Social Media Marketing Myths and How to Best Use Social Media

These days, everyone in the business world seems to be talking about “social media marketing” and how it can grow their business. Everyone wants to believe that taking on a social media strategy will magically drive in tons of new visitors to their website, which in turn will make them into customers at their business. However, for many small businesses, these expectations don’t always seem to come true. Here are several of the most common myths about how social media marketing will grow business, and tips on better approaches to using social media.

1. You need to hire a “social media guru” to handle your company’s social media accounts

Think you need some “internet ninja” to take care of your company’s Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and other social media accounts? You most definitely don’t. Many businesses take one look at the words “social media marketing” and decide that they’d be better off with paying some young person to manage their social media accounts, which will cause business to magically grow on its own. Think again! Not only can social media accounts often be maintained by staff who already works at the business, but also, social media is not just some fad that only young people understand. Websites used for social networking are easy to use and easy to navigate – they wouldn’t have as many users as they do if this weren’t the case. You don’t need to know any fancy language or need to be a computer genius to make the most of social media sites.

2. You can be fluent in “Twitter”

While the average person who is new to Twitter may take one look at the site and feel instantly confused, there really isn’t that much to it. Twitter is used to broadcast short and quick statements to the public about what you’re up to, where you are, or in the case of business: what promotions are going on, new blog entries, or other news. Here is all you really need to know about using Twitter:

a) # – Hashtags

Hashtags (#) are used to make categories, or “trends.” You can put a hash tag between a word or multiple words (just remove the spaces) to create a category, or discuss a category that is already trending. You can tell what is trending based on the “trends” list on the right of your screen. For example, if you are “tweeting” about the weather and you want your tweet to fit into the category of “weather,” your tweet might look like this:

“Today is a beautiful day. #weather”

Don’t overuse hashtags – you should really only use them when you’re trying to make a certain part of your tweet searchable so other users can find what you are saying based on that category.

b) The @ sign

The only function that the @ sign serves is to direct your tweet at another Twitter user. If your friend’s username (or handle) on Twitter is Bob, you could tweet “Today is a great day, right, @Bob?” if you want all of your followers to see it. Or, you could send a Direct Message to Bob by saying “@Bob hi how are you?” Talking directly to your followers via the @ sign is a great way to build relationships with potential customers.

3. People are going to find YOU on social media sites

This is one of the most popular myths about social media, yet it couldn’t be further from the truth. Unless you happen to work for a company that already has tons of customers, fans, or followers in real life, it is probably going to be a challenge to find followers on your social media accounts. This is where promotion and word of mouth come into play. Make sure your in-person customers know where to find you on these sites. You can inform them of your username via a poster, a business card, or an email campaign. Provide incentives to people who do follow you or friend request you. For example, you can tell customers that you often have deals on your social media sites that are only available to followers. This is a guaranteed way to increase the amount of followers and fans on your pages.

4. Every business needs a strong social media presence

When considering your own business’ social media strategy, ask yourself one question: what does my actual customer base look like in real life? If you are catering your services to a population that is older or probably won’t be using digital media in the first place, don’t waste your time (and money) on social media. Stick to more traditional methods of marketing and customer relations. Although it is all the rage to use Facebook and Twitter for your business, there are many businesses that can get by just fine with an effective website and listings in online directories.

Using the Different Types of Social Networks to Benefit Your Business

You probably interact with several different social networks. As a business owner, you are probably familiar with online marketing because you recognize the need for social media marketing. The reality is that since everyone else is doing it online, you need to do it as well. If you don’t have that approach, you will be left in the dust and everyone else will move past you. However, what you may not realize is that there are several different types of social networks that may benefit your business.

The popular social networks and then some

The chances are that you are involved with the popular social networks, such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. You may also be interacting using Instagram and YouTube. On the other hand, you may not even be aware of the other social networks and how amazing they may be for your brand and for your business. What you may not realize is just how much there is to social media and how much more you may be able to get out of it than you are aware of right now.

The different types of social networks do all sorts of different things and help you to accomplish what you want to accomplish in many different creative ways.

