Not everyone things social media marketing is effective or even worth their consideration. But evidence has shown that it's an essential part of any inbound marketing strategy. Here are a few myths that need to be dispelled.
These days, you can't get online without seeing some form of social media marketing. Some businesses are still unsure if social media marketing actually drives in more customers.
In some cases, a business may have been present on social media for years but they still aren’t seeing the results they expected. Other businesses may be reluctant to even try social media because they don’t think it works. There’s a lot of buzz about the benefits of social media marketing online, but there are also plenty of social media marketing myths that need to be dispelled.
The truth is, social media marketing works if it’s done well. According to Social Media Examiner, a whopping 90% of marketers said that social media was important to their businesses in 2016.
Having a presence on social media is essential for businesses, if only because of the alternative: not being present on social media at all. In fact, HubSpot reported that 92% of marketers say their social media efforts generated more exposure for their businesses. Customers are searching for their favorite brands and businesses online, and not just through Google.
For businesses that are still on the fence about the benefits of social media marketing, here the answers to 7 of the most common concerns:
1. My Customers Don't Use Social Media
B2B businesses often believe social media marketing myths like this one. They just don't think their customers are online.
The reality is, 65% of American adults use social media today and 76% of all active internet users are on social media, according to the Pew Research Center. While young adults use social media more than anyone else (90%), usage among older adults has continued to climb as well.
Today, most businesses have some sort of social media presence, even if their employees just have profiles on LinkedIn.
2. It Won’t Give Me a Significant ROI
Some businesses are reluctant to add social media to their marketing strategy. They don’t believe it will give them a significant ROI. In rare cases, businesses will see a massive, immediate boost to their lead generation by diving into social media marketing, but social media marketing usually takes time before businesses see results.
Those results are significant, however. A majority of marketers who used social media for three years or more reported that social media marketing helped improve sales.
3. Social Media is Difficult to Monitor
Every social media marketing effort can be monitored easily, as long as the right tools are available. Monitoring tools offered by companies like Hootsuite, Hubspot, and others allow marketers to separate each platform and track changes over time.
They can even show how many leads a business has generated from social media platforms, the number of followers gained each month, and which posts have been most effective.
Social Media monitoring is easy with the right reporting structure. In fact, you can monitor social media in just 10 minutes a day:
4. Social is Free, So It Can’t Be Effective
True, social media platforms are all free to sign up for, even for businesses. But social media marketing takes time to strategize and implement. Posts have to be designed and scheduled out, content must be curated, and new strategies require brainstorming sessions. A successful social media campaign takes more than a few posts here and there. It takes a marketing team. Time is valuable, but concerted time invested in social media marketing can bring businesses clear results.
5. I Should Get On Every Platform
This is one of the most common social media marketing myths. Posting on every platform might not be a bad idea for large businesses that market to a huge audience or the general public. For small to mid-sized businesses, it’s usually a better idea to pick a few of the most lucrative platforms and focus on them exclusively.
The trick is choosing the right platforms.
For example, B2B companies should usually focus on LinkedIn to drive more leads. LinkedIn is built for professional networking, so businesses are more likely to find an audience on LinkedIn that actually needs their product or service. B2C companies will probably see better results by marketing on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram because they get more use by consumers.
6. I Can’t Get Any Followers
Measuring success only by followers is one of the most common social media marketing myths. These metrics won’t necessarily contribute directly to leads and sales. It’s actually better for small and mid-sized businesses to have a relatively small group of followers who actually share and engage with their content.
However, no business can deny that having a massive fan base on social media has its perks. Having more followers means more exposure to your message and more chances to convert social media contacts into leads.
Some businesses dip their toes into social media marketing. But they get concerned because they don’t see an immediate rush of followers. When this happens, they may decide to give up altogether or “buy” a list of social media followers. Buying followers is generally a bad idea because such “followers” are actually empty profiles or bots that will never truly engage with content.
Like any other worthwhile goal, generating followers on social media takes time and effort. Sometimes, businesses just need to make an adjustment to their social media strategy. If posts about data and research aren’t getting attention, it might be time to try a more personal approach.
Actively engaging with followers can also be beneficial. According to Social Times, consumers claimed that active follower engagement is one of the top three branding activities a business should engage in on social media. Every effort depends on the customers a business is targeting.
7. I Don’t Need Another Marketing Strategy
Businesses sometimes think of social media marketing an extraneous marketing strategy. To be effective, a social media marketing campaign must be an integral part of a business’s overall marketing strategy. To accomplish that, businesses need to rethink the social media marketing myths they've heard over the years.
For example, generating followers on Facebook is certainly a net positive for any business. However, if those followers aren’t given any opportunities to convert into leads, they probably won’t become customers. If a business only uses its social media page as a soapbox for selling, users may unfollow them.
Where's the culture? Where's the helpful information?
As part of a larger content strategy, social media acts as an engine for generating an audience. To start a social media campaign, businesses need to cultivate that audience by pushing out powerful, relevant content. How a business converts that audience once it is present will determine whether or not their social media strategy is truly effective.
There are other social media marketing myths that need to be dispelled. But both B2B and B2C businesses will discover that social is an essential tool for creating more brand awareness and driving in quality leads.