Excellent! Read Evanne Schmarder’s 5 Social Media Marketing Myths: Busted on the Huffington Post yesterday:

Myth 1: Social media marketing is free.

Yes and no. It’s true that you can sign up and create a profile on popular platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Tumblr, and Pinterest for free. However, a monetary value must be placed on the time spent to develop the platform and the creation and implementation of an online social media strategy.

The truth is that time is money, and engagement takes time. Your persona needs to be developed and nurtured and constantly tuned and pruned.

Myth 2: I’ll get a neighborhood teenager to handle my social networking, they know the ‘net.

Your social media communications plan must be as carefully crafted as any of your other marketing efforts. Not only should you not cede responsibility of your social media messaging to some young hipster that goes to school with your kid, you should tightly monitor all social media messages that come from your business or your brand.

Kids are great for coding and setup and such. But your online business persona is you and your business combined. You need somebody with judgment and experience if you aren’t going to do it yourself.

Myth 3: If I get involved in social media marketing the ‘haters’ will hijack my marketing message.

Guess what, whether you are using social media or not, people are talking about their experience with your business. Creating a social media presence allows you to monitor what’s being said and offers you the opportunity to publically respond to less than favorable comments, winning the customer (and others that may have been swayed by the negative post) back.

The problem is not being there engaged in the conversation doesn’t mean they aren’t talking about you. It does mean that you don’t know it. Evanne cites the 2011 Harris Interactive/Right Now Customer Experience Impact Report to say that what matters is how you handle complaints more than the fact that people are complaining.

Of the dissatisfied customers that post a complaint and receive a response, the study showed that 46 percent were pleased and 22 percent went on to post a positive comment about the business.

Myth 4: I built a Facebook page therefore I’m a social media marketer.

My response is a sarcastic “yeah, right.” And a blog post titled Social Media is Littered with Business Carcasses. Evanne says:

Social media marketing — on Facebook and elsewhere — is not a ‘set it and forget it’ tool. It takes commitment, tenacity, time, and strategy to identify the best platforms for your business, consistently engage your target market, and develop business-driving relationships.

Myth 5: Using ‘friend-farms’ to buy ‘likes’ and ‘followers’ will build my business.

Fat chance. Evanne says:

It’s the same as sending a promotional email to an unqualified list. It’s dead on arrival, no matter how many addresses you send it to. You’d be much better served building your following by sharing relevant content, interesting news, and an occasional marketing message.

Social media is a powerful tool, fun, and worth the effort. But it’s also a great generator of myth.

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