Social Media Myths bustedWritten by Helmut Watterott
Myth: I need thousands of followers to have any impact
There is no benefit to chasing large follower numbers simply to report large follower numbers. Actions such as buying followers or fans serves very little purpose beyond a personally satisfying high number. They won’t share your content, they won’t buy your services and they won’t recommend you to anyone else. I personally believe that it is better to have 50 people who are actively interested and engaged than 1,000 who have no interest in you.
Myth: I have to be on every social platform, and now!
Many companies create accounts and pages because they feel that they should, rather than because they have a clear purpose or goal. You can create an account for every social media website in the world, but if you can’t keep up with them they’re next to useless. If you’re creating accounts with the intention of using them as an RSS feed, then make sure you clearly link to your more active social media accounts or your website’s homepage so people don’t feel lost.
Make sure you outline a strategy before you start so that everyone involved is on the same page and you can see how social media will add value to your business.
Why do I need this channel and what will I use it for? (News, marketing and support are the most common)
What are my competitors doing?
How many people will be involved in setting up and running the channel and how will we develop a united presence?
How will I promote the channel and gain fans and followers?
How much time will be spent on each channel?
How will I develop ideas for content and discussions and keep the ball rolling?
How will I ensure the different channels work together rather than compete?
Where does my website fit in?
Myth: Our customers can talk about us – we’ll leave them to it
Done properly, social media is worth the time investment. But it’s all too obvious when someone’s making a half-hearted attempt, and you’re likely to invoke the same feelings in your followers. Social media is a golden opportunity to get customer feedback, interact with people who appreciate your work and get recommended – so make the most of it! Don’t just ask your followers how they are or send endless automated links into their feeds: get creative with contests, giveaways, debates, your take on relevant news, valuable or interesting pictures, videos and so on.
Give fans/followers something to respond and react to – don’t expect them to be responsible for starting discussions. You shouldn’t need to initiate every interaction, but always keep a list of ideas at the ready, or use related news stories as a springboard for discussion. Once you’ve got the conversation started, keep interaction going by asking individual users questions based on their responses.
Automating updates can save a lot of time, but there’s also the risk that you miss out on real-time interaction and discussion. Automating your Facebook updates is particularly dangerous as fans may hide the app you’re using to automate posts if another page is annoying them with it – and so potentially hiding all your messages as well.
Myth: You can’t measure social media ROI
It is strange that this is so often levelled at social media, especially when no marketing channel can be measured 100% accurately (and I’m including PPC in that too). Additionally, viewing each channel as a standalone silo and using a last click wins model to attribute sales to is old thinking. Modern, digital marketing is all about understanding the journey a customer goes on from awareness to sale. This will include multiple touch points and sometimes the same one more than once.
For example, if we use this customer journey: “Banner > Paid Search > Organic Search > Organic Search> Social > Direct.” “Direct” would be attributed the sale in an old fashioned last click wins model. Google Analytics has some fantastic reports to help quantify your social media’s impact on ROI. To see these reports log in to your Google Analytics account and go to:
Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Assisted Conversions
Conversions > Multi-Channel Funnels > Top Conversion Paths
Myth: One account to rule them all!
It’s important to establish a clear purpose for your social media channels from the beginning. As people are using them in a lot of different ways, you need to give your visitors a clear sense of what your particular channel is for/about. Your responses to users are highly likely to encourage more interaction in the same vein, so if someone asks a support question and you reply, your Twitter feed will turn into a support channel before you know it. If you retweet positive comments, then other users may well join in with their views. Being clear about the purpose behind your channel from the start will help you (and your customers) get the most out of it.