And a conclusion but that will come only as conclusions should always come: at the end. After I’m done with the top ten most common misconceptions business users have around how Social Media can help their business.
1. 30 minutes a day is all you need: 30 minutes a day is not a magic recipe for anything. Not for getting the body of your dreams, and not for becoming solid in Social Media. It takes more than that at least to start figuring it out. Your time is one of your most valuable assets, don’t let anyone tell you this doesn’t need a good dose of it just to get it going.
2. No science to it, really easy to learn. Tweet, post, share, like. They all require some interaction but it’s usually really simple actions. What is not so simple though is setting Social Networks in motion so they can empower your business, the same way Marketing is not just colors and logos. It takes time, it takes planning and only then, it leads to action.
3. You can grow fast with no help. Unless you are really famous or have a way of tapping into the mainstream of each Social Network you decide to use, that is not true. People only follow you, like or share your content if a) you or your business are relevant and b) you’re credible. If you haven’t built your business on credibility and relevancy, Social Media won’t do it for you.
4. The fact that you are doing something about it is enough. An extension to the first point on the list: not true. Doing it just for doing it won’t bring you more leads or empower your brand. In the late 90’s Companies would put their brands “on-line” just because others were doing it, but most of them would not even understand why they were doing it. If it’s not meant to, it won’t help.
5. Getting noticed is easy. Setting-up a profile in one or many Social Networks is not hard, any kid can do it for you. Shooting out content is not difficult either but getting noticed is a bit more complex. You might end up driving traffic to your site through any ad campaign platform before getting leads from Social Media campaigns if you’re not noticed. Your brand is just one more in a vast ocean of tweets and shares. The key is differentiating, not just following the trends.
6. If you put it out there, it will become viral. The same way not every commercial works the same way regardless of how good they are or how much they costed the Company that paid for it, Social Media doesn’t make it happen for every business. Ultimately it is about who you are as a business and how you can help your customers. Then it’s about making a great story out of it and getting it sponsored and shared with the right channels that can increase your visibility.
7. Your product or service is good, it just needs visibility. You’ve spent a lot of time designing your product or service catalog. You know how good it is and you’re ready to get out there. You pay ad campaigns and even a marketing service but you’re still not getting results. Diagnose? Your product is not that interesting, or you’re selling it wrong. It happens to everyone, but only those who are open to admitting get to fix it.
8. Everyone knows how to use social media. Simply not true. Most business, specially those that were there before Social Media appeared struggle with their Social Media strategy. What worked online and offline might not work in 140 characters. The images used in a printed marketing campaign might not be the right ones for Social Media in general as the speed of the reader is a different one. You can learn pretty fast if you do commit to it.
9. All businesses that use social media networks grow. The statement per se might be true but unless you’re fully into it, measuring growth is really hard. If your product is still under development or you’re crowd-funding it, you might get the whole “start-up” impulse. Building momentum and keeping it going are two different things and growth requires both.
10. Master Social Media now, become rich tomorrow. I am intentionally saying this because even though it might have been true for some, it is not linear, it doesn’t happen to everyone and it might lead your business in the wrong direction. You know your strengths as a business, you know what’s good for you and your customers. Go Social as another way of reaching out and this will help you indeed do better, just don’t believe in false prophets.
You need a strategy before getting your hands dirty with Social Media as much as you need one with your Sales and Marketing teams. Once you do is easy to get excited because getting some results is not hard. What’s hard is measuring those results into something that can in fact indicate you are doing it right, like sales coming from your different Social Channels.
Social networks are all about reputation yet they don’t measure it the same way. You must know how each one of them works before you start working on your strategy and for that your step 1 should always be asking yourself how will your business benefit from it.