Updated: 6th June 2019
It happens every time. Whenever I'm at an event and someone asks me what I do, there'll be at least one person who says: “No offense, but I hate social media” (or Facebook or Instagram or fill in the blank!).
Of course I laugh and tell them I'm not offended at all. And yes, I'm really not offended or bothered by it, because I totally understand where people are coming from.
Social Media seems to be this mysterious thing that businesses want to love, but then struggle with getting the results they want, due to common misconceptions.
If you want to create a positive brand for yourself or your business, or you want to create new opportunities, then read on. Coming up are some of the myths about social media you need to stop believing, if you want to ramp up your social presence, and start seeing results.
Social Media doesn't drive sales
This is a little bit of a deceptive one. Even polling your customers on where they heard of you, or what encouraged them to make a purchase, isn't going to give you the correct answer.
People who follow you on social media, don't only watch to see what you have to say, but subconsciously they're also making a judgement as to whether you're someone they want to do business with.
And while your customers might not have clicked on that “shop” button from your Facebook page, they would have been influenced by the content you're sharing on social media.
If you're consistently sharing valuable content, you begin to shape a positive impression of your business in your followers minds. Remember though, ‘valuable content' can vary widely depending on your industry. You need to first know what your audience values. Once you know that, you can provide value to your readers, which creates raving fans And of course, raving fans then buy products and services.
Social Media is your very own Public Relations platform. You get to shape your brand on there, so that you can attract the right people for your business.
Social Media doesn't work
You hear it over and over “I keep posting, and it feels like I'm talking to a brick wall”. I think most people have been there at some stage, and it can be disheartening. Instead of giving up, this is when you have to re-evaluate what you're posting.
Are you saying just what you want to say, or are you listening and giving people what they want? Are you constantly selling to them, or are you providing value?
Posting on your personal social media account is very different to posting for business. For business you want to make sure you're giving your followers something for them. Make them laugh, make them feel something, inspire them, give some support, keep people informed.
When we give, people start coming back for more.
Remember, continuously pushing out sales posts and special offers isn't really giving. It's asking people to give you something. Presenting special offers for your social media followers only, is a great way to reward them. Ultimately, you want to make sure there's plenty of other content there too.
Social Media doesn't work for my industry
I'm going to go out on a limb here and say ‘yes it does'. I don't know what your business is, but whether you're selling services or a product; selling to an individual or to another business, you need a social media presence somewhere. It doesn't have to be on every platform, but being active on one social platform for starters, puts you in the game.
Your customers, or their decision makers, are on social media. Even if you're selling to corporations and need to go through a board, that board is still made up of individuals who spend some sort of time on social media.
Once upon a time people used to check to see if you had a website to see if you were a legitimate business. Yes, I'm old enough to remember that. These days you can pop out a professional looking website quite inexpensively over a weekend thanks to website templates.
What you can't fake though, is an established social media presence with active engagement.
Still don't think your industry can benefit from social media? There's Facebook pages for everything from a company that sells mining equipment to a non-profit business that promotes Cuddle Parties (yes, it's exactly that), and everything in between. If you have a brand, then your business can benefit from social media.
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Social Media is a Time Suck
Okay, so this one is true, but only if you're scrolling endlessly through Facebook or Instagram photos without purpose. As with anything else in business, if you have a strategy and a system in place, you can use that to communicate your message to your customers and prospects, faster and cheaper than any other method.
You can avoid the time suck by using your time on there wisely. One way is to only hang out where your ideal clients are during work time, and leave the scrolling to after hours.
Another way to make sure your time isn't being sucked up by social media is by ensuring that you have a solid strategy and system in place so your time is maximized.
That is: work out what your goals are, who your audience is, what value you can provide them, and how you're going to measure your success.
Then you can use scheduling software to help you along. This keeps you focussed on your primary goals, so you're not tempted to do mindless scrolling.
Remember though: spending some “real time” on social is important for communicating with your audience. It's vital to add that human touch, and stop your posts from looking robotic.
I Need More Followers to See a Result
Not really. More important than total numbers is how many of your followers are your real target market, and if they're enjoying what you're sharing with them.
Think of it like this: If you were hosting a free live event, would you prefer 50 people there who are actually interested in what you have to say, or 1,000 randoms who wandered in off the street wondering if there's free coffee being served for anyone who stays and listens?
You can still get results from your social media efforts with lower numbers of followers, by keeping them engaged, and then directing them to your website, sales page or wherever you want to send your audience.
The myths don't end there, but these are some of the more common ones that I've heard lately. If you have any social media struggles, drop me a comment. I'd love to tackle the subject for you and maybe write a blog post about it.
In the meantime, if you'd like another pair of eyes on your social media to see where you have the opportunity to create a better experience for your audience on your social profiles, then give me a yell. I'd love to have a pitch-free discussion with you on your business and social media goals.