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11 Myths About Social Media Marketing

Social media has become a very important part of many people’s lives- both personally and in business. The downside of this rapid increase in sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin and YouTube is that along with all the good information being shared there are also many myths about social media that are commonly believed as fact. Here are 11 myths to be weary of!

1. It’s a new concept. Social media is definitely NOT a new concept; the tools that we now use to "share" information have certainly changed as technology has changed. But social media has been around as long as gossiping has.

2. It is totally free or extremely cheap. Most of the tools and resources required to participate in social media are indeed free. However don’t discount your personal ROI. So there is a balance that you indeed have to look at. What is your hourly rate vs. what is the rate of a specialist who understands how to make a social media campaign work effectively for you and your business? You MUST look at this and decide which is best for you and what is the best use of your time… and keep in mind that as with many aspects of business the old saying you get what you pay for is very true in social media.

3. It is very simple. Using the basic tools and broadcasting information is not complicated. As the social media sphere grows it becomes more and more complex. More and more tools and applications are available every day and it requires time, knowledge and perception to decide which are effective business rules and which a waste of time.

4. It is a short-term fad that we needn’t bother with. The Internet is essentially a space for conversation and free flow of information between individuals and companies. The tools used and platform with the most impact may change over time but I can assure you that customers have become used to the concept of conversational marketing and it is here to stay. Any business that believes interest in social media will simply run its course and then fade is asking to be left out of one of the world’s potentially most lucrative markets.

5. Only teens and young adults are interested in social media. Yes, "Social media," or rather these big social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and YouTube were initially adopted mostly by students, other young adults and teenagers. However, they have now evolved to become a dominant business social media tool.

Don’t believe me? Fun fact: It is estimated that almost half of Facebook profiles now belong to people aged 35 and up. And as you know, this age group is a HUGE target market due to their buying power coupled with greater awareness and familiarity with social media tools.

6. Marketing through social media is simply a matter of advertising on Facebook. Strange as is sounds, the way to start marketing via social media is not to start marketing at all. The online community is often suspicious of profiles set up for the sole purpose of blatant advertising. Social media channels are fundamentally all about communication. Listen first, contribute to conversations and start some conversations of your own. Once people trust you and value what you have to say, they will be more receptive to messages about your business. Even then though keep it subtle and low key.

7. Anyone can do it. Too many companies delegate the establishment and management of social media projects to a junior or inexperienced staffer. Mostly this is because they believe it to be very simple or because they don’t see its importance as an element of the overall marketing mix.

8. A successful social media campaign can be handled internally. This goes back to previously mentioned: Personal ROI. Effectively using social media in a business context requires knowledge of the tools, target market and what works and what doesn’t. It can also be very time consuming, especially for an inexperienced person. Generally companies that succeed in using their online presence to complement their offline marketing efforts do so because they make use of a specialist (or team of specialists in the case of larger businesses or projects) skilled in the use of social media. This specialist will work closely with internal people to gain insight into the company’s product or service offering and then mix this with their knowledge of the online landscape to manage the image of the business effectively and gain maximum online exposure.

9. The results of engaging customers via social media can’t be measured. Many aspects of social media engagement can indeed be measured. One of the keys is to have clearly defined outcomes that are desired. If there are no objectives then measurement will be difficult. For example goals like increasing website traffic or getting people to sign up for a newsletter or other communication can be set and accurately measured.

Here are some ways you can track:
• Call tracking number (check out Richard Seppala’s www.yourroiguy.com)
• Link tracking- see stats on the links you push out (check out http://bit.ly/)
• Web form codes- use FBML on Facebook and make sure you have a CTA (call to action) to have people sign up. This CTA can be the same as what is on your site BUT make sure that the form code is different so you can track that where it came from.

10. There are no rules. As social media platforms evolve and become more sophisticated, a distinct culture is growing around the technology. As in all cultures a system of etiquette applies. There are some basic rules, like not over-promoting yourself or your business and not attacking other people or groups, that are common to most platforms. The diverse and constantly changing nature of social media mean that the mostly unwritten rules are different from site to site and change with time and the technology. Generally, just keep in mind that it’s called "social" media for a reason… people buy people ? Keep that in mind and you should be good to go!

11. The amount of social media connections you have is an indication of your success. Simply having thousands of social media connections is no guarantee of success. You need to be connecting with people with whom you can form a clear communication channel. They also need to be interested in your product and in a position to support your brand. Recruiting random strangers as followers, friends or connections on social media sites is unlikely to increase business for you. Remember that quality counts more than quantity in the interactions you establish. This is also EVER more important as Google released in the beginning of December that the quality of followers and friends will have an impact on your rankings. So just because you have 4,205,937,423,497 (yes, that’s a technical number ;)) followers doesn’t mean anything ?

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