network will not only waste your time, but it will fail to reach your intended audience. Identify the social media channels preferred by your target market, and seek to target your approach and your content in order to capitalise upon those networks.
3. Social Media Doesn’t Benefit Bottom Line
Like with any marketing channel, your strategy and communications are designed to be a funnel. Strong social media marketing strategies have the power to generate new customers, influence the purchasing behaviour of existing customers and ultimately generate more sales. After all, your marketing campaigns should be seeking a return on investment.
4. It’s only for B2C
In the modern world, business customers also look to social channels when making purchasing decisions. Their wants and needs for social media are the same as B2C markets - they desire humanistic help and information that will benefit their purchasing behaviours and decisions. Do not neglect this element of social media strategy, and find ways to ensure your B2C customers still feel like they ‘are a part of it’.
5. Social Media Strategy is Independent
Branding consistency is key for marketing, and therefore your social media strategy must be conceptualised within a broader strategic context for maximum effectiveness. Failing to integrate social media with other marketing channels will prove a disconnect with the engagement of your customers, and neglects the potential benefits that multi-channel marketing can generate for a brand. Think holistically.
6. Results Can’t Be Measured
Every single post made on social media can be measured, using a broad range of metrics depending on your desired outcomes. This myth is commonly propagated due to marketers not accurately defining their objectives for each campaign. If you have the right tools and expertise, it is possible to measure it rather accurately.
7. Social Media is Free
On the surface of things, you are right - social media is free to join. But when utilised within a strategic marketing context, social media is not free if you wish to achieve your desired results. Just like any other marketing channel, adequate investment is required in order to comprehensively promote a marketing campaign and generate leads.
8. It’s Only to Attract New Customers
Gaining new customers and ‘followers’ of your brand is definitely an objective of social media marketing, however, it is not the sole reason. Your social media strategy should also be about building upon relationships with existing customers and turning them into loyal supporters of your brand. After all, your brand is only as strong as its following.