Many small businesses have found success after using social media platforms to make people aware of their brand, products, or services. Live streaming apps like Periscope have allowed business owners to reach potential customers all over the world, while sites like Twitter let them communicate with followers in real time (in 140 characters or less, of course.) Seeing these success stories may prompt you to jump into creating your own social media campaign right away, but before you do, you will first have to dismiss some social media myths that may derail it from the start.
1. Blogging Is More Important Than Social Media
Once you have your website up and running, you might be tempted to spend a lot of time creating content for your blog instead of engaging in social media because you believe shareable content might have more impact. However, people do not visit blogs to read advertisements and press releases; they visit them in order to make a decision about whether they should purchase the product or service they already read about somewhere else.
When individuals visit your website, chances are they already know a little bit about your company via social media and are not going to dive into your blog for a long period of time. They will most likely read the “about” section at most before making their purchase. This does not mean that blogging is useless, as customers may bookmark your site for later reading, but equal time should be given to both social media and blogging.
2. Google Has Made Using SEO Irrelevant for Social Media
There are some business owners who believe that all the changes Google has made to its algorithms have made using search engine optimization (SEO) unnecessary for social media. However, ignoring SEO can spell disaster for your marketing campaign because, in reality, updates to Google Penguin and other algorithms like Panda now make Google capable of tracking reads and shares on social media sites, something that previous algorithms did not take into account when ranking sites.
While these updates may offer you an advantage by tracking social media shares, you may want to be very clear on the site’s updated guidelines. Business owners who do not use SEO in accordance with the guidelines Google has set up may be penalized or their sites might be moved from search results completely. While SEO for social media isn’t everything, creating quality content with effective keywords can still have quite a positive effect on your marketing campaign.
3. Every Business Needs a 24 Hours Social Media Presence
Because Google is now including social media SEO hits in their search results, you might believe you need to be present on every social media platform 24 hours a day to reach new customers. While having a presence on social media can help increase the visibility of your business, you should not count on it entirely. In fact, spending too much time on social media can actually drain valuable resources and deliver limited results.
For example, if you recently launched a photography business, then you should focus your social media efforts on sites that allow you to showcase your work and reach local customers. Sites such as Instagram, which allows you to share photos with your followers, and Facebook, which gives you the opportunity to share photos, videos, and other media, are both good choices. However, you shouldn’t feel the necessity to be present on all social media platforms because focusing on those that can give your company the biggest boost until you see some results may be the best course of action.
4. Customer Response Will Tell Me If My Campaign is Working
One of the biggest mistakes new business owners make is failing to use analytics to gauge whether their social media campaigns are working because they believe that customer response is more important than facts and figures. Others believe using analytics is a waste of time and that their focus needs to be elsewhere.
However, customer buzz and social media feedback simply cannot tell you how well a marketing tactic is working unless you track and measure it. There are a number of free online analytics tools that can help you gauge the success of your social media reads and shares and allow you to see whether you need to make some adjustments or if you are on the road to success with your social media accounts.
5. A Small Business Cannot Attract a Large Audience
While you should be realistic about how much impact social media can have on the success of your business, it is important to understand that the quality of what you post can affect how many followers you attract and that the size of your business should not restrict that. Some of the most successful social media campaigns include a blend of humor, brand awareness, and responsiveness, and it is possible for you to build the same kind of successful accounts.
One technique you can use to attract a larger audience is by using likes and shares. Not only will increasing engagement keep you from posting in a vacuum, potential customers and those who have used your products are more likely to share your posts when you do the same for them. This is especially useful when customers have lots of followers. Remember to reach out and thank customers who have made a purchase and offer tips, advice, and information to those who might be considering it.
6. You Must Always Be Formal
When it comes to building a large audience for a smaller business, keep in mind that being professional does not mean you always have to be formal with your posts. While spelling and grammar always count to make them more readable, you can inject a bit of fun and humor into them as well.
To illustrate how you might use this technique, consider Hamptoncreek, a San Francisco-based company that creates plant-based food items, and how the company uses humor on its Twitter account to promote recipes that include its products. One recent tweet read, “Chili today, hot tamale!” in reference to a video the company posted about how to make sweet potato tamales. It is engaging posts like these that have earned this small company that employs just over 100 people more than 64,000 followers on Twitter.
7. My Social Media Audience is Sedentary
If you believe that your social media followers are reading your posts from a home computer or as they laze around with a tablet, you may be doing a lot of harm to your business. Most people who use social media do so from their phone while they are on the go. In fact, sites such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are designed to allow users to check in from their current location.
If you have a brick-and-mortar storefront, this type of technology can help you draw customers to your door. Promote sales, special offers for local shoppers, and discounts from your social media accounts to attract those who live nearby or who are already out shopping.
While reaching customers and building a dedicated social media following takes time and effort, busting these seven myths can help put you on the path to long-term success.