Social media marketing is the new face of advertising. Everyone’s doing it now, from Dunkin’ Donuts to the plumber down the street. But only a few social media marketing strategies work.
Why is it that some strategies go viral while others quietly disappear? Why is your competition’s social media campaign successful while yours is all but invisible? It’s probably because, over the past decade or so, you’ve fallen for the myths of social media marketing.
Social media marketing isn’t what it used to be. The platforms have changed drastically, as have the way people use them. But there are a few myths which are based in tenets from the launch of social media. Like cockroaches, they somehow still just keep hanging on.
Here are 7 myths of social media marketing, and how you can conquer them.
1. Social Media is a Marketing Tool
No, no and no again. Social media is precisely what its name implies: it’s social. Think about it. When you created your Facebook page, did you do so in order to be bombarded by ads from the companies you chose to follow? No!
You joined social media because you wanted to catch up with friends, share news of your own and occasionally check out promotions from businesses you “like.” Well, guess what? So did your customers.
Social media isn’t a marketing or a sales tool. Instead, use the platforms to chat with customers, share local news of interest and occasionally offer a discount or promotion to your followers. Instead of constantly posting advertising, try mixing it up. Post, say, 15% promotional content and 85% non-promotional.
2. You Need a Presence Across All the Platforms
If you’re reading this post, there’s a good chance you don’t have a social media department within your organization. There certainly are companies which do retain a full time staff to engage in social media. That’s not you.
Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. Facebook. LinkedIn. There are just too many social media platforms for you. You don’t have the time. Fortunately, you don’t need to find the time. Begin by limiting your social media presence to just one or two platforms. Say, Instagram and Facebook. You can always expand later.
Try this: if you have a business blog (you should!), utilize a plugin which will cross post your most recent blog posts to social media. Use those posts as a foundation for the social media platform you choose.
3. You Only Need to Post Once or Twice Each Day
Yes and no. Let me put it this way. One well timed post which establishes you as an industry expert and helps to develop your business brand is a thousand times better than two hundred posts which say nothing. In fact, those two hundred posts are a damn good way to get yourself blocked and unfollowed.
But one or two posts each day probably isn’t enough to build a following on social media. It’s not going to help you to tweet at 11 pm when you’re too tired to think. Your audience is too tired to read that tweet anyway.
You’ll need a mix of posts throughout the day. There are software programs which will analyze the “best time of day” to reach your audience, but you don’t necessarily even need those. Scatter your social media posts throughout the day, and be sure the content is meaningful.
4. You Can Curate Content for Social Media
But if you’ve read that article on “The Top Ten Vacation Spots for 2018,” there’s a good chance that others have as well. Instead of relying on the thoughts of others, create your own content to share. Again, you’ll prove yourself to be knowledgeable in your industry, and your readers will be directed to your brand instead of the competition’s.
If you’re not a strong writer, you may choose to hire a freelancer to write a few articles for you each week. Post those articles on your business website, and direct customers to them via social media.
5. You’ll Need to Use a Professional Voice
Nah. Not really. Again, social media is social, and it’s okay to be social. Your Facebook or Twitter account doesn’t have to be – and shouldn’t be – all business, all the time.
Use your social media account to engage with your customers. They want a response from you, so give it to them! Don’t make it about business; you can feel free to chat about that free concert series downtown, or the celebrity wedding televised last night. Stay away from politics and religion, and you’ll see your social media following grow.
6. You’ll Need a Lot of Followers
I’ve said it before: never pay for followers. Nine times out of ten they’re not real people. Having bots as “friends” will do nothing for your business, and it will likely hurt your credibility.
First, those “followers” will end up spamming your real followers. That’s a sure-fire way to get yourself blocked from the social media accounts of your true fans.
Secondly, you’ll suffer from a low engagement score. It may look great to have 5,000 followers on your Twitter account, but your engagement rate will be abysmal.
Finally, you’ll lose credibility. Invariably and inevitably, someone will find out that you bought your social media love. Don’t risk the integrity and reputation of your company.
7. Use Hashtags as Often as You Can
Which looks more professional to you?
Make sure you use relevant #hashtags to increase your social media #engagement. Otherwise you’ll look unprofessional.
Make sure you use #relevant #hashtags to #boostengagement on your #socialmedia platforms. Using too many is an #epicfail. #smallbusiness #freelancing #northcarolina
Don’t use too many hashtags in your posts. It not only makes them difficult to read, but it’ll also make you look childish and unprofessional. Tag only what’s necessary and relevant, and your engagement will increase.