I was a little dismayed at the article I read on BusinessWeek.com last week about Social Media Marketing and businesses.
So, I’m going to do everyone that wants to know a little more about Social Media a favor and debunkify those myths outlined in that article one by one.
1. Social media sites are free.
“Using social media sites isn’t as easy or cheap as many people think…there’s a significant cost: your time.”
That is indeed true. That’s what makes social media sites so appealing to the 250 million plus American’s that are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and MySpace (just to name a few) everyday. Yes it takes a little time to build an attractive profile and a network, but that’s what social media is all about, socializing. You don’t get mad when you are out to lunch with potential client and you are attempting to build a relationship (which I will touch a little later on) with and you pick up the tab. You paid for their time, whereas using the free social networks, you could have had multiple conversations, built a strong customer relationship and have had lunch right after the deal was closed.
2. Social media sites are a great place to find new customers.
“…the major sites aren’t necessarily the best places for a business owner.”
Social media sites allow you to connect with millions of people that you wouldn’t have had the chance to connect with across the globe. If you are a supplier of computer chips in California, and a computer repair store owner, who happens to be in Maine, is searching for computer chips via Twitter, he may come across your profile because you may have sent some tweets out about your computer chips. Yes teens are on these social media networks but 80% of twitter users are in the age group of 18-49. I would think business owners make up a good part of that percentage.
3. You need to be on all the big sites.
Just because the media says it’s cool to tweet doesn’t mean it has anything to do with your business.
That is the biggest falsehood yet. I know that these are all myths but come on now, do you really believe this one? In marketing, you target your audience and you speak to your audience. If you want to market to a specific audience, do your research and find out where your audience may socialize online. You don’t want to spend all your time on Twitter when you could have a larger ROI by advertising your company’s product on Facebook. If you spend time on a social network that’s not going to benefit you, you would just be wasting time, effort, and money.
4. Social networking sites are for marketing.
…social communities are not for marketing. They’re for service.
Social networking sites aren’t just for marketing, they are used to build relationships. Sure you can offer service to your customer by engaging in two-way communication, which is a good thing. But, the biggest mistake you can make is to constantly market to your customers without listening to what they have to say. Build that relationship with your customer. Show them your company’s personality (do not mislead your customer), and engage in conversation with them. Ask your customers for their opinion. A happy customer will tell everyone they know about your company if they are satisifed. A dissatisfied customer will cause your business to lose money. Remember the relationship is key!
5. Social networking is the future.
Just because the media have determined that social networking is “in” doesn’t mean your customers are there.
Social networking sites will always have a decline in their number of members. Some will delete a profile just to start one back up again later on. Kids/Teens will be forced to remove some of their profiles because they were doing something they shouldn’t have been. Some people just don’t have the time to commit to keeping the profile updated. Whatever the cause may be, the numbers will always fluctuate. A good marketer researches their potential customers and will make the time they put into social media marketing worthwhile. Social networking is “in”, and with over 250 million people (I’m not even counting worldwide numbers), I’m pretty sure you will find your demographic lurking around somewhere.