"Social media is easy for generating sales."
"Automating my social media is a doddle."
"Buying followers will help increase my company’s presence online."
These statements are unfortunately all too common within the world of social media marketing. Many small businesses jump straight into social media with false pretences that can make them fall over the first hurdle. While others shy away from any form of social media, thinking it’s a platform only useful for the biggest of companies.
I’m here to help you remove those thoughts from your head and squash dead the biggest of myths that may be hindering your ability to compete within the social media space.
1. Having social media accounts will automatically generate me sales
Of course the very first step to social media success is to actually have social media accounts. But having this is the bare minimum. You will have to put in the work. Generating leads and sales from social media requires a pre-planned strategy. You will have to offer something of value to potential customers for them to even consider you.
2. I can just automate all my social media activity and find success
Automation within social media does have its pros and cons, but you should definitely not rely solely on it. Juggling multiple accounts across a multitude of networks can be very time consuming, but automating all your activity will result in questionable results.
Social media requires a lot of engagement and relationship building and you cannot do this with any form of automation. Use 3rd party programs to help you schedule content for timely distribution and interact with customers and potential leads in real-time.
3. Buying followers/likes can be worthwhile
The first time you look at your freshly made social media account can make you feel like you’ve undertaken an impossible task. A feeling that may make you think buying followers or likes will be a good idea. But think again.
While having thousands of likes compared with 100 may look good, in hindsight those 1000 likes could be detrimental to your page and image. Fake likes generate zero engagement and will make your page very suspicious looking. If you wish to promote your social media pages, do it the proper way by going through the channels provided by each social network. You may spend more than anticipated, but you will be gathering a fan base of real people.
4. My older target market customers aren’t on social media
While you may initially think social media is dominated by young people, you’d be happy to know that the older generations have been growing rapidly in population on social media over the last few years.
According to reports, the 55+ age group gained the largest growth over the past year. The older generations are definitely embracing social media as a connection and discovery tool. Excluding this demographic could seriously hinder your chances of success on social media.
5. The more I post on social media, the greater my returns
Initially, it may seem like a great idea to post as much as you can in order to reach more and more people. But this can be detrimental to your page as a whole. Your current fans may be put off your business if you post too frequently by you essentially clogging up their social feed. Equally, potential fans may decide you post too much even before they start to follow your accounts.
Posting too frequently becomes increasingly worrying when you talk about Facebook. Facebook’s algorithms distribute your post to a small fraction of people who like your page. Based on the initial results of this, your post will then be distributed to more of your fans if the results are positive. So if your posts are receiving next to no engagement, your future posts will be distributed to less and less people. The key is quality over quantity.
6. I need to be active on every social media platform
With so many social media platforms out there, being active on all of them as a small business will be a waste of valuable resources. It’s best to do your research on your target audience and learn where they like to hangout online.
From Pinterest to LinkedIn, the demographics of social networks to one another vary quite drastically. Knowing your audience will enable you to effectively choose which social networks to pursue.
7. If my post doesn’t go viral, it’s not worth it
Large companies have masses of resources behind them which can ultimately help their content go viral. For the majority, large companies also have a huge following on social media already which definitely helps boost their virality.
For smaller businesses, your goals have to be realistic. Aim to provide a steady stream of quality content that provides value to your fans. By consistently providing quality and valuable content, your fan base will steadily grow.
8. I cannot properly measure my investment on social media
There is a terrible stigma around social media and ROI (return on investment). Many people believe you cannot properly measure ROI which lends social media to be worthless to businesses (especially small businesses). But that is simply not the case.
With the right know how, you too can learn how effective your social media campaigns are. With such tools as Facebook’s conversion measurement, and Google Analytics URL Builder, understanding and quantifying your businesses ROI will be easier. For an in-depth guide into social media ROI, take a look at Social Media Examiner’s take on it.
9. Negative feedback? I can just ignore it
We all enjoy positive feedback, especially on social media where it’s so public for potential customers to see. But when we receive negative feedback, many businesses choose to ignore it hoping no one else will see it. But the truth is, people will see it and it may have an effect on their decision whether to do business with you or not.
Instead of shying away from negative feedback, take the time to embrace it instead. Use it as an opportunity to help customers and grow as a business. By acting professionally and in a helpful manner, you will be seen as a business that takes their customer’s views seriously and respect criticism. Not only may you help solve a problem with an existing customer expressing their concerns, you may also help future customers that may have a similar problem.
10. I can hand over the company’s social media reins to the new young and hip intern
Just because the new intern says he/she has a Facebook account and knows the ins and outs of Twitter, it doesn’t mean that they are qualified to run your businesses accounts. The internet is rife with examples of companies failing in social media due to their inability to act in a professional manner.
Your social media accounts will be seen as the voice of you and your company, so be sure what you post on social media is how you want to be portrayed to the world.
Small businesses doing it right
While becoming a huge success on social media as a small business may seem like a very daunting challenge, you’ll be glad to know it can be done. With innovative strategies and consistent quality, here are a couple of examples that truly shows small business can make it big in the hugely competitive world of social media.
With a business model of creating top of the line gourmet cupcakes and with 100s of flavours available, Katherine and Sophie Kallinis took to social media to help propel their business to new heights.
How you ask? By offering free cupcakes of course. Each day they post an unlisted flavour of cupcake on their Facebook and Twitter, and the first 100 customers to walk into one of their locations and order the promotional cupcake by name gets one for free.
Today's FREE (not-on-menu) flavor is #DCCupcakes CARAMEL HAZELNUT! Order it by name & it's FREE! 100/location, 1/customer!— Georgetown Cupcake (@GTownCupcake) February 15, 2015
A simple strategy in design, but executed perfectly to help create an army of social media cupcake lovers eagerly awaiting their next post about their new secret cupcake flavour.
With only one physical location present, Burger Revolution are sure making a lot of noise.
Burger Revolution are also very active on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and they love to connect with their customers. Having the opportunity to take photos of delicious looking burgers is a winning social media formula in itself, but coupled with #CommentOfTheDay and their Burger of the Month, they are able to generate a real buzz.
#CommentOfTheDay lets customers write rave reviews of their Burger Revolution experience in exchange for the chance that their comment will be shared across their social media accounts.
Burger is the Month offers those most dedicated burger eaters to submit their own burger creations. If successful, the winning burger creation will be sold throughout the month and pictures galore will be displayed.
Social media marketing is awash with myths that can put people off for good. Today’s article has hopefully quashed those thoughts and given you a new outlook on social media and how it can be useful for your business, providing you apply the right effort and know-how.