Social media isn’t just an optional marketing channel for businesses anymore; it’s a necessity. In fact, many owners and executives agree that including it in their advertising strategies is essential. However, there are still many misconceptions, incorrect ideas, and false advice making rounds online. Consequently, these social media marketing strategies are rarely effective and don’t deliver expected results. There are several social media myths surrounding business marketing, and it’s about time they get debunked.
Myth #1: Your Clients Are Not on Social Media
It’s one of the most common arguments social marketers hear. “You won’t be able to reach my customers through social media.”
Statistically, over 22.89 million South Africans are using social media every day, and that number is projected to grow to almost 27 million in a few short years. Many active users range between 18 – 44 years old, although seniors are also starting to use them more often.
With numbers like these, it’s highly probable that your potential clients are on social media – you just need to find out which one. That brings us to another interesting, but incredibly false myth:
Myth #2: Your Business Needs to Be on All Social Platforms Immediately
It really doesn’t. In fact, by joining too many at once, you’ll lose time and resources on platforms that offer you little to no ROI. You won’t have the time to create a cohesive marketing strategy for each, either, which will cost you even more in the long run.
In South Africa, YouTube and Facebook are the most popular platforms, with Instagram trailing not far behind. Twitter is widely used by businesses. However, it’s ideally used as a way to interact with existing clients, rather than generating new ones.
Take the time to find out where your audience spends their time and focus your marketing efforts accordingly.
Myth #3: Avoid Negative Reviews and Mentions
If you want to ruin your chances of building a positive online presence and brand appearance, avoid negative feedback on social media platforms.
There’s always at least one unhappy client, and as your business grows in popularity, you’ll eventually end up getting a few poor reviews. Ignoring these comments won’t make them go away either. In fact, by avoiding them, you allow negative feedback to fester online, possibly scaring away new clients.
When you encounter poor reviews and feedback, respond strategically and quickly. Taking action can stop the negative comments from gaining traction while showing that you’re a company that cares about customer experience and quality service.
Avoiding social platforms won’t help, either. There will still be negative reviews posted online; you won’t be in a position to respond.
Myth #4: Free is Good Enough
Why pay for ads and clicks when you can post for free? That seems to be the common idea for many businesses when they start including social media in their business marketing strategies. While the goal is always to reach your audience organically, you can’t always get the results you want without pay-per-click campaigns.
Myth #5: Add Several Hashtags to Everything
Hashtags are powerful tools, especially when you match them to stable trends or trending topics. These tags are tools, and, unless you’re creating a specific campaign or brand hashtag, coming up with your own won’t do you much good.
Instead, find topics that people look for that match your brand. For example, if you’re selling coffee beans, you could use top tags like #coffeelover and #coffeetime to appeal to your audience on Instagram. On Facebook, however, you may not need to add a hashtag at all.
If you don’t need one, don’t add one.
Myth #6: Social Media is for New Customers Only
Did you know that most of your followers on social media are likely already your customers? Don’t try to convert every person who follows or shares your content into a buyer. Instead, take advantage of their reach now extending your own.
Remember, by gaining more followers, you gain access to their networks. While they might not be part of your ideal demographic, people they know might be. Take advantage of the opportunity to reach a wider audience.
Myth #7: Always Post About Products
What do you do when an unwanted advertisement pops up on your Facebook feed? For most of us, it’s an annoying but tolerable occurrence. Now, what if you kept seeing these product-pushing posts from the same company appear repeatedly? Just unfollow the page or block the ads, and the problem is solved.
It’s a normal reaction to sales-y posts, and if that’s how you react to advertisements, why should potential clients have a different response? People want to see things they find informational, entertaining, or emotional.
Fill your page with that, and sprinkle in the occasional and creative product or service post. Do that, and you’ll be far better equipped to create buying interest in a modern social media audience.
Myth #8: Always Be Professional and Serious
Some of the most popular brands on social media are those who are interactive and relatable. They post creative, engaging content that makes consumers want to get involved.
For example, Old Spice frequently shares witty one-liners that appeal to their audience in a fun and hilarious way. Some brands post jokes, and others share challenges, insults, and even a few risqué innuendos. It’s all about what appeals to your audience.
If you’re a professional brand, then, by all means, be serious. However, if you’re trying to draw the attention of a trendy young crowd or the rugged hunter and mountaineer, you’ll just drive your audience away.
Myth #9: You’ll Always Get Excellent ROI
Even when you do everything right, you might still not get the results you want or expect. You can improve your chances by being consistent, monitoring your result and analytics, and sticking to best practices. However, always try to have realistic expectations.
The Truth About Social Media Marketing for Business
Despite having been around for years, social media is still often misunderstood or misused by business marketers. There are several poor tips available online, while others are misleading or completely incorrect. It’s important to understand which practices will boost your marketing, and which ones are simply social media myths. Choose your platforms and content carefully, creating posts that appeal to your audience. Use hashtags sparingly, and don’t be afraid to fork out a few Rands on an occasional paid campaign. Most importantly, have realistic expectations and be consistent. Eventually, your efforts will pay off.