Like most things that are trendy, everyone has something to say about social media marketing. Promoting your business on social media used to be something that only tech savvy Gen Y’ers did, but these days it seems to be mandatory no matter what your age or type of business.
Because social media is fairly straightforward to use, and it’s part of many people’s lives on a personal level, it is easy for anyone to give it a try. While there’s no doubt that social media marketing can be a fantastic way to gain exposure and promote your business to wider audiences, it’s not without its downsides.
Assuming that social media marketing is going to transform your business into a raging success overnight without you having to lift a finger or open your wallet is almost certainly going to lead to disappointment.
Here are five of the most common social media marketing misconceptions I come across when I talk to the business owners I work with:
1. It’s free.
While it can be low cost when compared with other marketing strategies, the one thing social media takes is time. Whether you pay someone else to take care of it for you, or you do it yourself, time is money and it’s important to factor this in when you’re deciding on a budget.
2. All I have to do is create a profile/page and people will follow me.
Unless you already have a massive personal reputation or a well-known brand you’re going to have to put in some legwork to get noticed at first. Expect to put in some time and effort following other people, joining in conversations and generally getting the word out there before the followers flock to you.
3. Social media is just for young people.
There is a common stereotype of the teenager or 20 something glued to Facebook or Instagram and this can understandably lead businesses who are targeting a more mature demographic to think of social media marketing as irrelevant. The reality is that people of all ages use social media so whoever your target demographic is, it is probably worth at least establishing a presence on a few of the main platforms.
4. Social media marketing is going to instantly boost my sales.
I’m not saying you won’t see an increase in sales as a result of social media marketing, but it’s unlikely that you’ll see any dramatic, instant improvements. Social media marketing is about engagement and relationship building and it usually takes time to work. It’s best to be patient and look for other early indications that your social media marketing is working first.
5. Social media marketing is all I need to grow my business.
While it is a very effective marketing strategy, social media marketing isn’t the only form of marketing you should be doing. There are some businesses that operate effectively through Facebook, but for most people it’s best to have a website, and combine your marketing efforts to include email, networking and other forms of marketing.
Having a realistic view of social media marketing and what it can do for your business is essential if you want to be successful and avoid disappointment. Used to its best advantage, social media marketing can bring huge benefits to your business over the long term, as long as you don’t mind spending a bit of time and possibly money on it.
About the author:
Jo Macdermott is the Chief Marketing Consultant at Next Marketing in Melbourne. She has 15 years of marketing experience, is a Certified Practising Marketer and is a sought after marketing media commentator. Jo specialises in working with small and medium businesses. Follow her on Twitter here.