  • Social networks: The function and purpose of a social network are really simple. Social networks connect people to each other. That is exactly why they are called social networks. Social networks can benefit your business in several different ways, such as allowing you to do market research, generating leads, building relationships, etc.
  • Discussion forums: A discussion forum is a great place to get involved if you want to share your opinions with other people, hear their opinions, and really get a stimulating conversation going. All sorts of interesting nuggets of information can emerge as a result of a discussion that you have on a discussion forum.
  • Networks that share media: A network that shares media does just that. It is a network where people can share all types of media, such as photos, videos, and any other type of media that you can imagine. This type of network can benefit your business in similar ways to what happens with social networks. They can help you to build your brand and to build relationships, engage your target audience members, and generate leads, among a whole list of benefits. In many cases, these types of media are more effective than words (if used in combination, your content will be highly effective). It is important to remember that many people are visual, which is why they respond so well to visual content.
  • Content curation and bookmarking networks: If you are searching for new content, this is the type of network to do it. There is a good chance that not all of the content that you share is original content. You may be curating some of your content, which is an intelligent part of your online content marketing strategy. There are networks that can help you to get where you are going in this regard. This type of network can benefit your business in several different ways, including increasing your brand awareness, engaging your target audience members, and increasing traffic to your website.
  • Networks where you can leave product and/or service reviews: This is an important type of network because other business owners count on your opinion and similar opinions from other people. The fact is that everyone considers and buys a variety of products and services. Why not go a step further and share your opinion about what you have researched and purchased? It will certainly help the business owners if you do so.
  • Networks for publishing content: Content is the bread and butter of all businesses. No matter what you do and what you offer, the fact is that you will need to tell other people about those offering and your brand. Otherwise, the person on the other end will not know about you and if they don’t know about you, you will not be able to establish a relationship with them and they will not buy anything from you at any point. Content marketing is a necessary approach for all businesses. The networks that specifically enable business people to effectively share their content for maximum impact are a critical tool to the success of those businesses (yours included).
  • Networks where people with common interests can get together: This type of network can apply to personal or professional interests. They are very effective and very successful on the whole. Because this type of network helps people to build relationships, that also means that you will be engaging the other person and build your brand.
  • Networks where people can shop for products: Since shopping is necessary and everyone does it, this type of network will be around for a very long time. Similarly to the other networks that have been discussed here, this type of network can also build brand awareness, enhance engagement, and sell products to other people.
  • Networks where people can trade: This one is probably obvious. If you have things that you don’t want or need anymore, there is a very good chance that there is another person who does need and want it. It is a great way to clean up and build some sort of relationship at the same time.
  • Networks where people can be anonymous: One of the most attractive features of the Internet for many people is the idea that they are anonymous. Before the Internet, many people were reluctant or afraid to communicate using their own name. Now they can hide behind anonymity, which feels safer. Of course, it is not always the right approach to take but it is how many people feel.

Conclusion

Even if you don’t get involved with all of the different types of social networks, it is important that you are aware of their existence and understand exactly what they are for and how they work. It is interesting to note that most of the different types of social networks have common threads: building brand awareness, engaging audience members, and establishing new relationships. It is only then that you will be in the position to reject them if you don’t feel that they will work effectively for your business.

You Engage on Social Media-But Are You Engaging?

Many businesses get one very basic thing about social media engagement wrong.

The average entrepreneur thinks about engagement in terms of single interactions. A post that gets a lot of shares and likes is not really engaging the audience. It’s only when there is a long-term relationship that you really start engaging.

Think of it as a real-life engagement. Consider that every single interaction is a date with your customers.You get to know each other on these dates. You tell them what you’re about and they tell you what they like and what they don’t.

After seeing each other for a while, you’re ready to move to the next step. The customers now expect to see engaging content. When you post on your media channels, they’re bound by loyalty to interact with it. Now, you’re engaged.

Ask Not What Your Customers Can Do for You

The way to any customer’s heart is through value-oriented engagement. Don’t think of ways in which you can get a benefit from your followers and fans. Think, instead, about how you can be of service to them.

You’re trying to build trust in your brand through engagement. You’ll never generate real engaging content if your audience doesn’t feel you are contributing to their lives.

What does that mean in practice? Well, for starters, it means engaging back. If your patrons have questions, answer them openly.

Make sure that you are always quick to address complaints and concerns when they are presented publicly.

Believe it or not, social media has been people’s first choice for customer service since at least 2016. In a way, it’s people taking advantage of the public nature of the platform. Regardless, you should see every instance of customer service as a double opportunity.

You can address a customer’s concern and at the same time generate good faith with that customer and any others who see the interaction. Customer service interactions are an absolute gold mine for engagement.

