Almost overnight social media became a part of day to day life, brands and companies saw the opportunity and flocked to these new lands of milk and honey with the intention of generating leads, sales and a fan base.
At the same time, social media gurus, ninjas and social selling stars emerged with all manner of complex strategies and quick win, high ROI plans. While some of these worked and were good, others weren’t and endorsed bad practices that over the years have become social selling myths.
Rollo May once said:
…but it’s 2016, while some myths remain at large such as the Loch Ness Monster and whether or not aliens landed at Roswell, there are a number of myths that are still harming the social strategies of brands:
1) Traditional customer service isn’t needed online:
People complaining through social media is an unavoidable fact of life, even if you don’t have a presence on a particular social channel – you cannot control or stop people expressing their opinion.
One of the worst pieces of advice that I’ve seen/heard in the past couple of years is that it’s ok to just delete and ignore complaints and negative comments. If someone where to call your business with a complaint, would you hang up on them?
If a customer has a genuine complaint and has taken time to communicate their dissatisfaction on your Facebook page or to your on Twitter, you need to respond to them and extend the same basic levels of customer service (at a minimum). You need to manage your social media communities effectively.
Importantly, this can also have a positive impact on potential new customers. When looking to make a purchase, in the modern age people do their research and seeing how negative feedback and complaints are dealt with forms part of their research. They want to see what the negative complaints are, identify themes and frequency and then see how the complaint is dealt with/resolved. They then decide whether or not this fault is something they can live with.
2) It’s all about the follower count:
Caveat: Fans and followers are important to any brand on social media, but are fans, followers or brand advocates? Famously, Lady Gaga only markets directly to a small number of hyper-engaged fans (Little Monsters) without alienating everyone else within her target market segments.
— María José Lubertino (@Lubertino) January 11, 2016
These word of mouth brand ambassadors then do all the marketing ‘leg work’ in the relevant forums, on social media and out at events.
You want to engage your core fans, whose engagement is worth more to your brand than a large following number. Fans and followers are a vanity metric that looks good on paper, but doesn’t really mean a lot.
3) Social media is a great promotional tool:
No, it’s not. Social media is a social engagement tool that you should post great content too. Promotional messages do have their own place in the wider social media strategy, however using it as a constant self promotion tool will lead to you disengaging your audience and alienating your brand advocates.
Social media should be used to build brand awareness, maintain relationships with existing customers and build relationships with new ones. The content that you share should reflect you as a business, your expertise, awareness of the world and current events, and your ability to connect with your audience by sharing meaningful content that is relevant, helpful or entertaining. You should look at social media as an extension of your content marketing efforts, and ask yourself if you would engage with, share, like or retweet the content you post.
4) I need to join every social network:
This is a myth I’ve encountered a few times during my short career. I remember having long conversations explaining why Pinterest might not be the best place to post pictures of tyres on a concrete floor, being held up by a hand an arm covered in tyre sealant and grease – only to be met with the comprehensive argument of “my missus uses Pinterest, she uses it for her cooking recipes and stuff”.
Having a presence on every network is not necessary. If your product isn’t visually appealing, or you cant invest a lot of time into taking great photos – then maybe Instagram and Pinterest aren’t for you. You need to decide which platforms are best for your brand and where your customers are.
This phenomena is known as Social Media Shiny Object Syndrome and is something that needs to be overcome.
5) My customers don’t care about social media:
According to the Pew Research Centre, over 74% of adults actively use social media. Using the excuse that your customers don’t care about social media does not stand up anymore. In the last couple of years, older generations have began to adopt social media in their daily lives in various capacities.
Sticking to the mindset that social is for the younger generation is now more ignorance than fact.
[Featured image: Shutterstock]
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