Social media has been around for years, so it should be easy to figure out how to leverage it, right?
In part it is true, but things get complicated by all the misinformation circulating about social media marketing. From leveraging tactics to tracking issues, you are bombarded with conflicting messages, including whether social media marketing is worth using at all.
Here are 7 lies about social media marketing you probably believe:
Lie #1: The more followers you have, the better off you are
The game of numbers does not apply to Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn. These social networks are smart. If you have followers that aren’t engaged, the algorithms these sites use will make sure very few people see your message.
A perfect example of this is a Facebook fan page I started sometime ago called Gym Junkies.
Anytime a post goes up on that fan page, it typically receives over 2,000 likes and 300 plus shares. That’s too not bad, considering the page only has 93,695 fans.
There is another fan page on Body Building Tips and Tricks, and it has over one million fans. Can you guess how many likes and shares it gets when new content gets posted?
The good posts typically get 800 plus likes and around 50 shares. It’s nothing to brag about, considering the page has over a million fans.
What would you rather take? More followers or an engaged audience that’s ten times smaller? I hope you’d pick the engaged audience. Social sites look at how much traction your post generates in relation to the number of followers you have. If the ratio is good, they will start showing your content to more people outside of your circle.
That’s how you generate more traffic: focus on getting the right followers who will become your engaged audience.
Lie #2: Social sharing buttons will get you more shares
Did you know that adding social sharing buttons to your site will get you more traffic?
Although it sounds right, in most cases it isn’t true. Sure, for blogs, social sharing buttons work great because people love reading educational content.
But adding social sharing buttons to most sites will actually hurt them. Why? Because people don’t want to share your product pages or your about page. By placing buttons on those pages, you’ll just distract your visitors and decrease your conversion rates.
Just look at the image above from Add This. Do you really want to tweet out this about page? Or share it on your Facebook wall? Probably not.
Heck, these guys even add social sharing buttons to their Terms of Service Page.
Considering that they are the 197th most popular site in the world, according to Alexa, and they offer social media tools, you would think they would generate more social shares than other sites. But a quick Twitter search reveals that no one has shared their terms of service page.
That should prove to you that adding social sharing buttons to pages that no one cares about won’t help you generate more traffic, but it will distract people.
The best place to add social media buttons is your blog. People will share great content, assuming it is free. But don’t expect them to share your lead generation, product, about, or services pages.
Lie #3: Social media traffic doesn’t convert well
If social media traffic didn’t convert, do you think Facebook would be worth over a 100 billion dollars? And it’s not just Facebook. LinkedIn is worth over 20 billion dollars, and Twitter is worth over 30 billion dollars.
These companies are worth a lot of money because their user base spends money. The users spend enough money to make advertising on these sites profitable.
I’m not saying you need to start spending money on paid social ads, but you should leverage these sites because their visitors do convert.
Just look at the image above. You will see the number of conversions TimothySykes.com received from Facebook. A hundred and forty three conversions from Facebook in one month isn’t that bad, considering it takes less than an hour to post images, quotes and status updates on Facebook. It netted the company a bit more than $26,000. To top it off, not a dollar was spent on Facebook ads.
Not only does social media traffic convert, but you can also measure that conversion. By setting up goals within your Google Analytics, you can see how much each of these social sites is generating for you.
Lie #4: Everyone should be leveraging social media
The biggest lie I hear about social media marketing these days is that everyone should be leveraging it. Although I wish it were true, social media isn’t a good fit for everyone.
For example, Palantir is a company you probably haven’t heard of even though they have raised $896 million. Why haven’t you heard of them? Because most of their income and revenue comes from government contracts.
Sure, they are on Twitter and Facebook. They even have a blog. But none of those things help them bring in revenue. A lot of what they do isn’t public, and never can be, due to their government contracts.
Social media won’t really help a company like this. All it can do is potentially make them look cool and hip and maybe help them recruit young talent.
There are some businesses that just aren’t cut out for the social web.
If your business doesn’t rely on income from the web (and you have no plans to change that), social media may not be a good fit for you. You can still leverage it as a recruiting tool or as a way to communicate with unsatisfied customers, but you are probably better off investing your time and energy into a different channel.
Lie #5: You need to participate on a daily basis
If you have great information to share on a daily basis, that’s awesome. You should use the social web on a daily basis.
But if you don’t, then consider using it less frequently.
Focus on creating high quality updates and interactions instead of being on these social sites because you have to. Posting on a daily basis doesn’t guarantee your success, and it won’t necessarily make your social accounts more popular.
If you look at the numbers, participating on the social media on a daily basis can actually hurt you. For example, do you know how frequently you should be posting on Facebook to maximize your reach? If you are thinking daily, you are wrong. Posting once every 2 days is the ideal frequency.
If you have something great to say or share, then post it on the social site of your choice. But if you don’t, then avoid posting.
Lie #6: What works for B2B companies won’t work for B2C companies
Every time I give a speech about social media marketing, someone from the audience says, “Those tactics look great for companies who target other businesses, but what should I do if I have a consumer-based company?”
Whether you have a consumer-based or business-facing company, you use the same tactics. From sharing great information to responding to people who have questions to promoting your own products and services, the tactics are identical.
For example, at KISSmetrics we tweet marketing-related content that helps other businesses.
Walmart, who targets consumers, tweets content that helps consumers, e.g, how to avoid bear attacks when camping.
As you can see, it doesn’t matter if your target audience is a business or a consumer. What works for one usually works for the other.
Lie #7: You should ignore negative feedback
The worst thing you can do is ignore negative feedback. If someone isn’t happy with you or your company, you shouldn’t ignore that person. Instead, you should embrace the criticism and try to improve.
Just look at Comcast. They even have a Twitter channel dedicated to support. Every time anyone tweets something negative about them, they apologize and try to help. It doesn’t matter if it is their fault or not, they are continually trying to improve.
Every time I tweet something negative about Comcast, I get a phone call within an hour. The company’s customer service fixes whatever issues I am experiencing and typically gives me a discount or a credit for the inconvenience.
Sure, you may be thinking they respond because I have over 100,000 followers, but they also respond to people like my sister, who doesn’t have even a few thousand followers. They offer her the same apology and incentives as they offer me.
Although Comcast’s service is terrible and their support isn’t great, I stick with them because I do feel they try to improve every time I give them negative feedback.
As a business owner, you should embrace negative feedback. Respond to it, and try to solve the problem without getting emotional. It will help your business get better.
There are a lot of misconceptions about social media marketing. Just because you read something in a blog post or hear something from a credible source doesn’t mean it is true.
Always do your own research, and try to improve. Social media marketing is here to stay, and it can drive a lot of business for you, assuming you are leveraging it correctly.
What other lies about social media marketing do you hear?