Three Ways to Really Start Engaging

There are countless tips, tricks, and insider information about how to improve social media engagement. Try some of these tried and true approaches to boost authentic engagement.

1. Make the First Move

Someone has to start the conversation on the first date. As the business, that responsibility rests on your shoulders.

There are many things you can provide that your potential customers want. Informative articles and blog posts are two simple ideas. Remember that it’s about generating value for them.

Don’t try to push a product on the first date. That comes later. First, show them you care about who they are and what they want.

2. Listen More Than You Talk

If your relationship is going to last, you’ll have to listen.

Don’t guess about your customer’s wants and needs. If you put in the effort, all the information is available with a little research.

Look at social media and website analytics. Define your audience demographics and look at what competitors are doing. You have to know who you’re talking to first.

Once you know who you are dating, you can start listening. Look at their social media posts. What do they want, what sort of things are the dissatisfied by? Use this info to craft your engagement strategy.

3. Be Relevant and Topical

Don’t be afraid to have a voice about current events. If you want to elicit a response, you need to talk about things that are relevant to your audience.

Be careful however, this requires a delicate approach and a good read on the pulse of your patrons.

Start Really Engaging

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to social media engagement. As stated earlier, there’s enough advice about it out there to fill a sizable library. However, not every tip will work for every company.

Start by finding out who your customers really are and put yourself in their shoes. Then start working on offering more value through your social media engagement.

Top 4 Tips to Increase Your Social Shares

Social signals have been in the spotlight since 2010, when Search Engine Land’s Danny Sullivan first blogged about them. Shortly thereafter, Steve Cutts confirmed in a video that Google does consider these signals.

This should come as no surprise. Social signals, like backlinks, provide an objective vote of confidence for a specific page or resource. It’s unlikely that social signals have surpassed backlinks in importance, but one thing is clear: it’s no longer safe to ignore them.

There a few social signals in particular that you should monitor: Facebook likes to your pages and groups, Twitter followers associated with your brand, tweets that mention your brand, Google+ Circles, and +1s.

These will change over time as social networks come and go, but as a general rule of thumb, you want a strong presence on all of the major social sites.

Much has been made of the fact that social media sites use the “nofollow” attribute, but Google still counts these when it comes to tracking social status. In other words, a social share is still an endorsement even if it does not directly affect SEO.

Think of it this way: a brand with lots of social media shares is likely to have strong brand loyalty. This is something of a “chicken and the egg” scenario in which a brand with mediocre SEO but with a strong social following can still rank.

The reasoning behind this is that a brand with a large following will have good conversion rates, repeat customers, positive reviews and referrals. These factors indicate that the brand’s SEO will improve over time, and so Google may give them the benefit of the doubt for a while.

There are things you can do right now to cultivate social signals.

Start a Company Blog

A company blog is essential to your success. A blog provides you a great reason to create regular, unique content, and it allows you to interact with your fans on a day-to-day basis.

Additionally, a company blog gives you a space from which you can tell your own story. This is essential in the event that you’re hit with a negative SEO or smear campaign. Naturally, it’s also great for SEO in its own right.

You can use Facebook’s comments API to connect your blog directly so that comments on your blog will appear on the social network as well. This is a cinch to set up if you use WordPress.

Create Social Media Pages

As mentioned, you should have social media pages on all of the major sites, but you should also create pages on specialized sites like LinkedIn, Pinterest, and YouTube.

These more niche sites will help increase your Web surface area, so to speak, and they will build brand credibility. If your budget allows for it, you may want to hire a social media manager to administer these accounts for you.

Integrate

You should strive to share data from one network to another as much as possible. For instance, don’t just share images on Pinterest; share them on Facebook as well. Twitter is great for sharing information, but don’t hold back from your LinkedIn groups either.

Interact with Influencers

Finally, one of the most important things you can do right now is to find out who the influencers are in your niche. Contact them on Twitter and begin a relationship.

Don’t blatantly market your articles to them. Introduce yourself, and let them know why your content is unique and valuable, but leave it at that. Don’t be afraid to share their content; they may return the favor.

Staying current on the social media marketing landscape is vital to your success. If you’d like to have access to even more powerful marketing tips, as well as a way to generate conversion-ready Internet marketing prospects each month, click here to learn about my done-for-you system.