Common Misconceptions About Social Media in Business

This is a guest contribution to Blogsession by Mark Cavanagh.

Almost 1 in every 8 people on the planet is on Facebook. There are 300 million Twitter accounts and 200 million LinkedIn accounts. Even Google ‘s latest offering to the social media sphere, Google Plus, has amassed more than 100 million users in a matter of just months.

The sheer volume of consumers engaging with social platforms combined with their varied demographics is the reason that businesses of all sizes have embraced social as part of a digital marketing strategy. Not everybody is getting it right, though, and there are several social media misconceptions businesses commonly hold:

It’s FREE!

It’s really not free, despite the fact that on countless occasions and in articles all over the web, business owners refer to it as such. It’s not free. Facebook doesn’t charge for an account, neither does Google or Twitter. LinkedIn also has a free account level.

It’s free to have an account. But simply having an account is not social media marketing. You’ll need to plough resource into maintaining and growing that. You’ll need to set aside budget for marketing your social channels to initially build that audience too.

So, social isn’t free at all.

You Need MILLIONS of Fans To Make it Worthwhile

Also not true. Yes, it would be nice to have millions of fans all clambering over themselves to subscribe to your social media channels. But frankly, unless you have the brand power of Coca Cola or McDonald’s, the chances of getting to those levels are minuscule. But that’s not important.

What is important is how engaged your fans and followers are. Yes, the more you have, the better. But you’re only competing with your competitors. If you’re a local hardware store with one branch, you’ll have a smaller customer base. If you offer a B2B service or a very niche product, your market too is more niche. Your audience will reflect this.

Hundreds or thousands of truly engaged fans is what actually matters.

Social Media is not Measurable

This is also a complete misconception. In order for social media to actually be a part of a marketing campaign it simply has to be measurable.

Don’t start out on a social media campaign without a list of objectives. Common objectives include:

  • Mentions of your brand online
  • Traffic to your website
  • Sales through your website

All of those things are measurable. Google Analytics or any other third party web tracking tool can tell you how many visits have been referred to your site as the result of social media. And online tools such as www.whostalking.com and www.socialmention.com let you analyse whether people are talking about your brand on social platforms.

Any social media campaign should be treated as an investment and in order to measure the return on that investment, you need clear objectives from the outset.