I’ve come across a few misconceptions when I meet clients who are new to social media marketing. I try to educate them so they don’t end up with unrealistic expectations. If you’re starting out in social media marketing or planning, I hope this post can be helpful.
As marketers keep hearing about how social media is the shit and how their brand needs to get in on the action, misconceptions are inevitable.
Facebook. Twitter. Instagram. Pinterest. Snapchat. Get in! BOOM!
Unfortunately, social media isn’t a magic bullet. Just like other marketing channels, it requires planning, resources and clarity to be effective. I’ll address three misconceptions I often come across to save you from a future headache.
Misconception No. 1: Social Media is Free.
Using Facebook, Twitter or Instagram don’t require a fee to start. But you need to consider a budget for:
a. Hiring a team to manage your social media channel (content creation, community management, etc)
b. Social ads to boost your presence, amplify your communications, etc.
c. Marketing campaigns to sustain your social media efforts.
d. Investment in tools to improve team work flow, social listening, app production, design, etc.
I’ve even seen ads promoting Social Media 101 workshops that claim social media is free as a hook. It’s such a lie! Please don’t believe this misconception.
If you want it to be effective, you’ll need to invest in some way or other. Keep this in mind when planning your marketing spend.
Misconception No. 2: Build it and They Will Come!
This is a complaint I often hear. The client’s boss wants to set up on social but don’t have any budget for anything else. And then they expect their Facebook page to automagically attract fans and be a thriving hotbed of Likes, Comments and Shares.
This misconception irks me. Just because you’re on social media does not mean your customers will automatically find you. There are thousands of Facebook pages and Twitter accounts vying for the attention of your customers too. It’s a noisy landscape out there so you need to get noticed first.
You want people to follow your account? Flog your social media URL, bruh.
Use all the marketing channels at your disposal and tell your customers and potential customers that you are on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Publicise it. There is no shame.
Update your websites, brochures and store fronts!
Include the URL in your next advertisement!
Run a (legit) fan acquisition campaign to drive traffic!
Misconception No. 3: Brands need to be on EVERY social media channel
This is another common question I get from clients.
“So we’re going on Facebook, should we go on Twitter, too? I read that Instagram is coming up. What about YouTube?”
The confusion is understandable but it can cost your brand if you fall for this misconception.
With the rise of social, everyone wants to be everywhere. But before you sign up for everything, pause.
I usually ask my clients to step back and assess the following:
1. Who are you targeting and which social media platforms are they active on?
You want to be where your customers hang out if you can, otherwise you’ll need to spend more just to bring them over to your party.
2. What do you want to achieve from your social media channel(s)?
Do you want site referral? Lead generation? Increase awareness? Sales? Focusing on your business objectives can help focus your choice of platforms. Pinterest and Facebook will be more relevant for site referral instead of Instagram, for example.
3. Do you realise the full extent of setting up a social media presence?
Creating a Twitter account is the easy bit but it doesn’t end there. The misconception is that your brand can treat corporate social media just like how you use it for personal use. Ad hoc posting, random replies…No.
Want your brand to be effective on social? Consider this: You need someone to be responsible, respond to queries as well as plan and create quality, engaging content.
You’ll also need a fan acquisition strategy otherwise the only people reading your tweets are bots and the NSA. Have you set aside the money and resources to sustain your channel? Or are you simply going to end up with inactive brand accounts?
I hope I’ve given you some food for thought if you’re new to social media marketing.
I will probably add to this list of misconceptions in future. Got any others to add? Leave a comment!